The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced that acclaimed San Jose, California-based artist and writer Scape Martinez will lead a four-day graffiti art education camp at its Eagle Butte campus from Tuesday, May 30 to Friday, June 2. Martinez will focus on “Can Control” and “Mural Creation Basics” during the hands-on, intensive mural and graffiti art camp, which is open to all teens. The event takes place prior to the popular RedCan Graffiti Jam which starts June 29th.
See our ICMN-related article - Graffiti Culture Meets Lakota Culture in South Dakota at the RedCan Graffiti Jam.
Scape Martinez told ICMN in an email that teaching techniques to Native youth continues to be an enriching and rewarding experience.
“I don't see it as me "teaching”... I share what I know, with youth who have an appetite to know, to absorb, and understand. In many ways, I learn as well. These are not your traditional art classes, we talk a lot and there is conversation. I want expression, not perfection and because they teach me, there are layers to this work and we uncover them.”
The camp will begin with the basic principles of can control and how to use it as a tool for personal expression. Martinez will teach blends, cuts, fades, outlines, stencils and more advanced can-control techniques, and the teens will have an opportunity to design a unique piece. The fourth day will be dedicated to a collaborative outdoor painting workshop in the nonprofit youth project’s innovative, public Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park.
Martinez first visited the youth project in September 2015 for a week of mural painting and youth arts education. One small boy traveled from Rapid City, two and a half hours each way by car, to see him. He came back in June 2016 for Martinez’s “Creativity is Contagious” camp; this will be his third visit.
“All of us are excited to welcome Scape back to CRYP,” said CRYP executive director Julie Garreau. “Not only did he lead an incredibly successful graffiti art camp for our teens last year, he will also be attending our third annual RedCan graffiti jam this summer as one of our featured artists. He’s an important part of our arts programming here.
“We’re grateful that we can provide our young people with opportunities to take their arts education and skills to the next level, especially in such a creative, dynamic environment,” she continued in the release.
Martinez says this workshop framework can give students an experience to weave native culture and graffiti culture together, facilitating the creation of “a new visual language while preserving the integrity of both.”
This idea is very much at the heart of the RedCan graffiti jam, says Garreau. “Graffiti culture resonates deeply with our young people in Indian country, and interestingly, it also has proven to be an effective way of strengthening their connection with their own Lakota culture through visual storytelling. We’re honored that Scape has chosen to be part of what we’re trying to do here, which is becoming a powerful arts movement.”
An accomplished multidisciplinary artist and best-selling writer who has been involved in the graffiti art scene since the 1980s, Martinez has written four books on creating graffiti-style urban art and frequently conducts workshops and lectures for teenagers, fellow artists and educators.
A video on YouTube demonstrating the art style of Scape Martinez
Martinez talked to ICMN about his connection to his indigeneity and the expression of his art form. “Throughout my life, I have wrestled with identity issues such as ‘Who am I? Or What am I? I have been told that I am ‘racially ambiguous.’ On paper, I am Puerto Rican, but what does that mean?” said Martinez. “There are three main bloodlines as a Puerto Rican, the Spanish, the African and the Taino, a subgroup of the Arawak peoples… I am uncovering truths about myself, my true self and who I am, really. This entire process is a beautiful thing for me.”
Scape Martinez is a best-selling author having written four books on creating graffiti-style urban art, including Graff: The Art and Technique of Graffiti, Graff 2: Next Level Graffiti Techniques, Graff: Color Workbook, and Colormaster. You can follow him on Twitter at @ScapeMartinez.
To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project, a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation and its programs, call (605) 964-8200 or visit www.lakotayouth.org.
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