Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lesson idea: Digital Graffiti

Last year a student artist was commissioned by one of my colleagues to do a huge graffiti mural in the back of a classroom. It was a HUGE hit not just because it was very well done on the whole but because of the fact that it brought the idea of putting something very unorthodox and usually unwelcome in its natural state into the classroom as a front and center type of focus. Stiller, despite the fact that it is indeed graffiti-style art, the teacher made sure that the subject matter of scholarly and thought provoking by choosing the message to 1) be written in Latin and 2) nothing less than encouraging of his students to invest themselves in integrity of the cerebral sort.

Since the mural was made the rest of the student body cannot quite get enough of graffiti style art. The challenge with that? Well, there are many...

  1. It's a very specific style of artwork/art/design that is actually not all that easy to create by just anybody
  2. It is known to be very subversive in nature and the school I teach is very conservative in its values
  3. In order to do true graffiti work, I would have to provide the students with both spray paints and serious encouragement to paint surfaces that otherwise shouldn't be spray painted
I respect the student artist from whom they are drawing inspiration and I respect the artform itself.  I want to encourage their curiosities and also give them the ability to explore and create rather than discourage and criticize. Because of all of this, I wanted to give them an appropriate venue to create graffiti as they would like it and offer a different angle for the content of the message they were delivering. 

We had a small discussion about visual communication and how to most effectively do it and also looked at examples of graffiti that was more positive in its message rather than negative and offensive. We also discussed the use of typography as an art and they had the opportunity of looking at and installing stylized fonts onto their computer stations in order to implement them into their work. I directed them to use the site as it has a great archive of stylized and decorative fonts specifically for personal use.  

Their assignment was to render digital graffiti so that it was photographic and realistic in nature while also communicating a profound and uplifting message. Here are some of the ones that I feel like have best adhered to the assignment.

The students completed a tutorial from their textbook (that instructed them on how to apply graphics to textured surfaces) before doing these personal pieces but they've already learned a great deal about how to use and manipulate design layers, blending modes, and transforming tools in order to assist them in achieving realistic and high quality work.

1 comment:

  1. just linked this article on my Facebook account. it’s a very interesting article for all.

    AIR Graffiti


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