Each year, the eighth graders create a piece of an art as a graduation gift to the school. Last year, their medium was polymer clay and they created self-portraits.
This year, I felt like rocking the boat and changing the traditional self-portraiture format. I thought long and hard about how they could express their identities and leave their mark without drawing faces. After several months, I realized that graffiti art could be a perfect medium. Spoiler: It turned out AWESOME. The kids were incredibly engaged in the process from start to finish! Here's the final project. They cut out their tags and mounted them on photorealistic brick wallpaper.
I began the unit by introducing the students to the medium of graffiti art.
We looked at artists such as Keith Haring and Shepherd Fairey, and watched stop-motion graffiti animation by Blu and David Ellis, as seen below:
Then, they began developing their own tags. They researched and took notes on styles and colors they liked, then created sketches in their sketchbooks. Then, they added color with Sharpie and colored pencils. Finally, they created several versions of their tags. One was on card stock for the final project. Another was on contact paper, which we then stuck to the walls. The trick worked! So many students and teachers asked me if I knew that kids had written on the walls.
The other part of the project the kids loved was "tagging" the playground with soft pastels on the last day of art.