Friday, 23 July 2021

Children taught how to do graffiti art

GRAFFITI artwork produced by children in Sonning Common will feature at this year’s Henley Festival.

GRAFFITI artwork produced by children in Sonning Common will feature at this year’s Henley Festival.

About 20 pupils from Chiltern Edge School and Bishopswood School have been taking part in a series of five workshops and their final canvas will be displayed at next month’s event.

They are working with Gab Terreri and Jem James, professional urban artists from the London West Bank Gallery, to produce a 20ft by 3ft “wall” of graffiti art at Chiltern Edge.

During the sessions the children have also learned about spray painting techniques, including outlining, shades, fades, shadows, flops and throw-ups.

The children were asked to brainstorm ideas of what is important to them as a community and they came up with a theme called “Escape the Edge”.

Those words will be the centrepiece of the artwork, which will also include a combined design of the two schools’ emblems.

Mr James said: “They wanted to do something progressive related to their school but also tongue-in-cheek. Their thinking was that you escape school with a qualification to do better things.”

The pupils were given a blank canvas, which will be their “wall”, and were taught how to design it with a graffiti effect.

They learned can and pressure control using different nozzles, as well as “tagging” techniques and how to build lettering and fonts.

Mr James said the designs they produced related to the countryside setting in which the school is based.

He added: “It’s a good opportunity for them to see their work in an exhibition. We’ve shown them how they can be creative with spray cans rather than just vandalism.

“The school has been really supportive because they wanted the pupils to learn it in a safe environment rather than out on the street.

“The kids loved spray painting. The best thing about it is they’ve been coming up asking us what they can do at home, where they can do it and where to buy paint.

“They’ve asked us about safety tips, which shows they want to do it properly.”

Sue Leavett, an art teacher at Chiltern Edge, said the pupils had worked as a team in producing the canvas.

She said: “It’s something we can’t do in a classroom so it’s a marvellous addition to the curriculum.

“It’s a new medium for them and it’s ideal they’ve been able to learn from practising professionals.

“They have also been working on a larger scale than they are used to in school and it’s exciting they will have an audience at the end of it.”

The artists are also working with a spinal injuries unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and two other colleges in Reading and Aylesbury to create three other “walls”.

The four canvases will be presented at a special event at the hospital on June 26 and will feature together at the festival, which runs between July 10 and 14, alongside original Banksy work exhibited by the gallery.

More News:

POLL: Have your say