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.people i encounter project. one.

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hello all! i have some exciting news...once a month (starting now) i will be conducting an interview and photo session involving certain individual(s) to help support and grow the local community. my goal is to cover all types of individuals from artists to business owners to musicians to anyone in between! so if that person/business is you or if you know of someone special please let me know and i will follow up on your request. for now, here is the first interview. 

Who I Encountered: Stenzskull or Dan Woehrle

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1. Why spray paint & stencils? And what other mediums are you diving into?

I’ve always been creative and in need of an outlet to express it, from music to dance and for the last 10 years, art! Stencils and spray paint came from being inspired by the art I was seeing and loving. I never thought I was a great drawer or artist at all, but once I found the stencil medium I found my place. Stencil artists, to take a word from artist Logan Hicks, are “workhorses.” I felt I could take pride in the hours of preparation once seeing the final outcome. Now that I feel like I’ve created my own style and am efficient in my craft, I still yearn to learn more so I’ve been diving into other mediums such as acrylics, watercolor and decoupage. 

2. Your favorite color/can of spray paint (brand & name)?

Montana 94… Black!!

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3. A lot of your paintings illustrate musicians. Does that reflect your personal interests? If so, what are the top 5 musicians/bands/artists that are currently playing on your MP3 player?

My earlier pieces were pretty much all my personal preference in musicians, but since I do commission work I’ve done other artists that I may not have ever done on my own. Top 5 artists I’m listening to would be: Aesop Rock, Qwel, The Shins, Murs & Atmosphere. 

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4. You recently opened a gallery/art supply store in San Luis Obispo, Ca. Give me some information about the business and a little insight on how it got started.

Yeah…me & my business partner Jake opened The Vapor Gallery in SLO. The main idea and reasoning behind it is to provide a more urban style art gallery and have a place to get some high quality paint and markers to create that artwork, and to fill that void in SLO. We wanted to have more of a style of a shop you would see in a big city. We sell Montana 94 spray paint which is what I use on every art piece of mine. 

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5. On October 6th of this year (2012) you had the opportunity to paint an electric box in San Luis Obispo. How did you get this opportunity and what is it for? What did you paint?

Well about a year ago Coalition skate shop and SLO Public Art both hosted a skateboard art show/auction and contest and I was approached with the idea. SLO Public Arts Department puts on this program (public box painting) to liven up the city and deter graffiti on those boxes. My idea for the box is to have people fitting into the box and more or less the basic idea being “everyone’s just trying to fit in.”

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6. Where’d you come up with “Stenzskull?” What got you started?

The name STENZSKULL, well hmmm… I guess I really liked having a name that wasn’t my own that I could use to represent my art; I was inspired by graffiti artists in that matter and other stencil artists like Banksy, C215 or even OBEY to a point. The name formed from the word stencil, obviously…but I was just messing around with some play on words and I liked the sound of it and the skull gave me an icon of sorts. I always tell people that it’s like Popeye saying stencil, “ifs only Brutus would quit mesking with me stenzskulls.”

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7. Name some art influences. As many as you can in 30 seconds!

Shepard Fairey, Banksy, Jeremy Fish, Logan Hicks, Penny, Smug One, El Mac, Retna, Revok,Saber, Craola, Gearboxx , my Homies, they are the best of the best.

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8. Getting to know you a little better…other than painting and running a business what else do you do for fun? I noticed you have a fixed gear bike in the corner of your shop.

Most of my time is spent with my beautiful and artistic girlfriend Molly. But yeah, that’s my fixie and I like to ride. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to ride SLO but now that I’m back in town you may see me cruising. Also I like to skate and play guitar, oh yeah and blow trees!!! D.I.Y  G.Y.O  S.W.E.D.

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9. What is your favorite gallery or exhibit you have been shown at? Also, favorite art show you have attended?

I’ve been lucky enough to show in Washington DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, as well as holding down in SLO area, but my favorite gallery to have shown at was The Jeff Claassen Gallery in SLO. I was in quite a few and the group shows were always fun. My favorite show I ever went to hands down was Banksy’s first ever US show in Los Angeles! I was living in LA at the time and read about it online and they wouldn’t announce the location till the day of and at that they were really vague, but my homie Blake and I went on the first day before it got all blown out of hand and we got to see the fully painted elephant and famous people checking it out like Mila Kunis and Maculey Culkin. 

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10. Keeping it completely local:

Favorite place to grab a bite to eat?  Favorite place to eat ughhhh…. man, I’ve been cooking lately. I can’t eat out anymore but probably Louisas’ Place, I love me some breakfast!

Favorite bar? Definitely Frog and Peach.

Any local favorite artists? Well, all the homies are my favorites for sure they always surprise me. But besides that, Jason Ferkel kills it and the dude who did the big art mural inside Kreuzberg (sorry, I don’t know your name).

Favorite place to get away from it all? Probably Montana De Oro.

What do you think of the graffiti/street art scene in the county? Any hard-hitters you notice? The graff scene in SLO is both underground and non-existent. Everyone knows each other but everyone also knows how many people have been caught, it’s just to small of a city for true heads to keep getting up and risking it. But there are some heavy hitters in town they just keep it low key. The best is seeing people like GATS and Plant Trees from the bay area come down and put stuff up on our streets.

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I'm definitely human, not a robot. I am not controlled by the population. I'm from Los Angeles but didn't like it there. I'm now on the Central Coast, my residency shall be unknown. I'm a photographer but you think you're better. I sneak into places with my camera. I make stencils but not for you ... maybe. I shoot what my eyes see. I make friends with aliens. If you are in front of me, you are going to be shot. If you are torn down or abandoned, I will find you. I will try not to break your heart.

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