Manual "Street Art as a tool for social messages"


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Manual "Street Art as a tool for social messages"

  1. 1. ManualStreet art as a tool forexpression
  2. 2. Introduction The manual on street art is an outcome of a youth exchange project Street art as a tool for telling social messages made within EU Youth in Action programme and taking place in Tukums county and Riga, Latvia, during August 4–13, 2012. In eight days of active work during the exchange young- sters discovered and discussed different types of street art and tried to use them in practice for expressing social messages. Insight into poster, grassroots comics, stencil, graffiti and sticker art was provided, as well as workshop on formulating messages has taken place. Youngsters participated and led their own workshops in Riga and in open air workshop festival Give&Get in Krape old manor park. On whole in the project there were 25 participants from five countries – Bulgaria, Latvia, Malta, Poland and Slovakia. The whole learning process was non-formal with a space for creativity. The living during the youth exchange was like in a commune with its creative ambience and with preparing everyday meals by participants themselves. The last played a substantial role for intercultural learning dimension – another goal of the project.As outcome of the project this handbook about street art as tool forcommunicating social issues is published. We offer here to have aninsight what we have done and how to do it in step-by-step guide, aswell as we have added extra visual information and hopeful tips. Also weencourage you to search for step-by-step guide videos online as ithelped us so much. Be creative! -3-
  3. 3. Street art as a tool for expression or Is there such a thing as street artLooking for an answer what is street art requires speaking about both art and street. That requires having a plentyof time and space. We may try to keep it reasonably short, almost bullet-point short.It may seem that we step in new topics too fast, but let’s take it as granted that art itself is a way to tell messages.It is a way of expression. However, sometimes there is art for art’s sake (lart pour lart – a principle formulatedby Theophile Gautier); sometimes – and more often so – art is a way in which to communicate some idea. Throughtimes the last purpose had had the dominant role, and nowadays more than ever art tells its stories and sharesdifferent meanings.With no will to step deep in postmodernism theory there can still be added that piece of art after its developmentor creation more likely lives its own independent life and acquires new meanings. Each new meaning actually is eachinterpretation – each very specific way how viewer interprets the particular piece of art.If art is a tool for telling social messages it is important that the signs (the message) are understandable andreadable for viewers. The success would be dependent on how well-considered the visual appearance of themessage is. Although art is open for diverse interpretations there are cases when misinterpreted visual units cangive distinct or even opposite message. Again it should be taken into consideration and decided by artist – whetherthe idea or form is more important in particular case.As stated before in the context of street art the form is what embodies visual appearance and it can consist ofimages, symbols, words or mix of these elements. Presumably images give the widest space for different interpreta-tions, while words have a potential to be better understandable (if chosen according to idea which desirably shouldbe communicated; choice of language understandable for viewers is also important). Symbols would fall in categoryin between as they tend to be unambiguous but different contexts or nuances can change their meaning and giveplace for new interpretations.So let’s leave art aside and have a look on what the street in context ofstreet art is. It definitely is an urban environment. Street in little villagewhere everyone knows each other doesn’t fit there, the aspect of strangepeople, many passers-by and alienation from most of people around isimportant. It is kind of widened notion of street as if it daily is only constantelement around; thus meaning familiar streets, buildings, infrastructure inopposition of familiar people. -4-
  4. 4. Tell the difference! New interpretation of Stop sign and some sticker art in Vienna, AustriaAlthough street art can appear in any space apart the street, too, and still be art – a tool for communicatingsome message; there are some important aspects missing for instance conditional anonymity of an artist,unexpectedness, wide and diverse audience. The last two aspects put in other words means that not the viewerchooses it, rather piece of street art chooses to be viewed in particular place and time (of course, initially it ischoice of an author, although later it is not one’s choice anymore – the unit of art is to stay). Street art is publicphenomenon; its appearance is common for everyone passing by, it is actually impossible just to go by it. Thatmeans that also message is communicated. Even if the idea is not perceived by viewer, message’s form morelikely would be noticed and the fact of some message given recognized. Contribution of many. Some slogan and a lot of random texts in Pristina, Kosovo -5-
