Canned Heat

Stencil-graffiti artists fight the power with plastic and paint.

One of my personal favorites -- because it's so simple yet provocative -- is the block-letter phrase "We Are The Terrorists." No picture. Just the words.

That's Folk's handiwork, which I didn't know until our e-mail interview, because, like most stencil artists (or activists -- you make the call), he doesn't sign his work. It's not about him; it's about the message. But most of his images in central Denver are months old, because Folk doesn't graffiti in the city anymore. "I'm trying to communicate with people besides urban liberals and Democrats." Now he primarily bombs the suburbs. "It's scarier in the 'burbs. You stand out like a motherfucker at 2:30 in the morning.

"A big part of why I do this," he goes on, "is because corporate media is inaccessible to me or anyone who even remotely thinks like me. Everybody is cut off. With stenciling, I'm creating my own media. It empowers me. And I hope it empowers others to create their own media."

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