By Cedric Sadai
Published a month ago
Read between the lines : the art of stencil by Sten Lex
Sten & Lex are a renowned duo of Italian artists who pioneered the use of large-scale stencils on murals.
Sten & Lex started working together in 2005. Sten had taken a radiology class a few years before where he experimented with making a stencil with the cuttings of a bone x-ray.
Their initial work as a duo featured figurative portraits revealed beneath multi-layered stencils. Around that time, they also made regular use of halftone stencils. They would cut thousands holes to make a single portrait.
Overcoming the complexity of applying such precise technique to a variety of supports, they got globally acclaimed for scaling their stencil work on murals as well as on canvas.
This artistic research also led to happy mistakes: Porting their early work to wooden canvases, they accidentally left strips of paper fly, which left them in awe of the aesthetic beauty of it. It became part of their creation, and even a signature of their work. Beyond adding beauty, it was a step forward for stencil artists as a whole, making the rendering dynamic and alive.
Here again, their work adapt very well on different supports and scales.
The complexity of creating a large-scale stencil can be appreciated fully in this video:
Their recent work follows the path of constant evolution. Abstract and geometric patterns have become an important part of their practice, like on the masterpiece below made in Monterrey (2017).
The Italian duo meanwhile keeps links with their artistic roots, ending up creating a harmonious blend.