Tag Archives: David Soukup

David Soukup’s Hong Kong Hustle

As we have spent the last two weeks admiring The Stencil Show, questions begin to arise about each painting. We asked David Soukup to analyze his piece, “Hong Kong Hustle,” from top to bottom. Soukup’s mini interview reveals much that we never saw before in this painting; just wait till you find out how many hours he spent cutting the stencil.

Hong Kong Hustle

White Walls: Title of work:

David Soukup: Hong Kong Hustle

What sparked the idea for this piece?

This was the first piece I got rocking and rolling on when I locked the White Walls Show.  I wanted to go big right away, and this was a great starting point.

Where did this image come from?

This really isn’t just one image.  It’s about ten images photo-shopped together.  The alley, some buildings, the people, the signage, etc.  Most of my images start with something simple and I combine lots of photographs to create what I want.

I have a habit of bringing a camera everywhere with me, and in Chicago there is no shortage of reference.  I try not to limit myself.  But sometimes the subject looks at the camera or the sun doesn’t hit at the right angle, so I hit the internet for a sign or a person.  I allow myself to go and fix those errors to create something different and add more detail.  It’s something new to my process.  I used to just copy the photograph, as in my first set of works. I’ve now started altering the images to work how I want them, which gives me more control over composition, contrast, and color.

Additionally, I add a lot of Chicago or personal references to all of my paintings whenever I can.  At the show, I caught so many people who saw my “Sidewalk Shuffle” piece and saw the New York references and imagery, but knew that Jackson and LaSalle are streets in Chicago, and that the intersection looks nothing like the painting.  There are such details in my other paintings as well, and this one has tons of small nods to my hometown.  I add small things like that to keep people looking and to add little jokes.

My friends’ names or phone numbers appear all the time on the signs. Most people don’t notice that, but it adds a personal touch I think.

How did you create it from start to finish?

I explained the photoshop part above. From that step, I print them out on paper and cut each layer by hand.  Every curve, shape, and letter is cut by hand with an x-acto knife.  The whole thing may be complicated, but it’s really simple when you get around the cutting.  I also try to document this process as much as possible.  I then build my own frames, stain and distress them, and paint them with spray paint.

Stencil-heads know what I am talking about when I say I don’t use spray adhesive, and rely on the pressure of the can to hold the stencil in place and give me a clean line.  I also have the ability to run prints, and this is one of the paintings I submitted 2 editions of.

How long did it take you?

It’s hard to really know.  Painting it only takes like 2 hours, but the actual cutting process- maybe something like 50-80 hours.  I lose track of time when this happens, and I jump around to other stencils sometimes.  The worst thing that can happen is getting bored of cutting a particular stencil, so it’s nice to switch it up.

What were you thinking about while you worked on it?

Nothing.  It’s why stencil cutting is so great.  Some people say they never would have the patience to do what I do, and for me, it’s more like meditation.  I work in the art department in the film business and sometimes the days just burn me out.  With stenciling, I get 2-4 hours a day when I don’t think of anything else.  It makes the process really enjoyable and calms me down a lot.

What meaning do you ascribe to this cityscape?

I try not to get too descriptive.  If I had to pick words, I’d say that it’s about the harmony cities enjoy.  Everyone does their thing. No one is mindful of each other despite the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people on the street.  It’s the idea of controlled chaos and trying to get people to appreciate the details and beauty of everyday life.

On a side note, I think this show was a great opportunity to showcase my ability, but since leaving San Francisco, I’ve felt such a huge desire to create.  Within the next few months, I want to take the stenciling medium and push it a little further and not get so trapped by the medium.  I think my upcoming work will be something that people haven’t seen and I am anxious to hear the response.

Stencil Artists Tell All

Since our Stencil Show artists are a rare breed, we decided to throw something fun at them in place of a traditional interview. We let the artists tell their story through a mad lib, passing the story amongst themselves for a complete mix up. Read on to see how Tes One, David Soukup, Casey Gray, Ernesto Yerena, Chris Stain and Adam 5100 got to where they are today.





mad lib 5 2

Red Carpet: The Stencil Show

Red Carpet

As stated by Arrested Motion, The Stencil Show’s opening reception was a success. Casey Gray, David Soukup, Ernesto Yerena, and Adam 5100 all came out to represent while a curious crowd absorbed the wide range of stencil works. Thanks for joining us in the celebration of such a unique exhibit and we hope to see you back at the gallery soon.

Shooting Gallery opening reception

Ramblin Worker’s Upstairs Is Where the Magic Happens

Shooting Gallery opening reception

Casey Gray

Shooting Gallery opening reception

White Walls opening reception

David Soukup and his girlfriend

Shooting Gallery opening reception

Casey, Michael, and Lauren

White Walls opening reception

Gallery babe

White Walls opening reception

Ernesto Yerena’s family and friends

White Walls opening reception

White Walls opening reception

Casey and Julio

White Walls opening reception

Adam 5100

White Walls opening reception

Stencils Galore

All the town is talking: what is this Stencil Show? Spray paint, hooligans, amateurs? We are here to nullify all rumors about the vandalizing nature of stencil art, and we have the artwork to back it up. David Soukup, Tes One, Casey Gray, Ernesto Yerena, Blek le Rat, and Chris Stain are in the house and you better believe they are pushing the boundaries of what a stencil can do. Check out a few detail shots below and join us this Saturday, October 10th for the opening reception of The Stencil Show.

Hong Kong Hustle by David Soukup

Tes One

Ernesto Yerena

blek le rat

Casey Gray

Stencil Art at Its Finest: David Soukup

With the October Stencil Show quickly approaching, we would like to highlight how each artist is breaking new ground in this budding genre. For example, David Soukup’s paintings are so detailed and realistic that they expand our vocabulary of “stencil art.” However these images help wrap our head around the process behind Soukup’s finished product, which he describes below:

“I like doing stencil art so much because of the process. Unlike painting, sculpting, or design, there is a certain mystery to stenciling and printmaking.  I spend so much time building up to the final product, and I have to trust my eye until the moment I get a spray can involved. There is little I can do afterward.

I also find a real beauty in the cut paper. I have always been about documenting my process so others can understand it.  Like many other photo-realistic stencil artists, I find inspiration within cityscapes (mostly of Chicago) because of their complex details and layers.  Despite the fact that it lumps me into a category, I really try to make something that is amazing and that other people can appreciate; and I try to do it in my own way.

This will be the first show where I start incorporating the wood grain and background elements in a more integrated fashion, giving more depth to the pieces. These are the unfinished layers of 4 pieces that I plan on bringing to San Francisco with me, and I hope you enjoy them.” -David Soukup

david soukup stencil 4

david soukup stencil

david soukup stencil 2

david soukup stencil 3

david soukup stencil 5

david soukup stencil 6

To see what comes after the stencil, see David’s flickr.

Look out for David Soukup at White Walls Gallery for this October’s Stencil Show.