A YOUTH graffiti jam takes place in Scariff this coming weekend, where young people from across the country with an interest in graffiti art will be invited to put the writing on the wall in preparation for an annual Young People’s Art exhibition.
The art exhibition is held each year and showcases young people’s art across a variety of media. This year, in advance of the exhibition, local artist Nathalie El Baba has organised a professional street artist to give a graffiti demonstration for young people interested in the art form.
The demonstration runs from 2pm until 6pm at the Riverpark in Scariff, next to the playground and young graffiti enthusiasts will be invited to create their own graffiti masterpiece.
Now in its fourth year, the youth art exhibition is open to young people across the country and is an opportunity to see what art forms young people are engaging with.
Speaking about the event, Nathalie explained her children are very interested in graffiti and she had mooted the idea of holding a graffiti jam with the Clare Arts Office and received funding to hold the event ahead of the exhibition. The demonstration will give young artists an opportunity to try it out for themselves on large boards and their work will then remain on display locally on Sunday.
Anyone choosing to use their graffiti pieces or develop them for the forthcoming exhibition in a month or two’s time can do so but they will be featured as photographs and they will be left up overnight so people can see them on the Sunday as well.
Nick Bromfield from Tuamgraney, who also goes by the name Zero 61, is a professional street artist and will give the graffiti demonstration on Saturday. Together with a friend of his, who is also involved in the graffiti scene, Nick organised the first international graffiti jam in Limerick in 2009 where Europe’s top two graffiti artists attended.
Speaking to The Clare Champion, Nick explained how he got involved with graffiti.
“I studied in the Limerick School of Art and Design, where I studied sculpture and combined media and making objects. A couple of young lads came in in first year, who were really interested in graffiti and so they set up a graffiti society and this was a year after I finished. I’ve always been interested in tattoos and that kind of artwork and there is a strong crossover between tattoo artwork and graffiti artwork in terms of its style and boldness. I got friendly with these guys and through another friend of mine, who was running a shop selling hip-hop clothing. Hip hop and graffiti go hand in hand as well,” he said.
Together they kick-started a graffiti scene. Nick’s friend started stocking graffiti cans in his shop and together, they got into graffiti in a big way.
“It was like a community of friends and people were helping each other out. It was never any trouble and it seemed to blossom. It’s a really popular contemporary art form. It’s easy to understand so what you see is what you get. It’s about looking at the piece and enjoying it or if you don’t like it, you don’t like it and that’s a response too. A lot of the contemporary art world now is based around conceptual art, whereby, in my opinion, you can do many things and then write a fancy paragraph about it, whereas graffiti is the opposite, it is what it is,” he said.
He explained the graffiti movement began with children growing up in inner cities with nothing but concrete around them.
“They got some colourful cans and decorated it and made it colourful and that was the beginning of it. It wasn’t about anything really other than getting rid of that horrible grey colour and from there it spread. Every country you go to has a different style and a different reason and a different neighbourhood. Every crew of people who paint have a different ethos as to why they do it,” he said.
Asked about the association of graffiti with anti-social behaviour, Nick said that is generally where it begins.
“It’s where everyone starts. It’s like when you are in class and you’re bored and you start scratching in the desk, then you get a bit of paint and you can do it on a wall and you can do it bigger.
“If someone is serious about graffiti that will only last so long, maybe up to a year because it’s boring and you see more seeing people doing better and bigger stuff. So you can’t illegally be doing big nice pieces because it will take you too long. If you want to get it seriously, they get into the art form or they don’t and they stop altogether,” he said.
“Fundamentally, the best thing about graffiti is that it’s open to everyone, you don’t need an arts degree,” Nick concluded.
The Youth Graffiti Jam will consist of an afternoon where young up-and-coming graffiti artists from the Clare area will come together to create artworks on provided boards in a public area.
Any young people interested in booking a space to create their own piece are asked to contact Nathalie on 087 6159466.
Saturday’s event is weather permitting and there will be some spray cans available for the youth artists aged 12 years and over, while markers will be provided for any younger children in attendance.