Saturday, December 8, 2012

Graffiti Lesson pt.1

This was an example I did on the board during a lesson I gave to 4 classes of 8th graders. It was basically a very straightforward beginner's lesson on how to draw a graffiti tag. (A 'tag' for the uninitiated is just your general graffiti subject. It's just your name, or nickname, or whatever people call you or whatever you want to be called. There are few rules with it).

Now, one of the things we've learned in art ed school to draw the students into the lesson is to let them bring their lives into the work somehow. It doesn't have to be their personal lives per se, but something meaningful to them. In the case of graffiti, many art ed students would probably use Banksy as an example and attempt the students to put some sort of socio-political message in their work. (Banksy more or less uses and editorial illustration methodology and stencils for speed. Anyway, he's popular among college students).

The sentiment in this work is perfect for the inner city kids I was teaching, but the perspective is not something they could really appreciate I think. Honestly, I think it would just bum me out to see something like this if I were them. 

So for my lesson I just had them come up with a tag. They're already really interested in graffiti. It's a part of their daily visual life. And I presented it as a 'logo' for themselves as individuals. Middle schoolers are already becoming familiar with commercial brands. They're a frequent topic of conversation.

If they were high school students I might have actually included Banksy in the lesson rather than random 'taggers'. (I was also working within the text lessons the mentor teacher had been doing). The lesson went pretty well, and I think it drew enough from their daily lives for them to learn something from it. 


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