Friends With Knives – PaperMonster Interview

Saturday, September 19, 2009

papermonster stencil art

The Friends With Knives art exhibit is officially open. Last night was the opening of the exhibit featuring over 60 stencil art pieces from 15 incredibly talented stencil artists. With the opening of the show happening, we also had the chance to catch upĀ  with PaperMonster to ask him a few questions about the show. You can also check out all the work online at:

Here’s how the interview with PaperMonster went:

Explain the concept behind “Friends with Knives Show”?

The entire concept behind the “Friends with Knives” show is ultimately about diversity. When I was approached to curate a stencil group show through I wanted to have stencil artists that really cover a wide range of styles. We are all individuals and have taken the fundamentals from cutting thick pieces of cardboard with a kitchen knife to making beautiful works of art. There is no particular theme or message for the show and it is just a great collection showcasing stencil art styles and techniques that are beautiful in their own way. In the show you will see that stencils whether they are large, small, simple or intricate all have value. I feel like stencil graffiti art as a whole is continuing to progress in a really powerful direction with more stencil graffiti artists getting greater exposure and gaining recognition for their hard work. My goal is to bring together a collection of artists who put work into what they create and their passion shines through the pieces without ever meeting the artist.

What can we expect to see at the show?

In this show you can expect a little bit of everything. You will be able to see photorealistic, political, pop and abstract stencil art pieces from some of the worlds most talented stencil artists. The work is not just about “how intricate or how many layers you are putting together to make one painting” but more about “the history and evolution of stencil art techniques.” Where is stencil graffiti going and what are the fundamental roots? You will have the opportunity to see the most intricate of stencil pieces ranging in the 7 to 12 layer with rich texture to the most basic of one layer stencils. Some key words that makes all shows successful are “quality” and “variety” and this show has it all.

How many artists will have work on display?

In total I have out around sixteen artists from all of the world including: LECKOmio, E.L.K., SOULE, Peat Wollaeger, PaperMonster, L.E.T. , Nathan Phaneuf , A1One , Billy Mode, Ben Slow, Koleszar, Dave Lowell, Mefee, Roy Schreuder, and HAHA. The group is spread from all parts of the work including A1One from Iran, BenSlow and L.E.T. from the UK, Mefee from France, LECKOmio from Germany, and E.L.K. and HAHA from Australia. It is exciting to have everyone come together and I look forward to what projects lay ahead in the future.

How were the artists chosen?

I personally chose the artists for many different reasons. The majority of the artists I am either a fan of or have had the honor of having shows and have met in the past. We push each other and stencil art is a fantastic creative community. As stencil artists we have a common bond and we know the hardships and struggles that come with the work that we do. The process of cutting stencils can be grueling but at the same time it is extremely difficult to gain respect and admiration for the huge amount of work and dedication that we put in from the art world at large. Many of us have been creating stencils for five to ten years and some of us like Nathan Phaneuf, Mefee, and Roy Schreuder are relatively unknown artists that deserve an opportunity to shine. Hopefully they will be leaders in the future as they continue to push stencil art further.

What kind of work will you be featuring in the show?

I am extremely excited about my work for this show. I will be exhibition four new pieces that really demonstrate the degree of evolution that my work has had over the past year. The pieces are larger with more detail and texture than ever before and each cover some of my favorite themes such as pop imagery, the mystery behind masks, and the duality of emotions. The piece such as “Whatever She Likes” plays with the lack and exaggeration of emotions which you can see on the tiger head that exudes such a large amount of energy while the woman’s face is very dull and almost blank. The question in this piece is “What is she hiding?” and “What does the painting say about the relationship between nature and humans?” The show as a whole is great and I am not only proud of curating it along with but also to be an artists alongside people that have inspired me is a huge honor.

Here’s some work from a few of the artists:






Nathan Phaneuf
Nathan Phaneuf


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