Students contemplated the value of graffiti... social pros and cons etc. Graffiti analysis sheet. Tagging versus graffiti were discussed.
Students wrote a grant for the funding of the project. The grant was funded by a local organization.
Students brainstormed positive themes that might be appropriate for their desks
Students practiced some graffiti writing styles and sayings/themes.
Students drew drafts of their desk top ideas. They could work in pairs or individually. If in pairs they could do the desk-top and the back of the chair or... the seat of the chair. These were done on traditional school desks where the seat is attached. Three classes participated in creating about 30 desks. They did the actual desks that were in their room... creating some challenges of sitting... etc.
The desks all had that slick finish... making it almost impossible to properly prime the surface for paint. The desks were sanded with an electric sander... but this just barely roughed up the surface to hold the paint. The desks were vulnerable to scratching and marks etc. until they were finished with epoxy glaze.
Students painted a base coat color on the desk. We used latex house paint in light colors. Where seats and back were painted they were unscrewed and dismantled before working on them.
Students planned their design onto the desks. Pencils shows so much... Light drawing was encouraged... but not always the end result. Chalk also worked for the plan... but can be rubbed of quickly and needs to be covered in paper to protect it between periods.
Desks were painted in acrylic. We used tube acrylics. Bright colors were encouraged. Color mixing was not for several reasons: time, challenges of finding the right color next day if needed for repair etc. and the space. This was a regular classroom... no water, sink etc. Water was hauled in in buckets as needed. Protecting the desks between classes and days is challenging. Because the surface isn’t a great painting surface... the paint can be scratched off very easily. Classes not working on the project were encouraged to take notes using magazines... and to use extreme care. Stuff still happened.
Final details and outlining was added with permanent markers.
On Friday [several Fridays actually]... the room was covered with newspaper on the floor and the desks were leveled using textbooks wrapped in newspaper. This process is drippy and messy... and toxic... .so most of it was done by Paul after school. I helped with this as well. Epoxy Glaze was mixed. We used a ton of this... and it is the most expensive part of the project. It was spread evenly over the desks... and allowed to dry. Wooden spoons were used for the spreading. It drips a lot... And has a long hardening time which is why it was done on Fridays. Glazing the backs and the seats poses a problem since this stuff is very sticky... and it leaves a beaded rim under the desks and backs. Some of this can be removed if after a few hours... but that requires a lot of attending to. We sanded the drips on the underside of the desks but the backs can’t be done like that. The problem wasn’t really resolved. The drips encourage students picking at the desks when dry... .and even with a coat... this can pull up the surface.
At some point we tried using water based polyurethane for some of the desks... however it bleeds most markers.
The desks were rubbed with stainless steel wool pads when dry and cured. This was to prepare them for a second coat of epoxy.
A second coat was added the following week. We had some problems with this rippling on some of the desks and had to redo some of it. Why this happened is unclear. Maybe the breeze, the surface not being rough enough, doing too many desks at once, etc. This second coat was intended primarily to further protect the desks from students picking at them... and tagging. Note: This is a huge and messy, sticky process... in which the kids really can’t help much. It gets on your shoes... and clothes. It gets on your hands... gloves were used some of the time... but are constraining. A few times we had one or two student helpers. At times when this was done during class... the bulk of the students went and had class in a neighboring room. One adult supervised each group.
Students done began working on a book that they were creating about the project... including reflections about what they did and learned.
When everything was dry desks were reassembled.
The desks will remain in the classroom for future years.
Keith Haring, 1958-1990: Life for Art - Haring's original and instantly recognizable style, full of thick black lines, bold colors, and graffiti-inspired cartoon-like figures, won him the appreciation of both the art world and the general public; his work appeared simultaneously on T-shirts, gallery walls, and public murals. This book covers his short life.
Keith Haring - Closely based on Haring’s own concept for the monograph he wanted to publish before his untimely death, this volume represents more than a decade of research and contains a wealth of unpublished photographic and written material including drawings, studio photographs, and journal entries.
Keith Haring: I Wish I Didn't Have to Sleep - This is one book in the series "Adventures in Art" which is aimed at the young and the young at heart. It takes us on a voyage of discovery, exploring the world of art and showing us how to look at pictures in a relaxed, light-hearted way.
Graffiti World: Street Art from Five Continents - Nicholas Ganz (also known as Keinom, his pen name) is a graffiti artist who has traveled around the world to gather material for this book. He lives in Essen, Germany. Tristan Manco is a graphic artist and director of Bristol-based Tijuana Design. He is the author of Stencil Graffiti and Street Logos.
GRAFF: The Art & Technique of Graffiti - In this unprecedented book, master graffiti artist Scape Martinez shows how he does his thing, offering streetwise advice to help other writers" create maximum-impact, legally sanctioned work. Step by step, he lays out the philosophies and realities of the genre. Also see Graff 2