  5. 5. Kind of inevitability of street art brings us to the next issue which is its legal status. Although lately street art isacknowledged in art world and even brought to art galleries, it is used as part or whole commercial campaign ofdifferent companies there are still many who would disagree. It is understandable as the quality of street artmatters and usually it appears on the street unpermitted. Although some municipalities sometimes assign someblock or buildings for street art it often doesn’t seem appropriate enough for an artist to express the message.It restricts the initial idea as what is around also matters, there can be too little audience or even some guidelinesgiven.The largest part of street art by most of people nowadays seems to be treated as vandalism though. Put togetherwith inevitability of happened fact of street art it raises a question what is more unacceptable for society: the formor the idea. Most of art in some way challenge one’s values and so does street art, but it is not viewers choice tohave their values challenged as street is public space. It is kind of art which is forced on, so it can be summed upthat street art sometimes display clash of public space and private values. Stencil drawing in Valmiera, LatviaOf course there are also street art with very little artistic value (form) and with no clear or with unimportantmessage (idea) behind it which is more a way to show off rather that communicate idea to audience. Howeverartists cannot be stereotyped in any way. Among people who create street art there are people who work in fieldof art daily, there are hooligans, losers and unattended youngsters and there are people who just have somethingto say and there is no way how to put them in some frames. Each one can create valuable and thought-out pieceof street art and usually the author remains anonymous to most of people who are actual audience. -6-
  6. 6. Different forms of Street Art Riga, LatviaIn the context of particular project we speak about street art as visual art, but for sure street art also can becombined media art; and it could be (and it is) discussed if performing arts also can be street art. Althoughopinions are divided, for sure visual art in urban setting is considered as street art including spray paint andmarker pen graffiti, stencils, posters (wheat-pasting), sticker art, wood-blocking, yarn bombing, mosaic tiling, aswell as street installations and video projections.Basically street art affects not only a viewer but also makes changes in setting, in urban landscape. Even thoughstreet art primary makes physical changes it also influences opinions of viewers.In this project street art is a tool for telling messages and source for inspiration, aid, something what attractsattention. We don’t really claim to create art; we even don’t demand street. The main aim is to tell what isimportant to us and street art is a tool which we use to fulfil this aim; and it may happen wherever we could findsomebody who hears and sees what we are about to express. Liene Rozenburga, project coordinator Beat Generation, Brno, Czech Republic -7-
  7. 7. StENCILSStencils are used quite a lot as street art technique. It maytake some time to prepare one, however technique allowsto be transformed easily thus making it exciting beginningin street art. Also one template can be used many times.For stencil preparation drawing skill is optional necessitybecause foremost patience and skill of visualisation of thefinal product is needed. However stencils also have manydifferent templates available online, so it can be printedand used adding just some original text to express the Stencils can be used as a part of interior design, asmessage. well as they are often sprayed on different walls and fences. Stencil can be easily used for t-shirt design or be sprayed on canvas bags and other Workshop textile surfaces.Time of workshop: 2 to 4 hours. Time depends of age and difficulty level of the stencil – text or drawing, original or borrow- ing, how many colours are planned, how many details.Materials: A4 papers Remember workshop participants may want to use Pencils glows and face masks for safety reasons when Permanent markers (different density) working with spray paint. OHP film or any other transparent plastic sheet Utility knife Working surface which cannot be destroyed by cutting (some thick cardboard also can be useful) Spray-paints Paper tape or duct tape Cardboard or plenty of old newspapers Plastic folder can be used instead of OHP film, just be sure plastic should be quite firm. Also cardboard is an option, but it will absorb paint, so it will not be durable for many paintings in a row. Stencil – Trash the TV! -8-
  8. 8. Step by step Step I - Create a message – what you want to say. We can’t capitalismdo anything to c all go sh crumbles. In th hange the world opping to e meantim until co e — Bank nsole ourselves. we should Bansky sy , Wall an d Piece Step II - Decide how you will transfer the message into stencil – would you use text only, could it be expressed using symbols, or mix of the later, is drawing necessary (as it makes process more difficult, nevertheless looks nice when done accurately). Try to sketch different options. Avenue Van Horne, Montreal, Canada By Domke in Germany www.streetartutopia.comStep III - Draw a final version of the stencil design in original size on A4 paper (or directly on cardboard if you donot use plastic). Remember that stencil needs connection points from different elements of image to rest of sheet orsimply remember that you cannot cut out just silhouettes. [For example, when you cut out letter “A” made the designthat the inner triangle shape connects with rest of sheet; if you have face in the image and you should cut out eyes,more likely you will cut out pupil and eyeball, and leave some connection of iris to the rest of the image.] Colour in theparts which will be cut out and remember that exactly these parts would be final spray painted image.Step IV - Put an OHP film or plastic on the drawing and using permanent marker redraw contours of parts whichshould be cut out.Step V - Take your time to cutout stencil using utility knife. Youtemplate should be finished afterthis step. -9-
