The World of Online Stencil Art
Graffiti has come a long way in just the last few years. Once the province of gang members or street hooligans, today virtual online graffiti has taken on a whole new meaning, and a whole new respectability. Today's virtual graffiti artists are more likely to work with a mouse than with an actual can of spray paint.
The term graffiti" is a fairly new invention, having been derived from the Italian word Graffito," meaning scratching," but the concept of writing or drawing on walls or other outdoor venues has been around for literally thousands of years. Ancient excavations in Egypt and other parts of the world reveal that graffiti in one form or another has been with us since humans first learned how to write, or draw pictures. There is even graffiti painted on the walls of pyramids and ancient temples.
Cave Painting Graffiti
Some of the first cave paintings, those famous scenes of cavemen and mastodons, were undoubtedly graffiti.
What does any of this have to do with modern day online graffiti artists -- or rather, today's virtual stencil artists? There is a connection. Perhaps the connection is that the reasons that today's stencil artists are driven to stencil art are the same reasons that have always driven and compelled graffiti artists to produce their art.
There are many psychological theories as to why people, generally young people, feel the need to write or draw on walls. In 1985 a psychologist named Regina Blume identified two main motivational categories for the creation of graffiti along with eight subcategories.
The online stencil artists of today may see certain connections between themselves and the graffiti artists of yesterday.
Blumes first primary category is Mass Communication and Reflexive Communication. She broke this down into five subcategories:
1) I draw, therefore I am (also referred to as Proof of Existence): In an anonymous world the individual craves a means to assert identity, be it through graffiti or stencil art.
2) The innate need all humans have to express oneself: For some members of any culture, graffiti seems to be the only way to express individuality. The same can be said of modern online stencil art.
3) The need to have a sense of belonging to a group: Graffiti allows certain individuals to cement their ties to a specific group. Stencil art is a niche art, with clearly defined boundaries and a clearly defined membership. The stencil art forum is quite clearly a group.
4) Pleasure in the creative act: Graffiti artists were creating art and expressing their inner selves; stencil artists of today are doing the same thing, creating individualized works of art for others to enjoy.
5) Boredom: There are times when online stencil art as well as real-world graffiti are simply expressions of boredom.
Categorical and Individual Communication
Ms. Blume's second major category for graffiti art, which applies equally as well to modern-day online stencil art, is the need for individual communication. There are three subcategories under this main heading.
1) Protest or agreement: A great deal of both graffiti as well as stencil art has to do with protesting specific issues. These can be cultural issues, political issues, religious issues, or any other ideological issues.
The need to protest (or to agree with an issue) has been with the human race for tens of thousands of years and is just as strong today.
2) Marking out territories: It may not be as obvious with stencil art that an individual is claiming territory, but stencil art can be almost as individual as a fingerprint. It is often clear who the artist is simply by viewing their artwork. This form of individuality is a way for the modern online stencil artist to claim territory.
3) Search for contacts: All humans enjoy associating with others who share their worldview. Graffiti artists were searching for others of their kind, and modern stencil artists are no different. Stencil art is a way to define oneself as well as a way to filter out those who do not share the stenciler's vision.
Today's Online Stencil Artists Share the Same Goals
Today's online stencil artist needs recognition, just as the graffiti artists who drew on the wall of the Great Pyramid three thousand years ago did. There's a connection, a kinship between all artists that requires the stencil artist to say to the world: I exist! I am here. See my work.
Here is where the Internet excels. Stencil art (modern-day graffiti art) can be sprayed onto an electronic wall that is available for the entire world to see in a matter of minutes.
The new electronic world provides the stencil artist with all the psychological tools that the ancient graffiti artist so craved: identity, self-expression, belonging to a group (a worldwide group), the need to be creative, the need to express an opinion, the ability to make a cultural difference, and even a sense of territory.
And best of all, the modern stencil artists can be a part of all of this within the framework of a group, offering support and encouragement, everything the true artist needs in life.
Who Are The Online Graffiti Artists of Today?
The best place for today's stencil artists to get the tools necessary for creating modern online stencil masterpieces as well as for being a part of a dynamic and encouraging group is the website Stencil Revolution. Here the stencil artist can get the free tools necessary for creating his or her unique, individualistic works of art while drawing upon the creative juices of thousands of like-minded creative individuals from all over the globe.
This is truly the best time in history to be part of the stencil revolution. Today the graffiti artist can create unique one-of-a-kind artworks, display their art to a worldwide audience within minutes, and be part of a growing, dynamic subculture of like-minded individuals who share a passion for art and a joy of life. Today is the day for stencil artists everywhere to spray paint anything on a virtual wall. Everyone's watching and no one's complaining.