The first thoughts that comes when most people think of graffiti are “gangs” and “defacing property”, including me. I have seen many different pieces of graffiti art in the past and understand that a lot of them are great pieces of art. However, just the thought that many of these pieces are painted where are not supposed to be often make me lose interest. So when the professor told us that we would be doing graffiti art I was pretty skeptical. To my surprise, the experience turned out to be quite enjoyable and eye opening.
Before even starting the project, I of course needed to get my hands on some spray paint. My dad told me that we had some old spray paint in the garage that I could use. Once I got the paint however, I discovered that the caps had been sealed shut with dry paint. So what better thing to do than go to Wal-Mart and buy the cheapest paint (as shown above) possible right? Wrong. What I discovered (which I should have known already) after creating an outline of the letters was that the $0.94 Wal-Mart paint isn’t the best of quality and did not come out the best. As seen below, the first layer of paint was not very solid straight out of the can. Videos on the internet showed spray paint coming out in solid lines. Not this spray paint. The image on the right is what one layer of paint looks like. The left image is already 3 layers of paint.
Once I got the letters decently solid with the fill color I moved on to creating the outline. The black paint seemed to be coming out a lot better than the white allowing me to use less paint. Despite its seemingly stronger spray however, it didn’t seem to mix well with the white paint and started to create a weird glowing look. (pictured below on the right)
After letting it dry for a bit in hopes it would stop the bleeding (it did not), I finished off the letters, and added some random sprays of the two paints on the outside to give it a grittier look. The end product turned out better than I thought, and even made me consider trying it again with better spray paint someday. Overall I’d say it was an easy, fun, and cheap activity. The one thing that this activity did is made me appreciate how much work really goes into graffiti art even more. Sure this wasn’t that hard to accomplish, but it’s no where near the artistry of the professional artists out there on the streets.
I wouldn’t say that this activity has changed my feeling about people doing graffiti in general. I still don’t think its ok for people to paint whatever they want on property that isn’t theirs mostly on the principle of if I owned a building or wall, I wouldn’t want people painting on it without my permission either. I do believe however that there should be more places for artists to do graffiti art. It’s an often overlooked art that has the potential to bring out beautiful masterpieces just from a can of paint.