Making Stencils with Mike Shine

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Mike Shine’s interests range from surfing to carnivals, and his dynamic approach to art making manifests as immersive installations, which he’s created throughout the Bay Area at local museums, galleries, and even at his home in Bolinas, “The Shine Shack.” His artwork is inspired by carnival aesthetics and his own narrative about Dr. Flotsam, a clown character who represents the darker aspects of life, and was inspired by the legend of Faust and the fictional demon, Mephistopheles.

Learn more about Mike Shine in our video interview:

Shine has recently been working on large-scale, multi-layered stencils to create murals in the Tenderloin. We paid a visit to the Shine Shack and asked him to give us a primer on stencil-making, and tell us more about his style, and his history of working with stencils, which are one of the most accessible tools for creating a message and spreading it (or spray painting it) widely.

Check out Mike Shine's tips for stenciling in this video demonstration:


Mike Shine opens a new exhibition at 111 Minna Gallery this Friday, September 21st, 2012. Don’t miss his performance on opening night. The exhibition will be on view through October 13, 2012.

When introducing stenciling to students, it’s important to initiate a discussion about graffiti, street art, and private property. Mike Shine’s murals in the Tenderloin neighborhood and in Clarion Alley are commissioned; the owners of the buildings gave permission for him to paint on their walls. While stencils are an important tool for street artists, students need to understand the legality of various forms of street art, and should be reminded to never paint on buildings or in the streets without permission. As with any art form, it is also important to take proper precautions when using materials such as spray paint. Learn more about art materials and keeping young artists safe on the Health and Human Services Web site.

For lesson plan ideas related to stenciling, check out our Educator Guide on Mike Shine.