I like to end the semester of painting lessons with a quick two day spray painting project. After all Miami is all about spray paint. It must be the influence of Latin America and specifically, the Mexico City artists. They are the ones to initially spread the techniques of many sidewalk artists working in large cities today. Unfortunately, with a large group of kids and all of them working fast, I did not get to take pictures of them at work or their images before they took them home with them.
Here are a few though:
1. Scare the bejesus out of them by talking about lung damage and permanent respiratory issues, so they all come quickly to terms with using a mask and a bandanna.
2. Have them watch a couple videos of how-to for beginners. we look at space scenes and also, being in Miami, sunsets over the ocean scenes with palm trees, etc. I have seen the videos so often that I stop them quickly and re-enforce their attention to the techniques.
3. Conspiratorially congratulate them on being privileged enough and mature enough to be able to use spray paint in school, and make them sign the honor code with added paragraph about not spraying school property, persons, or the natural environment outside their picture plane.
4. We go outside where I have drop cloths ready and, before they don gloves and grab paper and cans, I have them notice which direction the breeze is blowing. Get in positions away from their neighbors blowing spray.
5. I put my mask on and watch them play. Encourage them to use more tricks and do further.
6. Clean up. I have the students leave the paintings in an outdoor drying rack so that they continue to off gas safely outside my classroom. Usually they are dry in an hour.