It is said that walls have ears and that they can be made to speak. Between denunciation and diversion, the Stencil movement has won a distinguished place in the field of plastic arts, closely related to the antiglobalization groups, so typical in the twenty-first century.
In a space already saturated with stimuli for consumption, Stencil tells stories by means of the age-old technique of stencilling, consisting of applying paint on walls through templates, or stencils, generating reiterative designs. To do this, aerosol paint, so popular in the 1970s, is used with old, cut out X-rays.
The drawings tend towards synthesis and outlining, almost always in black, and they appear in an isolated form or in obsessive repetitions of the same image. They are never autonomous images, since they permanently play with their architectural context as well as with the messages left by other artists who were there before.
The stencil artist is usually stealthy, almost always anonymous, although sometimes he will sign his work with a pseudonym. On occasions he will belong to a group that leaves its mark all over the city, reinventing space by subversion. The nearest forerunner can be found in the work of Keith Haring and Basquiat, and in the student demonstrations against the Viet Nam War and in France in May, 1968.
The most famous of the artists who have participated in the Stencil movement is, without a doubt, the British artist Bansky, about whose real identity almost nothing is known. Born in Bristol in 1975, he has painted the streets of London and other cities with caustic grafitti and and stencilled drawings, and he has also been able to plant false works by consecrated artists in the British Museum and the Tate Gallery. Now some of his graffiti works, removed from walls with the greatest care, are valued in even the most conservative auction rooms at up to 300,000 euros.