Have you ever had to say the words “¡Pinches chavalos cabrones!”? That was me yesterday. My car is in the shop, so I am on the metro–and you got to get up a little earlier. The bus waits for no man. As I was walking out of my house—my whole front retainer wall is tagged in HUGE letters including FU (spelled out). I run back inside to quickly paint it myself. I locate a full can of stucco paint and open it—I find that it’s dark purple (I need beige). Double urgh! Quickly I go on line and shoot a message to the city’s graffiti removal program. As I walked towards the bus stop, I see that my neighbors got it too.
As an artist, I know that it’s just a case of Summer Time Blues. Urban kids out of school for the summer looking for something to do. Marginalized from any age appropriate community spaces. Urban kids got it tough. It has been proven time after time that this amateurish scratching, marking, etching, spraying could be an artist taking baby steps.
My friend tells me that I can get a $1000 reward for catching the culprits. Last time I saw the kids doing this, I yelled “Why don’t you take an art class? You don’t even know how to do it right. It looks ugly!” That moratorium on tagging my street lasted a few years.
My point is that it’s summer—and while my working-mom co-workers (on the Westside) look for $3000 per child summer camps with art workshops for their kids—we on the Eastside do it better. For absolutely FREE there are on-going Saturday aerosol workshops for teens with professional aerosol artists at the little artspace that could—Self Help Graphics! There is no reason to scrawl out some ugly chicken scratch caca on my retainer wall! If it was a cool skilled bombing, I would probably let it stay on forever.
Get skilled this summer! Starting July 13 through August there will also be the SHG tradition of Soy Artista, a 6-week art program for those 14 to 18. This is also Free–however homemade acts of guisados and cold drinks in appreciation for the crew will not be turned away. (I once got a pair of shoes from a student—not my size, but it was a sweet gesture.) Again, these classes are being taught by highly skilled artists who will keep these budding artists engaged. Check out the Soy Artista line-up by going to the Self Help Graphics home page and clicking on Soy Artista in the left column. Sign up now with Joel Garcia for Saturday aerosol lessons and/or for the Soy Artista 2011 program.