The graffiti at Level 9 bar in Media City has got everyone talking. The artist responsible, Steffi Bow, tells What’s On how she did it…

What do you try to achieve with your pieces? Ultimately, it’s a realisation of inspirations. I want to paint things and individuals that inspire and interest me. In particular, I like to paint pieces that make me smile and have a context to where they are painted, however simple or complex the subject matter is.

What materials do you use? Most of my work is large-scale stencils, which, if I’m honest, is more of a science than an art. While spray paint is what I use for the finished product, the amount of other equipment I use behind the scenes is enormous and varied. Through trial and error, I have gained a ridiculous knowledge of different types of tapes/adhesives, cardboard, cutting knives and building tools. It sounds boring, but I really love the technical side of creating complex stencils. It’s a bit like doing an extremely difficult Sudoku puzzle.

How long does a can last? It all depends on how you use it. We use different types of caps on the cans for different types of work. For example we use ‘fat caps’ for covering large areas of walls quickly – these burn through cans of paint in a matter of minutes. Or we use ‘skinny caps’ for doing thin lines and more precise work, which obviously makes the paint last longer.



How long does it take to do a piece? I paint stencils in layers of colours and large stencils require a lot of prep work. I work out the design, hand cut the various layers from the card, and then there’s the painting of the piece. I have worked through the night to get some stencils ready to paint the next day. The actual painting is the quick part.

Do you sketch out ideas first? Sometimes, but I mainly take my idea straight to a computer to do the pre-designs.

Do your projects turn out as you expect? Yes, thankfully. I spend so much time thinking about ideas and then trying to make them come real, that it would be totally disheartening if they turned out wrong. I would have given up a long time ago if that was the case. Most of the stencils I create are only used once because they get mangled when you are painting outside. I kind of see it as a challenge. But with all the time and work I invest in a piece, I have to get it right.