Buff Buffet

Unseen hands have been leaving their mark throughout the concrete jungle of South Florida. Stencils have materialized on buildings and sidewalks, advertising a certain "what we do here is secret" mentality, but also addressing the current political mess of the country. Darin Bischof, owner of Parlor del Suvito, hopes to draw some attention to the burgeoning underground art scene in Broward County. Traditional graffiti writers, muralists, stencilers, and multimedia artists have all convened over the last five months at Bischof's Plantation warehouse to show off their skills. "There is an amazing potential for the underground scene to blow up in Fort Lauderdale," Bischof says. "But there isn't a whole lot of support. So I opened this space to give my fellow artists a chance to be seen."

Bischof's latest exhibit, "Before the Buff," showcases his own works -- stenciling being his specialty -- as well as the works of fellow stencilers Rick Jaremback and the four-man team of Gorilla Tactics, muralists Dekal and Legend, graffiti expressionists Oscar Moreno and Jimmy Krimmer, digital and 3-D works by Steve Joseph and Brian Sensebe, and the pen-and-ink stylings of Eric Favitta.

Of course, you can also see the work of Bischof and friends tagged and stenciled across alleys, benches, and garbage cans in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and West Palm Beach. That is, if they haven't been painted over already. Bischof has unofficially "retired" from stenciling, but still does impromptu "bombings," or small, quick stencils, when he can.

Graffiti artists and stencilers have had to become even stealthier as, in the last few months, the fuzz has come down especially hard on these public artists for creating their own urban anti-war exhibits. "I feel like we're living out Orwell's 1984," Bischof says of the heightened surveillance. "I mean, America is a democracy. Democracies vote. Why is it suddenly illegal to support peace and express yourself? I didn't vote for our country to go to war. Stencils originally started out as a form of protest, and that's what they should be. Since this war started, I've seen Bush and antiwar stencils everywhere, and there are more to come. Keep an eye out."

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Audra Schroeder
Contact: Audra Schroeder