Daniel Holbrook, a.k.a. The Stencil Artista, came from the streets of the Bay Area and is now creating art on the streets of Las Vegas. We caught up with the him at the Promenade at the Juhl, at Galerie Miscre8. DAWN S: Daniel, we have seen your Koi fish around town, but how would you […]
Daniel Holbrook, a.k.a. The Stencil Artista, came from the streets of the Bay Area and is now creating art on the streets of Las Vegas. We caught up with the him at the Promenade at the Juhl, at Galerie Miscre8.
DAWN S: Daniel, we have seen your Koi fish around town, but how would you describe your art?
DANIEL H: My artwork can be described under many different genres; but I guess the best way to describe my work is Urban Contemporary and Street Art. I am a stencil artist, but all of my stencils are original. They are all created the same way. I draw out the design on manila folders, and then hand cut the design with just an exacto- knife. The biggest stencil I’ve created is 24 feet!
DS: Why did you become an artist?
DH: The reason I became an artist, is because making art really makes me happy. I sometimes become depressed for no reason, and when I make art, it snaps me out of that mind set. Before I found out that I could paint, I used gambling as a release from my emotional pain and that only made things worse in my life. It wasn’t until I started painting, that I found purpose, a release, and a way to inspire others that have hard times in their own lives.
DS: Tell us about your journey to street art in Las Vegas?
DH: My journey has not been an easy one. As a child, I grew up in foster homes. While still in high school, I turned 18, and my foster parents kicked me out. After graduation, I went into the US Marines as a helicopter mechanic. While in the Marines, I was the go-to guy for artwork within my squadron, creating stencils for the helicopters and helmets, and drawing tattoo designs for other Marines. After the Marines, I held numerous jobs, but nothing seemed to make me happy. In 2008, I decided to go to college at The Art Institute of Las Vegas for Digital T.V. and Movie Production. Since it was an art school, I had to take art classes, and one of the classes I had to take was color theory. I have been able to draw all my life, but a painter I was not. In the color theory class, the instructor would only allow us to use paint to complete our projects. During the course I realized that I could indeed paint. I instantly fell in love with painting and decided that art was what I wanted to do with my life. Taking what I knew from making stencils in the Marines, and seeing what other stencil artists were doing, I decided to go that route. I spent the next three years creating my own style, and when I felt that my work was good enough, I pronounced myself The Stencil Artista. Since then I have had some amazing opportunities with the Life is Beautiful Festival, SAKS 5th AVE, Pepsi, 18B Las Vegas Arts District, and a number of murals I have done for local businesses here in Las Vegas.
DS: What part has cannabis played in your life and in your art?
DH: Cannabis has been a part of my life for a while now. My mind seems to always be on the go; thoughts and ideas don’t seem to stop. Cannabis helps calm down my thoughts. It allows me to concentrate on a particular idea or project. It also helps with a couple of medical conditions, such as depression, and helps relieve the pain from injuries I sustained while in the Marine Corps. I don’t drink alcohol, or take manufactured medicines, so cannabis is a major part of my life for recreation and medical purposes.
DS: What’s next from the Stencil Artista?
DH: My art career never seems to stop, and that is by no means a bad thing. Lately I have been helping one of my other favorite local artists, Miscre8, get her gallery together, here in downtown. January is the grand opening, and one of my favorite features of the gallery for 2017 is “Toke N Tag”. “Toke N Tag” is going to be an exclusive event at Galerie Miscre8, where the participants will learn how to do street art on canvas, all while enjoying some tasty buds. Also coming up, I have a couple of community projects that are in the works, and I just submitted my idea to the Life is Beautiful Festival for 2017. If I make the cut again this year, it will be my third consecutive year being an artist for the festival.
DS: Any inspiring words for our readers?
DH: You always hear people say, do what you love, and I couldn’t agree more. For the first 36 years of my life I have been searching to find my place in the world. It wasn’t until I found that I could paint that I could really say that I was doing what I loved, but it was also very important to believe in myself and what I was doing. If you don’t believe in yourself, how do you expect anyone else to believe in you? Follow your dreams, do what makes you happy, and never give up on yourself.
Daniel Holbrook’s art is for sale in Las Vegas at Galerie Miscre8, Pac N Porz Tattoo and Art Gallery, and at Kung Fu Tea, and on his website: www.thestencilartista.com
Dawn Starr Looking Elk is a patient consultant at Essence Cannabis Dispensary, and is an art agent and curator.