I’ve spent the past three Saturdays with my sister tracing the stencils for our upcoming paint job in Oslo. As I mentioned in part one, printing these stencils would eat up our entire budget. So we projected them onto paper and traced the designs with permanent markers. We’ve never tried this technique before but we instantly fell in love with it. The upside of tracing stencils instead of printing them, is that can’t avoid mentally cutting, layering and painting them as you go. I guess you could say that this is the ultimate way of priming yourself for a big session when working with stencils.
We’ve known the wall-sizes for a couple of weeks, but it’s not until you actually see the size of the paper you’re tracing your image onto, that you realize how big these stencils actually are. We’ve never painted stencils this big and seeing the designs right in front of you is quite a breathtaking (and sinking) feeling, partly because you know in the back of your head that each layer must align with the other. It’s easy to get lost in the image because you’re up close a lot with the markers. The resolution wasn’t that great at times so some details got a bit blurry. Smartphone with the design equals handy helper.
One of our designs pictures three workers protesting in a bar. The thought is to convey ideas of unity between workers (and people), and that you can take pride in working hard (but being off having a beer is better). We wanted signs so that we could create actual signs out of cardboard and glue them to the wall. This to make the design pop a bit, and frankly, it’s always more fun to work with different materials and textures when creating art. We used three different fonts to sell the idea that the people in the design actually made their own signs. We had a fun time sinking into the minds of the different characters. The Nick Cave-looking drunk who just showed up for the beer, the woman who wasn’t to bothered with her A’s, and the proud butcher who took the time masking his frame the proper way, with tape, putting all his effort into writing the word NO.
“Damn it Martha! All they need to see is the word NO! That says it all! The rest is just jibber-jabber. I’m not a signmaker I’m a butcher! I always write my prices large when I advertise my meat. At least I used tape when masking out my frame, not like the other two amateurs next to me who just slapped some paint on around the edges.”
– The butcher to his wife (in our heads).
Since we’re painting in Norway, this dumb “Save the (wh)ales!” joke really brings it home.
All our stencils are rolled up, the paint is on its way and we’re mentally prepared to work long hours, go nuts and just have fun. So far we’re confident it will all work out fine. Let’s hope we’re right. Otherwise we’ll ruin four walls in a bar in Oslo and come home broke.