“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” (Albert Einstein).
A totally different and arguably rebellious way to use imagination is through the creation of graffiti. Now i’m not advocating that you write, draw or paint on (or in any other way alter) the surface of public buildings / property. Instead, I thought I’d share my legitimate initiation into graffiti art through participation in a 2.5 hour, practical graffiti workshop.
Protected by a mask, goggles and pair of gloves, I chose a spray can from the wide range of colours sitting on the table top and started practising. For those of you who have never used a spray can to paint before, I can assure you that it is harder than it looks and it certainly takes getting used to! However, it is a fun albeit messy experience.
We were given several pieces of A4 sized thick card to work on and shown different techniques of using the spray can to achieve various effects. There were templates available which we had the option of using if we wished, as well as small objects to scratch into the paint to achieve a desired effect.
I don’t know if it was the fact that the art form gives connotations of rebellious expression, but I felt more “free” to play with ideas and express myself without any pressure to conform to “accepted norms” of what is considered “acceptable art”. It felt so different to art class at school where we had to draw the object in front of us and follow a list of rules. Painting graffiti is an immensely creative and liberating experience. I was able to search within myself and explore ideas. Indeed, as Claudia Lady Bird Johnson (First Lady of United States during presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson) said “Art is the window to man’s soul. Without it, he would never be able to see beyond his immediate world; nor could the world see the man within.”
During the workshop I managed to complete three pieces. I was disappointed to discover that my work has become slightly damaged (colour transfers, scratches, paint removal) through being moved around since I brought it home (during refurbishing). Nonetheless, I have (bravely) included it on this post!
Apart from the experience being a fun introduction to graffiti art, it also enabled me to realise that, like everyone else, I have something unique to contribute to whatever I do – that uniqueness is what makes “me” me. It has also given me the confidence to believe that even in cases where an activity is new to me there is a possibility that I may have something different to contribute. Furthermore, this experience reminded me that art is a great way to focus on something completely and forget about everyday problems. Indeed, as Thomas Merton (Writer, Catholic Priest / Trappist Monk, Social Activist and Supporter of Interfaith Understanding) said “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”.
The usual price for this workshop appears to be approximately £75, inclusive of all required materials. I had managed to purchase a discounted ticket through a group-buying site for £28 (after receiving £2 cashback) for a graffiti workshop at Graffik Gallery on Portobello Road, London W10 5TE ( http://grafikgallery.3dcartstores.com/Graffiti-Workshops_ep_56.html ).
Groupon recently had a deal for a graffiti workshop, although this appears to have now expired. However, in case you are interested please find below a link for Groupon and my favourite cashback site:
I hope you have found this post interesting and maybe it has inspired you to attend a graffiti workshop and/or have a go at creating (legitimate) graffiti or (if you are keen to be a one hit wonder) a graffito!
Forthcoming posts over next few weeks: Unusual experiences, socially beneficial experiences, a really happy story and of course several mystery posts…
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