  9. 9. Step VI - To spray paint the stencil be sure that template is close fitting to surface. You can use adhesive tapeto fix it.Step VII - You may need and want to cover the surrounding surface. Use the tape to stick covering newspapersor cardboards. Newspapers are getting wet soon, so do not reuse them for other stencils and use multiple layersof them.Step VIII - Remember to shake spray-paint can before using, spray it from a distance (usually around 20 cm)and press atomizer rather for several short periods than one long, as there would be too much of the paint otherwise.Too much paint will drain and bleed damaging the image. You can also practice spraying on some papers to feel howmuch you should press atomizer and how quick to move the can.Step IX - Carefully remove covers and stencil from the surface. You can do it as soon as you have finishedspraying.Step X - Leave the stencil to dry and do not put papers on it as the stencil is sticky. Use a plastic bag if you haveto carry it soon after. You can make stencil poster or stencil sticker as well. Just spray the stencil on paper or sticker label. You can use multiple colours to spray the stencil by layering paints. After one layer wait some time for first layer to dry (at least 10 minutes) and check it before spraying new layer. You can also combine stencils – pictures can be combined or some text added to the picture. - 10 -
  10. 10. Graffiti By Mau MauGood quality graffiti is very spectacular and beautiful, but it takes a lot of time of practice (and a lot ofspray), so graffiti can be challenging and pretty expensive. Some drawing skills are needed as well as practiceon spray drawings. They are usually sprayed on vertical surface which feels way more different from drawingin sketchbook.Graffiti also can be used in interior design as well as outdoors on different walls and fences.There are many different drawing techniques and all of them are graffiti. One can draw a picture, even veryrealistic one; others would prefer some text (usually up to three words) and there are endless possibilities inletter design. There are bubble like letters and sharp edgy letters, and everything in between.WorkshopTime of workshop: At least 5 hours. The time of drawing process depends on size of the group as graffiti may be a group project, interconnections between group members, previous skills and size of the drawing.Materials: A4 papers Pencils Eraser Remember workshop participants should use glows and Markers (different density) face masks for safety reasons when working with Colour pencils or markers spray paint. Spray-paints Different size atomizers The step-by-step guide is provided for text graffiti. However we encourage you to explore different kinds of graffiti online in advance. - 11 -
  11. 11. Step by stepStep I - Create a message –what you want to say. Step II - ecide how you will transfer the message into graffiti. Remember the graffiti text usually is short (up to three words), so the context and the placement of the graffiti may add some extra meaning, as well as sudden topicality of the issue. [For example, graffiti with text No to violence would have deeper meaning in a place where some assault recently would have happened.]. Consider the place where graffiti would be painted – space, surface, colours around. [If surface is uneven you may need to even it out in advance; also wooden surface would absorb colour quickly, so it is better to prepare it covering it with coat of non-absorbent varnish.] by Alexey MenschikovStep III - Make different sketches of the chosen text using different fonts. You can start the sketch withsimple letters and during sketching make them bolder (first you write, then you draw). Apply some specificstyle or create one. Vary the line thickness, add shadows, add dimension like details or any other elements.You will have to erase a lot during the sketching – it is part of the process.Step IV - When you have finished sketch, draw over the lineswith marker.Step V - If you want to be sure about your sketch you canmake a backup copy before adding colours. Just palace theempty A4 paper on the original and draw over the lines. Ingood lightning using regular paper lines must be visible.Step VI - Add colour to your design. Better use colourssimilar to spray-paint colours, thus it would be closer to reality.Also remember that often less is more and gradient colouringand layering may not be that easy in reality. - 12 -
