Sten & Lex, the Roman street art duo, were in Paris this weekend accepting the invitation offered to them to make Le M.U.R., the Parisian art project which revolves around a three by eight metre billboard set aside by the city council for the purpose of promoting street art.
Sten & Lex were among the initial street artists to produce stencil graffiti in Italy, and created the wall at the weekend at the Paris street art wall on the corner of rue Oberkampf and rue Saint-Maur in the 11th Arrondissement.
Sten & Lex use an experimental ‘stencil poster’ technique that involves gluing a printed image onto a surface and then cutting away the black parts. After this, the remaining matrix is painted and destroyed. The technique creates a unique artwork, with the cut away scraps left dangling from the image and forming part of the work itself.
Sten & Lex point out to people who buy their artworks, created using this technique, that it is an ‘artwork in progress’ and that the matrix could fall completely apart in the future. The work that they produced for Le M.U.R. (Association Le Modulable Urbain Reactif) has been helped in its ‘progress’ by the weekend’s rainfall, with many of the dangling scraps already having been turned to a sad-looking pulp.
The technique is an evolution of the Sten & Lex’s “Hole School” a name taken because of its assonance with the “old school”, and started life in 2003, originally borrowing the half shades from the field of graphic design to create the impression of there being a gradient. The artwork you see here is an evolution of this technique and creates the illusion of it being produced in a grey scale, but if you look at the image from a close distance you will see only black and white lines and cannot see the image.
Sten & Lex’s main influences from a stylistic perspective are silk-screen printing and pixel-based printing. However, they are also interested in engraving techniques.
Sten & Lex find their images on the internet, in street markets and in newspapers, following a purely aesthetic criterion, and using only subjects who are not looking into the camera. Interestingly Sten & Lex have discovered that from the 1960s people have been looking more and more into the camera and smiling.
Sten & Lex were invited by Banksy to the Cans Festival in 2008 for which they created an ecclesiastic image, the “Saint”, but have since moved away from religious imagery in their murals. Since then Sten & Lex have experimented with a variety of imagery, including a quest to bring back to life forgotten representations, such as old postage stamps and banknotes. Today, Sten & Lex are interested in creating original portraiture, which up to now they have been unable to due to time constraints.
This interview was originally published on the website, Street Art Paris.