Thursday, 18 September 2014

Lemonpop Summer Workshops : Customise Ur Life Through Creative Arts at The Zone

Ghostdavandal Originals presents 
Lemonpop Summer Workshops : Customise Ur Life Through Creative Arts
Date: 4th August & 6th August 2014
The Zone, Bracknell Forest

By Ghostdavandal Originals Ltd

This year we introduced and launched our Lemonpop Summer Workshops : Customise Ur Life Through Creative Arts at The Zone in Great Hollands Square, Bracknell in conjunction with Flip The Script and Bracknell Forest Youth Services.  Our mini adventure began when we arrived at Great Hollands Square and were welcomed by Garrick and Debbie who run the Youth Centre, which is situated in a shopping complex that seems to be the hub of the community. Our first assignment was on a bright sunny and hot day, so the conditions were perfect for a street art slash customisation workshop.
The centre has 5 display boards situated on a wall that faces the car park to the whole shopping centre, so it was evident on arrival that a youth club resides here. We were there for a two day workshop, engaging with the young people that attend The Zone youth club, to learn transformational life skills through Customisation and StreetArt by planning and painting the outside boards of the youth club to inspire the community.

Day One began with introductions and getting to know the young people, we kicked off the day with activities aimed at exploring Streetart and gaining an understanding on how much the young people understood about customisation and Streetart. Some had experience in using sprays and some that had never used sprays were curious but most were aware of what graffiti is and the implications and consequences of practising it in public places.  This exploration stage allows young people to identify their interest as a source of inspiration and as a resource of ideas. This stage encourages young people to recognise their interests and focus on them by expanding their meanings and symbolising it through visual representation. This stage is all about knowing yourself and finding yourself by listing ideas about yourself and simplifying them to be developed into designs and patterns. 

Once the young people began exercising their options, they immediately loosened up and began firing ideas away. Their ideas that came from their personal interests and within their peer groups, which ranged from popular computer games to favourite pastimes such as scooter and skate activities, even ideas around popular music groups and fashion icons.  The most interesting ideas came from their association to The Zone, ie what their favourite activities are at the club and what it means to them as a young people. Some had a theme and wanted to express their feelings or show what they are doing as part of the community. In one instance a young person was raising money and awareness for the club by getting all her hair cut off in aid of charity, so we dedicated a board to her! What a way to raise awareness!

The young people were split into equal groups that matched the number of boards and were required to create
designs that represented their group or the youth club. Before allocating boards to groups, they had to come up with initial designs that they proposed to paint, either to receive approval from staff on their design or to get assistance in designing.  Once the young people had created their designs and had them approved, they were allocated a board which they had to prep up before commencing with any painting. The boards had never been treated since they had been painted a couple years before so needed to sanded down first. After sanding the boards down, we masked the wall area that we didn't want paint on with newspaper and masking tape then applied background colours using spray cans.  This was the young peoples first opportunity to use spray paints and learn methods of how to apply it in a controlled manner. The young people seemed to enjoy this stage as they created some colourful boards that already looked amazing and seemed complete but also showed their enthusiasm to the activity. 

Day two at The Zone started off a lot quicker and this time we had our super awesome assistant Rajan Mahoon to make sure that we were fully prepared for the day and that operations ran smoothly according to the session plan. The day kicked off with a recap of the previous days activities and a discussion over the learnings, improvements and on how to move forward. This interested some of the young people and after evaluating their work decided to go back a couple steps and redesigned their proposed images. Using the processes, techniques and methods they learnt on the previous day, the young people continued with their allocated boards and soon began creating their very colourful designs onto the boards. This process required some concentration from the young people to complete their images and have enough time to evaluate and make changes. Young people were reminded to evaluate and critic their work as they painted their images as a way to stay on track and this was done by constantly taking steps back to review their images and to make necessary changes as they went along with the activity.

After a series of decision making and adjustments through step by step help from staff and our team (including our assistant Rajan, who had never spray painted before but seemed to enjoy experience), the boards began to resemble familiar images and look quite colourful, their images were already starting to look more like the finished product. By the end of the day, everyone was exhausted from participating in the activities, some young people had finished their boards and some where applying final touches to their artwork and some where admiring their work including what their friends had produced. During the activities the young people were so consumed in painting that they didn't have chance to admire and critic each other's work so afterwards we all critic-ed each other's boards and had an opportunity to discuss each other's creations, what they could have improved and how to apply what they learnt in the last couple of days.  
After evaluation and discussing what they had learnt in the last couple days, the young people reflected on the planning process as the initial stage in customisation,the young people also  understood that preparation is important in having the right conditions, materials and methods to execute or create their ideas and that these are part and parts of a process guaranteed to produce favourable results that are personal to them and if the stages are followed through could produce some original pieces of work that they are proud of producing.

Special thanks to Garrick and Debbie from The Zone Youth Centre in Great Hollands Square, Bracknell, to Dee Albert from Flip The Script and Liz Hassock from Bracknell Forrest Council and to the Ghostdavandal Originals Team, Rajan Mahoon, Aman Mahoon and Marvin Hagglar.


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