  12. 12. Step VII - When you have finished the idea the work can start. On the prepared surface start with outliningthe sketch so that you will get sure that there will be enough space. For outlining it is better to use the lightestcolour from the ones you are going to have in the image and work with light hand. Remember to shakespray-paint can before using and spray it from a distance (usually around 20 to 25 cm). Make it as simpleas possible.Step VIII - If morepeople are workingon the image it istime to divide thespace and the tasks(in what area whatshould be painted). Revolutionary street art in TunisiaStep IX - Start recreating the sketch design on the surface. Change different atomizers for different areasas there are atomizers which would make it easier to cover large and plain areas and atomizers which wouldbe essential for finer details. Press atomizer for several shorter periods rather than one longer as therewould be too much of the paint otherwise. You can also practice spraying simply on some papers to feelhow much you should hold atomizer and how quick to move the can. Too much paint will drain and damagethe image. Do not layer on freshly applied paint. It is worth to practice on cardboard boxes or just to create the first graffiti on cardboard. Also the wall like structure can be built from the boxes as working on vertical surface is different and it is good to get used to it. You can combine graffiti with stencils or just prepare a background for the stencil drawing using spray-paints. Remember the base layer to dry before adding stencil. by David Zinn - 13 -
  13. 13. Stickers Stickers often organically interflow into city setting, however can be used for expressing thoughtful messages. Sticking is easy and quick which makes stickers perfect for distributing messages all around the town.Mostly stickers appear on electrical enclosures, gutters, traffic signs, posts as metallic surfaces are smoothenough. However some people like stickers on their notebooks, dairies, paper coffee cups, mobile phones,and laptops, as well as on other private items.Making sticker can be challenging as some computer skills may be needed, as well as graphic design applica-tion. The strength of the technique is the same reason – digital format allows printing and multiplyingstickers as much as wanted.Workshop Time of workshop: 1.5 to 3 hours. The time of sticker preparing process depends of chosen motif of the sticker and computer skills of the participant. Materials: A4 sticker paper Transparent adhesive paper Access to a computer with picture editing application (Adobe Photoshop, Paint, DeviantArt Muro, Splashup etc.) Access to a printer (the one with colour ink is preferable) Scissors Pencils Photo camera Step by step Step I - Create a message – what you want to say. Step II - Decide if sticker would be text only (would it be some slogan, pun or question, or something else and how it communicates the message), would the sticker include graphic shapes only or it would be based on drawing or photo editing. It defines next step. - 14 -
  14. 14. Step III–If you rely on text or simple graphic shapes you can start to design the sticker on computer. Consider whatthe text you are going to use. Be sure that the text font is readable and consider language – what languagesknow the target audience to which you approach. Use as little text as possible.–If you want to draw and feel better doing it by hand, you will need A4 paper, pencils and scanner. Make asketch of your sticker design. If you also add text it can be designed in sketch version or just typed oncomputer. Just be sure what text you want and be short. After finishing scan the sketch.–If you want photo based sticker you may need photo camera to take a photo yourself or you may needinternet to find appropriate picture online. Be specific how you want your sticker to look like and take onlyphoto you need. Make it clear how you want to edit it. Plain photo in sticker looks pale and obscure; perhapshigher contrast and brighter colours would be needed. Consider text you may want to add. Upload photo tocomputer. Step V - Copy picture to print moreStep IV - Edit sticker sketch on computer according to stickers at one time. Consider if you use fullyour idea. Feel free to play around a bit to see how it looks sheet label or sheet with multiple stickerthe best. Change brightness, contrast, colour depth, add labels. For later you may need to use textshadowing, try different fonts and backgrounds etc. editing programme (e. g. in MS Office Word Mailings/Labels) to place sticker image into the each label. Step VI - Save and print. Step VII - Cover the sticker sheet with transparent adhesive paper. It would make design more durable. Step VIII - Cut out the stickers. You can make stencil sticker also. Spray the motif on sticker paper and use it as a sticker. - 15 -
  15. 15. Wall poster comicsA bit less known but nevertheless interesting street art technique is grassroots comics or comics who aredistributed on streets as posters. Grassroots comics are special because they are made by people incommunity rather than by campaign or art professionals. The drawing skills are not important but themessage is! Grassroots comics not only allow distributing certain message but also involve local society inthe process of making them.The wall poster comic is a story which is toldvisually in four parts, so it is a compact format.WorkshopTime of workshop: 2 to 5 hours. The time of drawing process depends of age and involvement or partici- pants. Before drawing the posters, partici- pants should have knowledge about the topic posters will be made (like HIV/AIDS, recycling, intercultural dialogue etc.)Materials: A4 papers Pencils Pens (different density) access to a copying machineStep by step Step I - Create a message - what you want to say with your story! The message should be written in one sentence and should be specif- ic. Note that message is not the same as slogan. Step II - Create a story. Story should be four or five sentences long. Read the story to your fellow activists and ask their feedback. Note that story shouldn’t have too many characters and/or complicated action. - 16 -
