A guest blog post by artist JT Daniels
Recently, ArtsKC and LiveKC, allowed me to share my gift of creativity with over 45 individuals. After opening up a bit and telling everyone about my background as an artist, what sort of influences have helped to cultivate my current artistic voice and what I’m currently doing to positively affect the city around me, we began to mingle and get started on the project. Initially, the group was split in twain, where one half would begin to work on a large 8ft x 8ft collaborative mural and the remaining individuals would work on a separate activity before switching projects.
I had a blast giving a brief explanation of what abstract art is and how, during the spray painting and stencil project, that everyone would initially be using the same stencils and colors, but ultimately would be leaving with individually created masterpieces of their own design. A few members of the group that morning had previously attended painting classes or B.Y.O.B art parties, where they notoriously drink and mingle as everyone paints the same image step by step. While this is something that’s become a growing trend, I prefer teaching people the basics and then stepping aside as they begin experimenting with the new materials.
Removing the pre set “paint-by-numbers” mentality created a really rich, artistic, experimental environment. Everyone, after viewing my quick tutorial on how to use a spray can and how to create various designs using the same stencils, seemed to dive right into working. The whole purpose of the stencil/spray paint project was for them to be given the materials and to be shown ways in which they could be used, but to leave it to the individual to decide what would be used when, where, why and how during the project.
The mural itself was laid on the floor, allowing for the other group of people to crowd together and lay down as they worked with paint markers, brushes and tried interpreting my drawing. The initial design was applied in pencil and then printed copies of the concept were passed out for people to get a feel of what to put where. After everyone began to work, the design I created began to change as everyone added in their personal touches or stylistic changes bit by bit. Faces were added here. Star bursts there. Word bubbles, tattoos, eye patches, glowing letters, cross hatch marks and red x’s turned up all over the work, changing it from something I created into something that was truly fashioned by a large art collective.
The KC design was created to reflect both the ArtsKC & LIVEKC logos, while also drawing attention to “Arts Unleashed”, which aligns itself perfectly with the idea that our city is actually made up of all the visible and invisible characters in our city. KC is a living, breathing place…which is why KC is completely comprised of characters, faces, words, quotes, ideas and landmarks.