*Graffiti comes from the word graffio, which means “a scratch” in Italian
Last night I attended the first of a 2-session evening course, Introduction to Graffiti Art, taught by Rajan Sedalia. As you can tell by his website, Sedalia is a unique artist with a powerful message. His 2 hour class felt like 5 minutes because it was so captivating.
Sedalia shared a brief and interesting history of graffiti art, which originated in the 1960s in Philadelphia and New York City. As a class, we brainstormed ideas of why someone would want to create graffiti. Our answers included the fact that it’s an expressive, freeing art form that allows the artist to say, “I exist.” It can be blissful. It’s a way to claim “turf” or an attempt to obtain some level of fame. It’s accessible by all. It’s seen by all.
Next, Sedalia continued to tell us about the evolution of supplies from do-it-yourself to a full-blown industry. Artists used to use rags and make their own colors in old deodorant bottles. Now, there are multiple companies producing different brands, qualities, and styles. There are even eco-friendly products, pictured below:
Paint made from harvested sugar cane rather than petroleum.
Sedalia’s class was like an exciting, one-man show and tell. He passed around various paint bottles and other tools used for graffiti art, like this ink and container combination below:
As he taught us about the supplies, he shared a thought that struck a chord with me:
“I think the more tools you have, the less you use this tool” (points to head).
I agree with him. The more I fuss over tons of art supplies, the less I listen to my imagination.
Anyways, he also taught us different graffiti font styles. He demonstrated them on the board. It was fun to watch him write because he drew fun doodles in 2 seconds that made the board exciting:
Spot the "Roller"
Photos by Haley Moen
We had time to practice the graffiti fonts with oil pastels, crayons and paper. Before we did, Sedalia instructed us to stand up and rotate our arms to loosen up our shoulders. As we quickly learned, graffiti art is a full-body physical effort that requires you to be loose yet completely under control of each movement.
The class was a great group of people and everyone seemed super into it. I can’t wait for next week!
Photo by Sarah Hodzic
What do you think about graffiti as an art form? Whether you have a full-formed opinion about it or not, it’s always interesting to read what others think. Here’s an interesting article that includes an interview of a Boston University College of Fine Arts painting professor, who shares his thoughts on graffiti.
Check back next week for an overview of the second and last graffiti class!
-Haley Moen, Summer 2016 Studio Arts Intern