Stencil Graffiti Capital: Melbourne
by Jake Smallman & Carl Nyman
Graffiti Capital: Melbourne offers a choice slice out of the
stencil graffiti world pie. As the title states, this book is completely
focused around the stencil graffiti scene in Melbourne. It gives
a concise history of its evolution to the most highly regarded area
for stencil graffiti art. Chances are you'll probably want to pick
this book up less for the two page history and more for the 14 different
profiles of Melbourne artists, each showing pages of their work.
The subject matter
of the stencils varies, but quite a few artists used the form as a
means of political expression. In other cases, imagery and words convey
witty messages. Photos of stencil art are always interesting partly
because of the contexts they're photographed in. The layouts reflect
this in interesting juxtapositions of each artist’s
work. There are also several categorized pages ranging from skulls,
kung-fu, to sexy ladies. I particularly liked the sense of humor that
was present throughout most of the book. Very few of the stencils
were oppressively self-important, and quite a few subverted that attitude.
Graffiti is still
technically illegal in Melbourne. Despite this, it draws quite a bit
of tourism and is for the most part publicly accepted. Gallery shows
and the Melbourne Stencil Festival have been commissioned by the city
as an added means of expression for these artists.
All and all, with
over 475 photos, this book will probably keep you entertained for
quite awhile, at least until you decide to stencil your own neighborhood.
by Caroline Koebel & Kyle Schlesinger
The book, Shablone: Berlin by Caroline Koebel and Kyle Schlesinger,
is a small (5 1/2 by 8 inches, 152 pgs) landscape format book. The
first 42 pages being all text and the rest photo's of Berlin street
art by the authors.
Unlike the Melbourne
book, where you maybe tempted to skim the text or skip ahead to
the profile of your favorite graffiti artist, you'll want to approach
this book with the intent of reading all the essays. The text is
written not from the viewpoint of street artists but from an audience
(the authors), or the "street art initiates". Schablone,
the german word for stencil, is thoroughly investigated.
to Pop Art the historical associations bring stencil art into the
light of cultural phenomenon. The essays offer a point of view similar
to an art historian, while reminding us of the temporality of the
stencil itself. Berlin then becomes a playground, historically enclosed
by the Nazi's and the Berlin Wall; slightly different than Melbourne.
chosen are bleak, less stylized and more true as a means than a
deliberately chosen form. The messages though are no less ambiguous.
One essay toys with the idea of stenciled Berlin being similar to
a hyper-linked internet of references: Audrey Hepburn, a wolf, rats,
a panda bear hung on a noose.
book does not encourage ephemeral consumption. Instead it points
to a public art enlightenment, analyzing some of the phenomena expected.
With only 500 produced it may be slightly difficult to find.