Thesis Group Talks Street Art

Every few weeks this semester, the Guilford Senior Art Thesis group meets up for student-led seminars where we read, watch, or experience art together and discuss how the concepts we learn can apply to our own thesis project or artistic career in general. Last week we all watched the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop– a film about street art.

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We talked about the many levels of street art represented in the documentary, from taking to the streets at night by yourself tagging buildings to putting on big installation shows with a full staff of assistants. In the main character, Terry’s (a.k.a. Mr. Brain Wash’s) case, he found quick (and one could argue undeserved) success by hiring artists to produce for him popular types of imagery in the street art market. Inspired by that concept, our thesis group discussed this fine line we all tow as artists between creating what we want to create and what people will want to buy. We were also each asked to come to class with a stencil depicting a piece of pop culture.

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Martin’s stencil depicted Huey Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party. He said he didn’t know much about Huey Newton and that was kind of the point. He wanted to recreate the lack of context yet familiarity he had towards the iconic Che Guevara t-shirt he owned as a child.

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Grace created a stencil of a skeleton from a video game she used to play as a child called Grim Fandango. He is basically a travel agent to the afterlife, who, if you had the money, would transport you to the afterlife without having to walk there.

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Inundated with pop culture and the many ways to go about this project, Colin made an ouroboros stencil. This snake symbol relates back to their thesis work and also represents one of the many snake symbols one could recognize in pop culture.


I created a Tamagotchi stencil, inspired by my childhood love for the toy—an obsession that ended up making me responsible for the 2005 Tamagotchi ban at my Elementary school.

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You can watch Exit Through the Gift Shop on Netflix.

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