Tag Archives: The Stencil Show

Tes One and the Taking Tree

For the last two weeks, we have felt a certain paranoia under the watchful eye of Tes One‘s “Taking Tree” currently hanging in The Stencil Show. The piece makes us feel as though Big Brother was constantly peeking over our shoulder. This unsettled feeling  is exactly what Tes One wanted, which we discovered by asking him a few questions about the piece. Read on for a recap from the artist.

Taking Tree

Title of the work:
Taking Tree

What sparked the idea for this piece?
Against my better judgment, I was in a dreaded Wal-Mart parking lot when I noticed the ridiculous amount of surveillance cameras placed on the edge of the building and on top of the light posts. The amount of cameras was obscene, and ominous. At least 3 cameras surveillance-ing any particular area of their property. One look up at all those cameras, and the idea found me.

Where did this image come from?
Once I had the idea for the painting, I starting taking pictures and gathering images of security cameras. I’m sure this behavior looked suspicious on all sorts of cctv systems in my area.

How did you create it from start to finish?
Very carefully.

How long did it take you?
Approximately 2 months.

What meaning do you ascribe to this image?
When I was a kid, my mother read a book to me by Shel Silverstein called The Giving Tree. It is a story about a tree that loves a little boy and will give him whatever he wants (shade to sit in, apples to eat, etc). The book marks my first comprehension of selflessness, and has resonated with me throughout my life. I named this painting “Taking Tree” because it provokes the exact opposite emotion. For me, this tree is cold, violating and an intrusive reminder of the type of reality we now live in. I think it also captures the absurd lengths companies or communities will go to appear “safer,” while collecting as much information as possible on their public.

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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.

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

Gallery Babes

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Saturday night’s opening reception for The Stencil Show, Upstairs Is Where the Magic Happens, and C3/KMNDZ/Akira attracted an amiable crowd. We didn’t miss the opportunity to snag the pretty ladies of the night for our second edition of Gallery Babes. Continue scrolling for a little art and a lot of lipstick.

Gallery Babes at White Walls

Gallery Babes at White Walls

Gallery Babes at White Walls

Gallery Babes at White Walls

Gallery Babes at White Walls

Gallery Babes at White Walls

Gallery Babes at White Walls

Repeat Offender by Tes One

Tes One Repeat Offender

Repeat offenders can only be handled in one manner: another solo exhibition. That is what Tes One has coming up at Redletter 1 in Tampa, Florida. The appropriately titled Repeat Offender opens October 3rd, just days before Tes One’s appearance in SF for The Stencil Show. We like this snippet from the press release:

“Combining traditional and non-traditional techniques, Tes One creates contemporary works of art that contrast nature with technology, grime with grace. Allowing himself to find beauty in the mundane, he is able to juxtapose rejected landscapes with figurative illustrations, all the while identifying what is common between the conversing elements.”

"Future Development" (Detail) | 49" x 61"

“Future Development” (Detail)

For more information about this exhibition, see Tes One’s site.