"Il faut inclure la signature dans la photo." (Be sure to include the signature in your picture.)
The voice startled me as I was crouched low, taking photographs of the street art in the rue Denoyez. I looked up to see a tall, thin man with graying hair tucked into a pony tail. He was standing in the doorway of a shop whose exterior was covered with art such as this:
"C'est un de mes pochoirs" he said. I'm Pedro, and this is my shop."
"Pochoir?" I didn't recognize the word in French. "Stencil" is the English word, he continued. And so we began a 15 minute conversation in English regarding the use of stencils as street art, poetry, and political statement. Pedro invited me into his shop/studio where the walls were covered with hundreds of images of musicians, poets, and historical figures ranging from Obama to Marilyn Monroe and Rosa Parks. I think that Pedro was delighted to practice his English and flattered that someone would be interested in his art. He wouldn't allow me to take any photos of him or the inside of his shop, but did allow me this photo of the process:
I left the shop with a new insights regarding street artists, their cans of spray paint, and their "pochoirs." So what can you do with stencils? Well, you can decorate your trash cans. . .