This little blurb for Josh’s book made it into sfbg just after the RNC…

“There is no question in my mind that corporations are fighting to control every square inch of public landscape,” writes author Macphee in this impressive and handsome new book. Equal parts stencil art gallery, movement history and public art manifesto, Stencil Pirates is a rich, underground history of “all those who’ve ever felt like they have no control of their environment” using art to make their voices heard. There are hundreds of photos – many in full color – of stencils painted illegally in the streets of cities throughout the world, and a straight forward text that chronicles stenciling’s rise as an art movement. Macphee follows stencils from the streets of Sandinista- controlled Nicaragua, to the squatter scene of the Lower East Side in the 80′s to today’s worker uprisings in Argentina and the global public art uprising against Bush and the war in Iraq (there are 8 pages of this, from 6 countries), providing art critique along the way.
The joy of Stencil Pirates, however, lies in its vast collection of non-political art that show artists pushing the boundaries of what you would think possible with spray paint and forms cut out of cardboard. There are elaborate, multi-colored stencil murals of children playing, people kissing, or riding bikes. There are pages and pages of stenciled faces, robots, astronauts, guns, gardens – the kind of anonymous art for art’s sake that you sometimes see popping up everywhere at once in The Mission when the real estate conditions are right. San Francisco is heavily represented and local readers are sure to recognize the works of local artists Scott Williams, HEART 101, SHY GIRL, GRACE, Claude Moller, Ivy McClelland and more.
Macphee extends his faith in Free Art For The People to the reader, packing the book with pages of How-To advice on making and painting stencils, as well as including ready made stencils that the reader can cut out of the book and use on their own. Reading Stencil Pirates makes you want to dust off your Exact-o-knife and be part of the conversation that is going on all around you on the sidewalks and walls of the City.

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