Local Artist, Entrepreneur and fellow Push Pull Print artist Linda Guenste asked me a few months back if I would be interested in doing a project with her. Linda, in addition to being an artist, owns and operates a clothing company with her son Ezra called KNOW GRAFFITI DESIGN. The company (currently) features the artworks from a few different artists in the form of paintings and t-shirts. Her idea for the new project – let’s take our talents and teach children to “KNOW” Graffiti, by saying “NO” Graffiti. We want you to be creative and express yourselves and send the message you have out to the world, but we want you to do it in a way that is not contradictory to local laws. A good start might just be to wear and share your message. Where else would we start sending the message? Let’s commence with inner city children. Children exposed to graffiti a lot more than we are in a suburb of Philadelphia.
This past Tuesday Linda and I, along with Push Pull Print artists Doreen Crockett and Jonathan Hertzel visited Windmill Day School and Camp in Doylestown, PA. Windmill families and families from the local area are hosting Fresh Air Fund Children this week:
“Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund has been giving inner-city children the joy of a summer vacation with volunteer host families and at Fresh Air Fund camps, creating unforgettable memories and fresh possibilities.”
(for more info on the FAF: http://www.freshair.org/)
I’m excited to announce that we had 13 children in all and half of them were from The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and surrounding areas in New York City. We shared with them our art and passion for expression. We shared samples of murals and explained the difference between murals and graffiti. We also explained what a screenprint is and how t-shirts get mass produced through this process. I had prepared a screen for the day and all the kids got to print their own shirt and then “graffiti” on it with markers, paint brushes and “spray paint” (water downed acrylics in squirt bottles).
My favorite part was seeing their eyes and mouths open when we lifted the screen after the pulling of the squeegee. It was like magic to them. We all had a great time.
This is something Linda and I will be continuing to do as time and resources become available to us. If you would like to volunteer and help us out let us know. Or if you know of any groups in need of this message….let us know and we’ll see what we can do. To share your support and stay up to date consider my mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org or like the push pull print group on facebook: www.facebook.com/pushpullprint