Cardboard Africa Costume

I am a little embarrassed to expose my interest in graffiti. I had been making stencils with my dad and brother for about 5 years when I decided to make a stack of stencils that I could put together to spray up an entire continent of Africa. There are 47 countries in Africa, not including the islands São Tomé and Príncipe.

I scaled up a map of Africa to about 90 miles per inch, country by country. The Ivory Coast was about as big as a Zip disk. I cut the seperate stencils out and I was ready for action with just 4-5 colors of spray paint. I actually only used it a few times:

Halloween is a big deal in Isla Vista, the apartment wasteland next to U. C. Santa Barbara, and in 1990, I needed a costume. I aquired two large sheets of cardboard and spray-painted Africa onto one of them, country by country. I left Madagascar out. I cut out a hole for my face where Sudan meets the Central African Republic. I then cut the other sheet into a back panel, tied them together and squeezed into the Africa sandwich I had created.

Halloween in Isla Vista in not composed of small parties in houses, it is thousands of students and visitors, drinking and roaming the streets in costume. My friends and I did some drinking and a lot of wandering. The drunken masses liked Africa. People that thought that I was South America were quickly berated. One woman approached me from behind, saw my face and announced how surprised she was that I was "white as the driven snow".

The costume kind of took a beating that night, and I threw it out, but I still have all the stencils! E-mail me if you want a six-foot Africa on your wall or on a canvas.

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