Peat Wollaeger's YouTube video showing the process of creating his Painted Room provides the perfect visual for Stenciling 101. He even wears a luchador mask for authenticity-or maybe that's to keep his identity secret.
"I'm web design guy by day, and Daddy/Stencil guy by night. I gotta hustle, I gots mouths to feed!" he explains in his profile for L.A.-based Stencil Revolution, the collective he belongs to with other stencil art luminaries including Logan Hicks, tyRONE, Psalm and haha.
Wollaeger's voyage into the craft began the way many artistic ventures start: with necessity. "I had done a fresh illustration of my son and wanted to silkscreen it on glass for my lady," he says. "But without access or funds for the right equipment I had to try something else. Around that time I had seen stencil work by heads like Chris Stain, Logan Hicks and Banksy. I decided to try the stencil technique myself and my stenciling addiction started."
One refreshing aspect of Wollaeger's work is that he retains a sense of humor about himself and his own art while also choosing images that resonate emotionally, such as the well-padded, laughing head of the late Chris Farley ("Dead Fat Comedians") for example, or an oversized stencil of one of his swaddled, infant sons yawning ("Baby Spray"). His Casa del Luchador is yet another example of Wollaeger as a fine craftsman with a sense of whimsy and no trace of the "Artist-with-a-capital-A" attitude. Each of Wollaeger's characters seems to convey the energy he derives from his art and his family; his masked men are oiled and muscular, but friendly. Even the suit-wearing business manager-luchador seems to offer a good-natured invitation to go a round in the ring. Wollaeger's "altered" furniture-one of several examples of a trend shared among the 2007 "class" of Hotel des Artists-can't help but make guests laugh as they enter the room. Is the bed considered ringside seating, or might your catnap render you vulnerable to a body slam, lucha libre-style? This may be the only wrestling match in town involving oil and masks, but no camera. (But just to be safe, you may want to flex.)