Move to Detroit.

Angela Cesere
Aided by spray paint, a profile of John Coltrane joins the other stenciled art on campus. (AARON HANDELSMAN/Daily)

Conformity is the new pink.

The Versificators.

If these phrases tickle the back of your brain, look to the ground beneath your feet. Ann Arbor’s walkways are littered with paper pizza plates and chalked advertisements for the Christian Right, salsa lessons at the Michigan Union and other peripheral happenings at the University. While the elements wash these temporary statements away every few days, stencils – spray-painted, template-based images – endure for much longer.

Sometimes painfully so.

As a form of graffiti, stenciling commands a gravitas unknown to multi-colored chalk and flyers. It’s addictive repetition springs from corporate, label-based advertising, and it’s the medium through which extremely dynamic – and relevant – art is being produced (see http://www.banksy.co.uk).

But in our quaint bungalow of a city, stenciling has slipped away from its rough upbringing to encompass all things collegiate. Now band stencils can be spotted from the Diag through Kerrytown. Political statements don’t ascend higher than knee level. Ann Arbor’s banal graffiti scene finds no rescue in her stencils. The lone “Move to Detroit” on Catherine Street is doubly poignant: Revitalize the Motor City. Go experience better graffiti.

Or: Learn how to make your own templates. Fast and easy, you can subvert the man in as little as 45 minutes. Help make our sidewalks viewable again.

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