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A travellers’ guide to stencil art

A tour of some of the finest urban art

A travellers’ guide to stencil art

Know your Eine from your Eelus? Your tag from your call sign? No? Read on. We insist.

Stencil graffiti is quickly becoming one of the most popular (and lucrative) parts of the underground art scene and, it seems, politics after David Cameron gave Barack Obama a piece of street art on his last state visit.

To celebrate the release of The Street Art Stencil Book, a guide to the world’s greatest street artists, we took a whistle stop tour of some of the finest works illegally hung on walls around the world with exclusive images taken directly from the book.

The Street Art Stencil Book Curated by On.Studio will be available from Laurence King this month, priced £19.95


Bobby Washington DC, 2005

During 2005, a stencil of a man called ‘Borf’ started to appear on the streets of Washington DC. Some time later, it was revealed artist John Tsombikos had been tagging parts of the city in memory of his friend Bobby Fisher, who committed suicide aged 16. Soon after, the face started popping up in New York City, San Francisco, Rome, and a number of other destinations, followed quickly by a documentary on the graffiti phenomenon by acclaimed director Paris Bustillos.

What to look out for: Stencil art of Bobby Fisher

Where to see his work: Washington DC

Jef Aerosol

Sitting Kid, Great Wall, 2009

One of the kings of the French stencil scene, he’s been producing work across France since the early eighties and was responsible for the first ever book on street stencils way back in 1986. Not limiting his unique style to France, his mark can be found in London, Lisbon, Venice, Rome, Amsterdam, Chicago, New-York, Brussels, and Beijing.

Style: Black and white stencil figures.

Where to see his work: Lilles, and if you’re lucky, the Great Wall of China.


We all fall down, Melbourne, 2007

Another London based artist battling it out for wall space in and around Old Street, Mantis painted over Banksy’s famous Pulp Fiction stencil on Old Street roundabout replacing it with two African orphaned children holding banana skins. More political in his style than most of the other artists, he’s also partial to painting over a street sign or two.

Style: Politically orientated stencils of nuclear war, famine and corporate greed.

Where to see his work: Shoreditch, London

Nick Walker

Ratatouille, print, 2007

Walker is the joker of the stencil world. With tongue firmly in cheek, he’s created works lampooning iconic symbols, including Banksy’s now iconic rat race rats. Other figures have included The Mona Lisa cheekily revealing her derriere from under her robes and the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro. Based in Bristol for over twenty years, he’s considered one of the founders of the stencil art movement.

Style: Comical, sometimes ironic takes on images we’re already familiar with


Where to see his work:'' Bristol


Sitting Lady, Berlin, 2008

You know when you’ve seen an Xoooox image because they’re all covered with ‘Xs’ and ‘Os’. Starting out in a makeshift studio in his parents’ house in 1993, Xoooox collected women’s magazines and started making collages using a photocopier. Nearly 20 years later, his works sell for hundreds if not thousands and has had numerous solo exhibitions world wide.

Style: Magazine cutouts of women surrounded by zeros and crosses

Where to see his work: Berlin

Alexandre Orion

Metabiotica 7, Sao Paulo, 2006

Alexandre started his graffiti career at the tender age of 14 on the streets of Sao Paulo. Since then, his work, which deals with alienation and isolation in Brazil’s mega cities, has been picked up and exhibited in galleries in New York, Paris and San Francisco.

Style: Combines photography and stencil art to show interaction between his work and the environment.

Where to see his work: Sao Paulo


Ding Dong The Witch’s Dead, Barcelona, 2009

The only duo on our list is made up of Andrea Michaelsson and Ilia Mayer. They’re unique retro fantasy worlds have been adorning the streets of Barcelona for the best part of a decade. Merging 1930 movie stars with rave inspired imagery and ancient Greek mythology, their style has won plaudits on both sides of the Atlantic with exhibitions in LA and London.

Style: Anime-inspired portraits with a fantasy element to them

Where to see their work: Barcelona



When David Cameron went over to see Barack Obama, he gave him a painting by print by Ben Eine. The artist’s work suddenly became priceless, as collectors desperately tried to snap up examples of his work. A best mate of Banksy – the two frequently work together – his trademark style is to paint slogans, words, or just letters in brightly coloured paint schemes across shop shutters.

Style: Typography

Where to see his work: Shoreditch, London


One of the more recent artists to emerge on the international art scene, Bandit, who hails from Belgium, first caught people’s eye when a picture of Pablo Picasso with the title “Pablo Will Prove Us Right” appeared in his hometown five years ago. Since then he’s gone on to have a number of solo shows, and has tagged all over Europe and Canada.

What to look out for: Skateboarding gnomes

Where to see his work: Spain and Belgium


Nesting, London 2009

Heralding from Wigan, Eelus became one of the most in demand artists of the past decade after his work was spotted by Banksy and fellow graffiti legend Eine ten years ago. Since then he’s gone on to have a number of solo shows, and even broke Banksy’s record for fastest selling print after he was signed to printmakers Pictures on Walls.

Style: Intricate hand cut stencils and bright colours

Where to see his work: There are a few pieces dotted round Dublin city centre