Sten (Rome, 1982) and Lex (Taranto, 1982) realized the first stencil in the streets of Rome in 2001 and are considered among the main diffusers of “Stencil Graffiti” in Italy.
The duo is known internationally for having introduced, since 2002, the use of halftone in the stencil process.
The graphic elaboration, which they call Hole School, consists in cutting out an image composed of dots or lines: a portrait appears so realistic from a distance, abstract from close up. The subjects of their works are anonymous characters, photographed by themselves or rediscovered in old photographic archives, painted in a black and white stencil, and the result of research on Western photographic portraits from the ’60s until today.
In 2008, Banksy invited Sten Lex to participate in the Cans Festival in London together with a group of artists specialized in “Stencil Graffiti”.
Starting from 2010, Sten Lex create stencils cut out on paper and glued on the walls. After years of using both stencil and poster media, the duo created a process they call Stencil Poster. The process consists of posting on the street, a poster made up of lines or dots. The poster is hand cut out on the wall on which it is applied, the paper matrix once cut out, is painted black and finally destroyed to give space to the final work. The concept behind this process is that atmospheric agents, rain, and wind slowly destroy the matrix over time, revealing the final artwork as the matrix dissolves.
The essential meaning of the “stencil”, which is considered a technique for reproducing the same image over and over again, is thus brought to the point of paradox in that by destroying the matrix, which is also part of the work, its reproducibility is diminished.
Sten Lex’s art is spread all around the world. The work of the duo can be admired on the walls of Austin (TX), Gibellina (IT), Bangkok (THA), Monterrey (MX), and many other cities worldwide. During these almost 20 years of activity, Sten Lex exhibited at the Danysz Gallery of Shanghai, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome (IT), the Caradente Museum in Spoleto (IT), the Centre de la Gravure et de l’Impage imprimée (BE), the Street Art Museum in Saint Petersburg (RU) and La Condition Publique in Roubaix (FR).