Nutcase Unframed 2015 Artist Tiago DeJerk, 35, sees his stencil-based art as one of the most ‘democratic’ of art forms.

“It was an extension of my drawing and painting,” Tiago said. “Before I really knew about stencils I was sewing shapes and textiles together to make a kind of template for images – pretty much the reverse of a stencil – and then the light bulb went off. Anybody can make something really cool, and it is reproducible.”

Tiago creates many of his stencils from good old cardboard. Graphic design is also clearly influential in his posters and murals, but he said creation of the stencil is where he feels his best imaginative artistic powers come into play. Born in Curitiba, Brazil, Tiago has been living and making art in Portland, Oregon.

“Pizza boxes are my favorite material of all,” he said. “And again it’s kind of a democratic material – around everywhere. If they only made gigantic pizzas – I’d buy them just for the boxes.”

A great portion of the work to create an image based on stencils is the design and execution of the stencils. When he’s working on stencils in his studio he generally listens to music – classical, electronic, and metal – and says he prefers ‘big compositions’ while working.

Over the years Tiago has built up a good collection of stencils, many with a bicycling theme, as he is immersed in the bicycle activist community and in events such as the bicycle Chariot Wars.

Unframed 2015

An early sketch of one of the design directions Tiago is working on for the 2015 Nutcase Unframed helmet.

Layering is also important in his images, which have a slightly rough and tumble quality and are infused with bold and bright colors. Sometimes big images can be made up of as many as 60 individual stencils.

Mural by Tiago DeJerk.

Mural by Tiago DeJerk.

For his helmet design for Unframed 2015, Tiago is still in the sketching phase of the design. He has no qualms about the art performances he will do at Interbike and Eurobike, however, as he’s had many years of teaching art to get over any nervousness, as well as performed as a clown.

“Once I was a clown – well, I’m really not afraid of people looking at me,” he said.

Tiago's helmet submission.

Tiago’s helmet submission.