My family and I recently experienced a presentation from the graffiti artist Man One at a branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. We know and love his work from the illustrations he created for the award-winning picture book Chef Roy and the Street Food Remix by June Jo Lee and Jacqueline Briggs Martin.
It was an awesome surprise to see my friend Carrie, the librarian who hosted Man One’s event. Carrie subbed for me while I was on maternity leave. I hadn’t seen her in several years!
A cool aspect of this event was the age range of the crowd – people were from childhood to retirement-hood. And Man One’s style during his presentation gave everyone the chance to freely interact and ask questions/make comments, which I appreciated because I feel very clueless about art. For example, a gentleman asked about proportion, and how Man One creates this in some of his larger pieces. Man One explained he often uses projectors to display an outline.
Man One took us through his evolution of graffiti art in his life. It seemed such a cool mix of street art at its start, to his journey through art studies at LMU, and all rooted in Los Angeles. One of the things that really blew my mind was the diversity of his work – Man One’s designs were so varied and detailed, I’ve got so much respect for (and am in awe of) his abilities as an artist. He showed us images he has created for community projects, businesses, and personal commissions. His mind contains endless ideas, and he explained the freedom to create, with some projects being wide open and others having loose structure.
Get to Work
Next, Man One gave us materials to create our own pieces, starting with inking our names. My sons chose names from the monster truck toys they brought with them – Power House and Flash. They put on their gloves, opened up the Sharpies and got to work:
Inking his tag name.
Spray It, Don’t Say It
Power House’s favorite part of the day was getting to use spray paint cans to ink our names together on canvas. We learned about the nuances of choosing different cap sizes to control the size of the spray, depending on what you’re going for.
Power House spraying his tag name.
A look at the community piece.
This was an engaging and interactive art presentation, and I definitely learned so much more about the street art process of graffiti art from Man One. I loved that he gave us an opportunity to create some art that we might not otherwise have been able to make. I’m excited to look for more creations from Man One and I really hope he creates additional picture books for children. Thank you, Man One!
I haven’t written in this space for awhile, and have planted a crop of new writing goals for myself this year. Having recently submitted two manuscripts for the 12×12 Challenge, and just coming from the LA Writers Day 2018 with SCBWI (and had a manuscript reviewed by their faculty), I’m in the right frame of mind (get it? above ^^^) to get some work published this year. More posts to come as I document this journey in 2018!
During summer, I am working with other dedicated educators to select anchor books our school community will read throughout the upcoming school year. What is the best way to choose books that can have impact on students both personally as a reflection of their identity, and also as a broadening aspect to widen their worldview? Last year, a highlight for me was our experience with the book Meet Polkadot (Danger Dot, 2016). We read it school-wide as an ebook, which was all I could find at the time. The physical book recently came in, and I feel it is even better in print. What a powerful, beautiful book about gender identity! I think we will refer to it again and again; I look forward to more books from this series.
So here we are, deep into summer. What journey will the next round of books take our students on? How will the election in November have an impact in shaping us in the near future? Which books can help our students grow into people who will create more peace and acceptance as a way to END ALL THE HATRED? I want to provide us with mirrors and windows. Below are some resources that have been helpful.
Reading While White – each year, individual teachers select a growth area as a focus. I want to continue to grow into a social justice educator, but am still learning how to strip away the biases and fixed mindsets I possess that roadblock my process. This blog is helping me to understand that this will require uncomfortable experiences and conversations as I strip away from my perspectives of privilege. For my growth focus this upcoming school year, I want to step more willingly into discomfort in order to have more of an impact.
Lee and Low Books – this publishing company is amazing! I’m specifically linking to a booklist regarding current events and conflicts that I would like to find a book to start conversation. However, there are so many resources from them that I refer to time and time again. Thank you, Lee and Low!
ISTE Denver 2016 – I’ve just returned from this conference last week, filled with inspiration and challenging new ideas. The key notes, presentations and conversations I had have convinced me that we CAN create a more peaceful, accepting world through technology as our students grow into digitally literate people. How will I use what I’ve learned in my role as an educator next year to help create this?
I am left with more questions than answers which stir the friction I feel to create acceptance and understanding in our world. I want to achieve this through books and information (digital). I am on the journey – but we all do it together.