One of my favourite memories from my teens is sneaking out of my bedroom window with Vince, Steve and Tori to tag hand cut Obey stencils all over Oakville. We though we were so badass! On another occasion a whole bunch of us stayed up most of the night in a garage painting t-shirts for Mikey aka DJ Busdriver - I converted a digital image of his turntable into a stencil, but Michelle and Lindsay were much better at the painting part... somehow a variety of people's different artistic talents all meshed well when it came to production line stencil-shirt making! This went on for a few years in highschool until the ecology / global warming thing really kicked in at which point I swore off spraypaint along with spray glue (yeah I was a crafty kid), hairspray and all other aerosol products. I found other ways to make t-shirts and still hand stencilled some images with vegetable dye but my interest moved to sewing and collage and I stashed my folder of stencils (although my love of Shepard Fairey grew exponentially during and after the Obama campaign!)
Then the other day two events coincided to bring me back to stencil cutting/tagging. Camden wanted to spray his name on a brand new guitar case and was going to do it freehand which I knew would look just awful... and I found that old folder of stencils which of course I immediately wanted to try out!
So... I did my research and thanks to Apartment Therapy I learned about Krylon's H20 Latex spraypaint. which comes in a dozen + colours. It's better than traditional spraypaint because its an acrylic latex paint (lower toxicity than solvent based paints) with significantly reduced VOCs and propellants. Chemical cleaners can also be avoided since latex paint is water soluble and cleans up with soap and water (within the first 20 - 40min). On the other hand lower VOCs isn't the same as no VOCs and the single use pressurized cans are not recyclable and hard to dispose of properly. Spraypaint isn't the best choice when you could use other paint products but for certain things like coating furniture, decorative/artistic uses and of course stencil.tagging - spray is the only way, in which case this Krylon paint is the best option! It is a little thicker and drippier than regular spray paint - I'll have to see if any of the pro street art paints come in an eco-friendly option!
Since you know I love books and just have to recommend one on every topic:
-OBEY: E Pluribus Venom (Fairey, Williams, Levine)
-Street Artists: The Complete Guide (Mathieson,Tapies)
-Street World: Urban Art & Culture from Five Continents (Gastman, Neelon, Smyrski)