Street Art: Tools Of The Trade Liquitex Professional Spray Paint

When I am working on new work, I always try and stretch my creative muscles by trying new techniques and using new tools. Since Shephard Fairey and Banksy have brought the forbidden art of graffiti mainstream, many art and craft supply stores have started carrying lines of professional spray paints and paint markers. I love using both in my work, and today I am going to start a review of some of the tools of the trade.

Liquitex has as many  color variations as you could imagine in your wildest ‘art’ dreams, glosses flats and a variety of sealers and additives to cleanup your work and add some texture. The Liquitex spray cans are cool with a cap around the neck indicating cooler and texture; as well as a easily interchangeable spray head that can be changed depending on desired thinkness and heaviness of paint. Do not be fooled though that this makes these paints at all like airbrushing, because it does not; another draw back for some would be the price: when your average spray paint is around $1.00-$6.00 for a 10-12 oz can Liquitex’s art spray paint is $11.00-$12.00. But I digress, more on this later!

Big Brother Loves Me by Daniel J Dunlop

Big Brother Loves Me by Daniel J Dunlop

To do a far comparison and keep that street art theme alive I will compare a couple spray paint brands that you might be a little more familiar with and which cost a lot less than Liquitex’s premiere line. I have used both Krylon and what I like to call ‘The Walmart Special,’ Color Place, to do some of my recent spray work. Krylon I do not recommend for any kind of ‘art project’, unless you like to use a water hose with an impossible to use nozzle to paint fine detail! Some of the spray paints that you can find at home improvement stores have all kinds of locks and safeties as if  they were guns and not cans of paint. These safeties make the cans hard, hard, hard to use. In addition to lock and safeties and key pads,  the spray nozzles on most Krylon paints have a heavy wide spray with little control. The ‘Walmart Special’ or Color Place on the other hand has a nice even controllable pattern and, guess what, no lock or safety! Having worked with several types of paint on the above piece “Big Brother Loves Me,”  I learned quite a bit about mixing different mediums together and making them compliment each other. However, some of the newer spray paints and markers do not compliment each other well.

Sharpie paint markers

Sharpie Paint markers are very useful and permanent, but a major downside is they do not mix well with other paints and tend to bleed into other paints even after dry.  Sharpie markers come in a variety of tips from fine to broad like a large brush stroke and paints such as enamel and oil. I chose oil and it works pretty well, but the tips tend to fall out of the pen and the paint often drips. The pens take about three minutes of shaking to mix correctly. My opinion is that it can be a cool tool but can also be extremely frustrating to use!

Justine Ashbee with her paint pen art

Some of my Cigar box art like Euro Villa and Aerial Views has incorporated sharpie oil pens to a small degree, here are a couple examples:

Euro villa Daniel J Dunlop

Euro villa Daniel J Dunlop

Daniel J Dunlop

Daniel J Dunlop

Liquitex makes paint markers and they seem to have a little more durability to them, but I have not used them myself.

I have tried Liquitex’s flat spray paints (pictured at top of page) and in my next post I will talk about those in some detail.

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