Students designed and sprayed their own graffiti ‘tags’ during a session with a professional artist. The Year 9s had previously studied how visual media conveys messages and, in particular, they had looked at the work of street artist Banksy. For their latest project they spent hours working with Leon Henderson who helped them make their own graffiti ‘tags’ or personalised names.
The students drew and refined their designs on paper first before transferring them to board and inking them using MTN 94 low-pressure aerosol paint. Adam McFadyen said ‘The letters have to be quite close together and colourful’ while Lewis Gaziano designed a tag reading Blaze ‘because it sounds happy and energetic.’
Teacher Mrs Brown said: ‘We have looked at how non-verbal messages are conveyed. Previous projects have included defacing art in a controlled way and the students have done some really good designs and have presented those in a speaking assessment. We are also going to complete a written piece on freedom of expression, look at the impact of film posters and watch The Freedom Writers.’
Librarian Mrs Adams has also created a graffiti-inspired display of books and resources that is proving popular. She said: 'I had a couple of copies of Wall and Piece about Banksy's art and a couple of general books on graffiti and street art, but the reserve list for Wall and Piece never seemed to go down! I decided that if I got some more books on the subject and promoted them in a display then it would prove popular. The students are interested because graffiti as such, is illegal but the artwork featured in the books is fabulous. To use an apt metaphor it encourages debate about where the line between graffiti and art should be drawn!'
Leon has been a graffiti artist for the past five years. He said: ‘I got into it from watching other guys. I knew a lot of graffiti artists and have always been into art so I picked up a spray can and practised, practised, practised. The students have been getting on really well and I have loved working with them.
'The secret of good graffiti is just being original, being different, not trying to copy anyone else and come out with something that represents you and making sure you get it right before you even attempt to put anything on a wall. The best graffiti artists out there are amazing at just putting stuff on paper and hardly spend any time putting anything down permanently. It is about getting your edges right and making sure that whatever you are doing is unique to you.’