  16. 16. Step III - Make a visual manuscript – draw small sketch how the comic will look, what will be in eachof for quadrant. Remember this should be a sketch only, there is no need to overwork the drawing. Never explain in the text what can be seen in the drawing. Use as little text as possible. Step IV - Final artwork process 1) Make your pencil sketch 2) Draw the outlines of your sketch with a thin-line pen 3) Erase all pencil marks from the drawing 4) Finish the drawing, add solid black, textures and detail As a trainer you don’t change the stories of participants but explain different techniques what can be used to show their story. - 17 -
  17. 17. Putting up wallposter comics in the community If you put up the wallposter in a dry area, you can tape them together from the back, and pin them on the wall. If you put up the wallposter on a wall outdoors it is better to paste the pieces directly to the wall. Drawing movement, sound and other effects music direction and motionslight hand movement Drawi ng exp ress ions pain in the thumb rolling movement speed lines - 18 -
  18. 18. The wallposter measurements The two parts should be glued together with a 0,5-1 cm overlap. This material had been prepared using manual “Grassroots comics – a develop- ment communication tool”. Authors Leif Packalen and Sharad Sharma. - 19 -
  19. 19. PARtnersYouth against AIDS (YAA), Latvia “Youth against AIDS” (YAA) is a non-governmental youth organization that involves young people, aged 15-30, as volunteers. The organization’s focus and primary long-term goals relate to the involvement of young people in work with their peers, educating them about HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and other issues which relate to one’s health and one’s lifestyle. YAA seeks to change lifestyles so as to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in our country.The organization is working since 1997, organising educational and informational activities such asworkshops in schools and youth centres, discussions, summer camps and street actions, as well asinformational activities in popular night clubs and festivals.YAA is sending, hosting and coordinating organization in EVS projects.International Youth Activity Centre-Bulgar-ia (IYAC Bulgaria), BulgariaIYAC Bulgaria is a non-governmental oranization set in Bulgaria. It wasestablieshed in the year 2009 by a group of students for the Universityfor National and World Economy in Sofia. Since then it has been expandingand now icludes more than 50 members, all of them young people, themajority of whom are students.One of their main activities is related to the “Youth in action” program. IYAC Bulgaria has taken part inmore than 2 hundred youth exchanges for the past two and a half years in more than 15 Europeancountries including UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Turkey etc. IYAC Bulgaria givesyoung Bulgarians, especially youngsters with social problems and financial difficulties, the chance to visitActive Youth (AY), Malta Organisation AY is a non-profit organisation, non-political and is run on voluntary basis based on the human resources of its members and on the support of other resourceful persons. AY Mission Statement – To enhance youth empowerment, social inclusion and the acceptance of cultural diversity through intercultural learning. To empower young people AY work through non formal education by creating a framework where young people will become aware of their skills and hidden talents. Then AY encourage young people to develop their ideas and initiatives into concrete projects. In fact in AY youth policy is “commitment through active participation” based on learning by doing. Most of the time organization adopt methods such as open door policy & open space technology. - 20 -
  20. 20. Mladiinfo Slovensko, Slovakia“Mladiinfo Slovensko” was established by ex-EVS volunteers in 2010 as the first branch of a MacedonianNGO Mladiinfo ( It is a non-profit organization supporting students and young peoplewith information about scholarships, internships, conferences and voluntary opportunities. All the informa-tion can be find on the web site and in the organization’s office in the student dormitoryin Bratislava. Students can find there all kind of useful information from different organizations and institu-tions. “Mladiinfo Slovensko” cooperate closely with international student’s organizations such as AEGEE,AIESEC, BEST, ESN, IAESTE, OIKOS, ŠP etc.Staromiejski Dom Kultury Twoim Domem,Poland Old Town Culture House does not aim at stunning ( but expensive!) events, but at positivist educational workshops, where apart from artistic, solid work, a participant is provided with huge dose of knowledge and skills. Mission of Old Town Culture House is visualized by our logo: drawing of brain placed in symbolic building. Old Town Culture House elaborated own work method based on harmonious coexistence of professional artists and amateur movement in various age groups. It leads to smooth transition of most talented amateurs to professionals.Despite significant artistic successes , Old Town Culture House is most proud with it’s educational work.Staromiejski Dom Kultury (Old Town Culture House) also organizes various cultural events like e.g. :Summer Scene, Korowod – Meetings With Early Dance, Poetic Manifestations, International Jazz Festivaletc. - 21 -
  21. 21. Youth exchange project “Street art as a tool for telling social messages” Šis projekts tika finansēts ar Eiropas Komisijas atbalstu. Šī publikācijaatspoguļo vienīgi autora uzskatus, un Komisijai nevar uzlikt atbildību par tajā ietvertās informācijas jebkuru iespējamo izlietojumu.