Wednesday, November 14, 2012

“Turning Graffiti into Art” – 2012, Woodanilling, Western Australia

Where is Woodanilling or as it is known to those in the know “Woody”?

Woody is a small rural community in the Great Southern area of Western Australia, it has a diverse population of approximately 423 within an area of 1,126 square kilometres.  If the place for you is somewhere with a small and friendly community, away from the maddening crowds, a place with a sense of pride, determination and safety, then Woody could be the place for you?
Farmland around Woodaniling
During October 2012, I spent 2 weeks living and working in the community, helping to facilitate the painting of the local skate park and artworks for display as an outdoor gallery.
The project was funded by the Office of Crime Prevention and the Shire of Woodanilling and made possible with the help of local residents, Vanessa, Penny, Danielle, Wendy, Andrea and Annabel.

It was an amazing and quite intense experience that involved workshopping a theme and design for the skate park and the painting of individual art panels to be showcased in the park setting as a permanent outdoor gallery.   Essentially the project was focused upon highlighting the value and benefits of legal art making as opposed to the illegal activity of graffiti vandalism.  Importantly, the participants were required to work collaboratively in determining the theme, content and colours for the skate park ramps.  During the workshop process all participants were encouraged to contribute their ideas no matter what they might be, with a “no put down” and “respect for each other” ethos maintained throughout.
Some of the participants

The project was divided into 2 stages. 

Stage One: The design and painting of the skate park ramps by local youth and residents.  Day one involved a design workshop 9:00am- 4:00pm at the Woodanilling Recreation Centre (a great venue in walking distance to the skate park).  Throughout the day the participants worked together in determining a theme that would unify the ramps, choosing relevant content to be included and considerations of colour in relation to the orientation of the ramps to the sun (north facing surfaces would require restricting the amount of red used to ensure longevity of images). 

 Danielle, the Wagin – Woodanilling Landcare Zone Manager was keen to highlight the natural fauna and fauna of the area and made a presentation to the participants during the initial design workshop.
The Red Tailed Phascogale is a really cute little creature, once wide spread over Australia and now restricted to Woodanilling and surrounding areas.  It’s not surprising that it captured everyone’s imagination and set the theme of the skate park.   Unfortunately, like many indigenous flora and fauna since farming began, the Red Tailed Phascogale is now an endangered species
Day Two – Seven involved the painting of the ramps.  The concrete surfaces of the skate ramps were sealed with a suitable primer before painting began with an exterior high grade gloss acrylic used to paint the images, different images were chosen and then scaled up onto the skate ramps, outlined in black and painted (in some wild colours!).  Everyone enjoyed the process and we were fortunate to have excellent weather during the project.  The following images show the painting in progress.
(L-R) Destiny, Riley, Harmony and Kyiesha
Eidann and Ryelan

Destiny and Riley

Ryelan, Eidann, Tahni and Vanessa


James and Rafferty




Harmony, Destiny, Ryelan, and Kane
Ramp number one
The Red Tailed Phascogale, Cockatoo and Carpet Snake set the theme for the other ramps.

Ramp number two
The Grey Kangaroo, Frog, Butterfly and Dragonfly look fantastic!

and a Black sheep under a Wattyl tree.

the centre ramp just to mix things up a bit.  

Some of the participants

and some more.

Stage Two: Design and painting individual art panels - Day Eight to Fourteen.  All participants were encouraged to develop images of their choosing; the only restrictions were that no advertising logos allowed and “keep it positive”.  The rest was up to them.  The art panels were cut from Weathertex sign board and were 900mm X 600mm and 900mm X 1200mm, some panels were utilised in portrait and others in landscape format and all were treated with an anti-graffiti coating.

Angel working on her design


 Tahlia helping Hugh put the finishing touches

Ryelan and Chloe putting some paint down

Mya using Conte pastels

Destiny and Harmony

Mya and Jasmain

Tannah working on her amazing artwork

Traditional art materials were used for the design and painting of the art panels for the outdoor gallery these included Atelier Interactive artist grade acrylic, series 1-4, Derwent graphic pencils B-9B, Conte Pastels and Progresso compressed coloured  graphite.  The art materials were specifically chosen to introduce the participants to high quality artist grade materials and to provide them with the maximum scope in developing their images.
The following images demonstrate the creative talents of the participants.

 Riley's painting

Angel and Choe's painting
Chloe and Jasmain's painting

Destiny and Harmony's painting

Eidann's painting

Group painting No 1

Harmony's painting

Hugh's painting

Kane and Vanessa's painting

Mya's painting

Ryelan's painting (with help from Harmony and Chloe)

Shaun, James and Penny's painting

Tahlia's painting

Tahni and Ella's painting

Tannah's painting

Woody rocks!!

the outdoor gallery mounted on the park fence.

Thank you to everyone involved, the project was a tremendous success.  The project was made possible with the support of the Office of Crime Prevention
group photo with Snr Sgt Carol  Eaton

 and the Shire of Woodanilling