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Stencil Pirates Paperback – July 13, 2004


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Stencil Pirates + Stencil Graffiti (Street Graphics / Street Art) + Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community, and Art
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (July 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932360158
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932360158
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 8.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,461,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Plenty of the work in Pirates, if noteworthy in message or placement, is rudimentary, skill-wise.
K. Crane
There must be 50+ well-distributed books about graffiti that manage to suck out most of the political implications of graffiti in exchange for ego boosting.
D. Tucker
As for the images, they make this book worthwhile even if you don't read a word of the text... an excellent VISUAL reference as well.
Joshua Blum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By K. Crane on June 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
From my New York Press review of Stencil Pirates, 11/04 (vol. 17, issue 45):

A FEW YEARS AGO, while walking down a sparsely traveled block in my old Brooklyn neighborhood, I came across three-foot-tall, carefully rendered cursive on an otherwise blank red wall: "Cap'n Jazz" in silver spray-paint. I did a triple take. Who'd bother to apply the name of a little-known early-90s punk band from Chicago to a Brooklyn wall in 2001, and why? I didn't much care; those shimmering letters brought on a surge of memories from my years in DC punk; it was as if a long-lost friend or secret admirer had left me a note. Though "Cap'n Jazz" swiftly vanished under a fresh coat of paint, those same memories slip into mind every time I'm there, three years later-that block, to me, transformed.

The power of street art, namely stencils, to shape public space, and the ways in which it does so, is the subject of Chicago artist Josh MacPhee's Stencil Pirates, a handsome publication that both documents and casts a critical eye upon a thriving art form. Early on, MacPhee quotes artist Russell Howze: "Traditional art is usually a static experience... Most traditional art is found in galleries, chosen by someone else and viewed by a select group of people... Even when thousands of people see larger exhibits, traditional art's exposure is still limited by the price of admission at the door."

Stencils, however, to the joy of some and consternation of others, are the great equalizer: With the help of basic, affordable materials, the same work of art can reappear throughout a city, cities or countries, meeting with a broad audience and reception. Some stencils remain for months or years on a sidewalk or wall, insinuating themselves into a neighborhood's character and landscape.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By doodler on February 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
highly recommended! this book is beyond your pretty picture book. the author's essays give an excellent overview of stencil graffiti, and his list of bibliography and end notes provide the best starting point ive found for further research.

it's missing one star simply because i find tristan manco's "stencil graffiti" more interesting in terms of the art work selection.

these 2 books are essential for stencil graffiti lovers!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By D. Tucker on January 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
In the flood of recent books about graffiti - this is one of the only books to seriously take on the 'function' of illegal public markings in society. There must be 50+ well-distributed books about graffiti that manage to suck out most of the political implications of graffiti in exchange for ego boosting. Additionally, the descriptions and history of graffiti in the global south make it quite unique and equitable.

From page 36 " At their best and most cryptic, stencils are signs that are both hollow yet simultaneously pregnant with meaning. They are signs without signifiers, images or statements with no clear or fixed meaning..."

MacPhee infuses the graffiti research process with the semeotic and anthropoligical tools that are necessary for interpreting urban space. I highly recommend this book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Heeley on December 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Awesome book, Highly recommend it as a must buy for anyone into the street art scene, It has a detailed guide on how to make & use your own stencils & gives a history on the subject & also introduces the reader to a few of the best artists that use this medium. Great book, A wonderful addition to my collection,and anyone who gets it!!...
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