Thursday, July 18, 2013

Snyder & Teacher - The Classroom as the Street

Here is a guest post from Snyder detailing an awesome morning with Teach on the streets of Melrose:

I arrived early at the Ethos Gallery Fame Yard. As I rolled into the parking lot I glanced up into the day's first rays of light and saw a figure dangling from a ladder easily 24ft. high above the ground. While most of the community was still slapping around their snooze alarm, this artist was hand painting the first base coat of his largest stencil piece to date.

It is not uncommon for a street artist to manage pieces alone. Minutes ago I was balancing on the top step of a paste dripped a-frame ladder in flip flops amongst the early commuter honks of Melrose. Street artists are comfortable doing this, as well as seeing this among their contemporaries, but the sight of Teacher, one of the most technically skilled artists in the game, blew me away.

I instantly offered help, but was politely waved off. With the giant billboard looming just overhead, the rejection seemed justified.

I took a seat and enjoyed a rare exhibition of a carefully honed technique. Though the morning wind was mild, I nervously watched Teacher climb the ladder with the gigantic stencil in hand, reach the top and tape it to the facade. I offered help, but was again met by a polite refusal.

Teacher carefully lined up the piece before climbing back down to the ground. We exchanged pleasantries, caught up on life, and before I knew it, he was back on the ladder.

The organized apparatus of ladders alone was a piece of art. Each ladder extended to a higher level eventually concluding with a not-so-easy hoist onto the high roof above Melrose. A sight only a few have witnessed and one which flip flops unfortunately prevented. Once atop, Teacher enjoyed the view, slapped some stickers and began spraying the top of the piece.

I was surprised how long it took him to spray the entire black layer, but soon related to the comfort of not having to rush through a piece. As he carefully worked his way down the top half and continued the lower half from the ladder, I meandered the yard with my box of trouble adding color to the recently buffed walls, later to find that in between climbing ladders and swapping gigantic stencils, Teacher managed to snap some photos of me in the midst of some of my own shenanigans.

I returned while Teacher was still atop the ladder and was greeted by a neighbor of the yard. A lady in her 50s with a strong accent greeted me as I scouted areas around an empty dumpster. She expressed her admiration for Teacher and his evolving piece. She eagerly offered her driveway to Teacher requesting a portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy. Teacher liked the idea, but I could tell he was focused on one piece at a time.

The last few streaks were sprayed along with some finishing drips. Teacher descended from the ladder, joined me at the back of the parking lot and together we admired his largest finished stencil piece to date.

On this early morning I removed all background knowledge of this LA artist. I looked past his views on the current state of public education and for the moment, I ignored the his journey to bring light to the unfavorable conditions of public educators. I stripped down this educational experience and took it for face value. The classroom was the street. The chalkboard was a 30 foot urban wall and the subject was how to start and finish a fucking gigantic stencil all by yourself!


Dig it!  Snyder is a master of self stencils himself, so to take a student's approach and still enjoy a learning experience like this shows how it is about learning and love of art, not ego.  Great artists and great story!

Click the jump to check out all of the early morning rooftop action

***Thanks to Snyder for the pics!***

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