Week 5 – Activity – Graffiti Drawing

What’s interesting about spray paint is that it allows you to pretty much make anything your canvas. When we think of painting, we traditionally think of a paint brush applying paint on to a fabric. However, we have discovered different ways to apply the paint and in different textures and styles. With a paint can, we can easily apply paint on to surfaces such as a building. Often, we will call paint that is on buildings graffiti, however I feel like the word had become misconstrued. Many people immediately associate graffiti with gang affiliation, which often strips the painting of its artistic qualities. We get so caught up in how a tagged building irritates our sense of following the law that we ignore that it is a form of art. For the graffiti where it isn’t just simply tagging for a gang, they usually have message and a theme just like normal paintings on cloth canvas. I guess most of the controversy comes from the fact that when someone paints on the side of a building, everyone who walks past it has to see it, whether they want to or not. You have to make a conscious effort to not see a giant mural of graffiti on the side of a building.

For this project, it was interesting to put myself in the shoes of someone who is “tagging.” Granted that it was a piece of cardboard versus property that I didn’t own, it was still insightful to try it out. For my tag, I used two spray paint cans that my sister already had. Without the nozzles, it was going to be more difficult, but I saw it as a challenge that will be fun to overcome. For sketching and applying the paint, the biggest thing I had to get over was being caught up in seeking perfection and thinking too much. When I let my mind flow loose, everything came to me easily. The sketch looked so much better when I stopped caring as much. After sketching my girlfriend and I moved out to my front yard to paint since I have dogs so I can’t use the backyard and since in the garage the smell would have been terrible. For applying the paint, I had my girlfriend and I switched as we did each letter. We were having fun at this point since we realized the fun came from not caring. With the spray paint in our hands and the cardboard as our canvas, we felt like we had a connection with other spray painters. I don’t know what it is, but the feeling of spraying the paint feels so cathartic. Our emotions just flowed from our hands into the can and then on to the paper. We left feeling a lot better than we had in the first place. Now finished and feeling great, we went off to study for our tests for the week.

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