Stencil1 is a street art-inspired brand founded by artist, painter, graphic designer and DIY enthusiast Ed Roth. In the 1990s, Ed created art while operating and curating the Williamsburg gallery. Ed’s affinity for street art and stencils grew while running the gallery. “It exposed me to a lot of street art,” he says, referring to his graffiti-inspired style. Ed also worked as a graphic designer, honing his digital media and packaging skills. Realizing he could apply all these skills to his passion for stencils, what started in the ’90s as a hobby grew into the artistic phenomena that Stencil1.com is today. So we are pleased to bring you the Designer insights of Ed Roth.
Image Credit: 1) Flavor Paper 2) Room & Board 3) Stephen Kenn at Fab 4) Christopher Wool 5) Klaylife
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1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?
I would say my aesthetic lies somewhere between eclectic home décor and street art. I have combined my love of pattern, nature, décor, and urban street art to come up with my own style.
2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
To design a stencil, I might photograph an item such as a tropical leaf, manipulate it in the computer aesthetically, then make it into a stencil file, cut it, paint with it. Repeat! When designing textiles, I will paint with stencils or freehand with the end product in mind.
3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?
I have a graphic design background and worked for very disciplined and passionate designers. From these experiences I learned the importance of being precise in your design work while keeping things simple. One great man I worked for was Hillman Curtis, he has since passed. A genius designer and videographer, who worked with discipline and honestly.
4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
I go to museums, art openings, fashion shows, walk in nature, take lots of pictures. Anything I can do culturally or other world experiences like being in nature, this is what the creative soul feeds on. I ask myself how can I make a stencil of leaves without seeing their beauty and trying to bring that beauty and experience to art.
5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?
I think belief in myself and my creative vision keeps me going. I have run Stencil1 for 11 years now, through a very rough economy and yet I grow. Staying fresh and innovative and passionate is key. I know my work and brand are authentic and I love connecting with creative people so I continue to grow by being empowered by seeing what others do with my stencils. My advice is to stick with your vision and when you want to give up, take a breath and push on. I am a small company that somehow is on the shelves next to some large corporate giants in the industry yet I believe I deserve a space in the market and so I have it. I also don’t focus on sales, I focus on empowering people with tools to make their creativity grow.