I know, the first thing everyone, and my students included, think about when hear the word "Graffiti is the scrawling we see on the sides of train cars and under bridges. But that's not where I was going with this. The fact is that the very principles of graffiti art you see in these places are the same as those used in "graphic Arts". Plus the fact that some artist have actually became well known because of the awesome "graffiti art" they did.
I used two classes for this subject. In the first class, explaining the principles of graffiti art. The ineradicable creativity involved as you are actually creating a new font with every new piece one makes.
I explained technique, style, fonts and the embellishments one can add to help guide the eyes etc. through the work. I illustrated several kinds of fonts like "balloon" or "cloudy" types or block lettering. Also the 3D affect etc. I used PowerPoint to help illustrate and show good graffiti art. The first class was mostly about these basic ideas and techniques. I emphasized the ineradicable creativity which could be involved. The rest of the first class was mostly spent students trying to decide what to do. What word or phrase to actually put on paper.
The second class had to do with continuing and finishing the work begun in the first class. What I did do here was take the time to explain the connection with "graphic arts." I decided I'd make up a poster to illustrate this connection. What fell into my lap was the fact that, unknown to me, it was actually "Twins Day" on that very day at the school. All twins were celebrated. Then, if you were not a twin, you could team up with a friend and and come to school looking like twins by dressing alike, doing hair styles alike etc. It was fun day. The remarkable thing was the principle dressed like one of the guys, what a riot that was.
Anyways, back to the poster. I spoke to the class pretending the principle had asked us us to make a poster a week in advance to advertise this event to the school. This had not actually happened so it was a new idea to the students. So, then I went through the process, like any artist would, of how to plan the whole poster from the ground up. The general design, the images and finally the heading "Twins Day" and how we would need to do graffiti art to make up an interesting creative headline design for this poster.
Now you know, I just went with it, building up my ideas and design on the white-board...asking, discussing, and creating with the group, drawing out the whole poster on the white-board as you see in the photo of my work to the right. The top is the graffiti heading, with the two head and shoulder images of twins. Then the body, including date, time and details. At the bottom are rectangles of photos taken the year before to illustrate the fun.
Then I went to the far end of the room, pretending I was walking into the school one morning after the poster had been put up. I explained how I could make out the fantastic creative heading from that distance and how it made me want to come closer to read the details and see the pictures. Then how this poster convinced me to get a friend to be a twin with me for this special day. Had quite a bit of fun acting out the scenario of how "graphic arts" can affect a person to make decisions to get involved with what is being advertised and why!
I don't think they will forget that class for a while.