AwethuArt’s first Graffiti Day was a life-changing experience. People of all ages and backgrounds, who had never held a graffiti can before in their lives met for the first time and by the end of the day had completed their very own mural.
5 Dec 2015 was a scorching hot Saturday morning and outside the Gladiator Action Cricket venue our budding artists arrived to see a 10m x 3m wall in a fresh coat of white paint ready for them to try their hands at graffiti. The venue, in the heart of Newtown, one of Johannesburg’s graffiti hubs was perfect for the day we had planned. It began immediately with the early arrivers getting a can of spray paint in their hand and being asked to tag the wall with their graffiti names. To get the sense of just how difficult it is to get the straight lines you had imagined onto the wall was a shock to many but made them appreciate what was to follow even more.
Once everyone had arrived they were shown into the venue where Cale Waddacor gave a brief presentation that spanned from the history of graffiti, terminology used in the graffiti world and some examples of different graffiti styles from his favourite artists. Cale had just launched a book on Graffiti in South Africa that was the culmination of many years of photographing graffiti in the country through the website and blog he runs.
Following the presentation we went on a tour of Newtown’s graffiti scene. Cale was able to provide context to the pieces we saw along the way. He pointed out techniques, tags, crew names and localised the knowledge that had been shared during his presentation.
It was then time for lunch. While we ate we made stencils and sketched ideas for the mural that we then went out to spray on the wall, leaving our mark on the city for a while but keeping the memories to last a lifetime.