Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I'm tired.

That's nothing new- I'm often, some would say usually, some might even say always tired.

But tonight I'm tired in a good way, even at almost 10 PM, as I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do with the rest of the evening. My 'evening' usually starts at about 10, which helps explain why I am so tired all the time.

Not fourteen minutes ago (14, for some reason is Lucas' preferred number), I discovered I'm part of a site I didn't even know existed. It's called flickriver, and as it's name suggests it is somehow related to flickr, here are my most interesting photos according to the site.

But of course that's not what I planned to write about this evening. I wanted to write about the class I just came back from, my graffiti class, the best one yet.

The graffiti class has been fun. I didn't take the class because I felt I needed to- after all, I learned to play guitar and write html and speak Portuguese all on my own- I probably could have done the same with spray paint. But I thought it would be fun and I thought it might actually save me some cash in the long run if I could pick up some tips from more experienced graffiteiros rather than learning them the hard way at 15 reis a can.

Most of the first classes were essentially reviews of stuff I did in my first art classes- basic drawing skills, basic perspective, very basic color theory. But that was cool- 15 years down the road is a good time to review the basics and I can't remember the last time I did a drawing of a cone, a cube, and a cylinder.

The very first class was all about writing tags- we all got our own fat tag markers and black books- basic graffiteiro gear. Tagging really doesn't interest me at all, but it helped me make the decision that if I was going to take this class, that I would focus on the basics of classic graffiti, letters and such, since that's not stuff I generally do on my own.

The classes that have been more interesting for me have been the graffiti oriented ones- learning about different caps for the spray paint and their different uses, how to construct letters in 3D, the qualities of the various brands of paint.

When I got to class today we had little boxes waiting for us (there are only three students including me), each with five cans of paint in it. This was exciting in itself, because having five new cans of paint all to myself is a major splurge, and not one I indulge in very often. The colors were not ones I would have picked on my own: three shades of pink, plus black and white. Actually, I would have picked the black and the white - hard to paint graffiti without them. As for the pinks, we got pink because nobody wants pink- these were slightly rusty old cans that have been sitting around the store forever. Fair enough, pink was fine. Pink was great.

We spent the first half hour of the class shaking the cans and waiting for the guy who was supposed to teach to show up. He paints amazing photo-realistic faces, and since the class was intended to teach us to paint 'personagens,' or characters, he was the perfect guy to do it.

Only problem was, he didn't show up.

After a half hour Sins, who owns the graffiti store and put together the course, made an executive decision and grabbed a small canvas painted by another talented graffiteiro and told us we were all going to paint it. Each of us on our own sheet of plywood.

And that's what we did for the next two hours, trying to get the lighting and the shadows right and do shading and outlines and all the rest. I don't have much to say about it, except that it reaches a point where it gets really frustrating, because it's really hard to control the damn paint and not paint over something you don't intend to. Nice sharp lines start to fade away under a mist of other colors, or the can moves an inch too far in one direction and a line disappears, which means starting over and layering everything back up.

At one point Sins came by and laughed, saying that everything I do is clearly of my own style, even when I'm trying to copy someone else's stuff. That's cool, I have no problem with that. My strong style is my greatest asset as far as I'm concerned.


AkuTyger said...

The instructor's stuff looks like the stuff painted on the side of the military school here - ask him if he did Colegio Militar.

markuza said...

I'm pretty sure that was Denis Sena, who did the tanks and stuff on Paulo VI? Haven't met him yet but he seems to really have his act together...

A.L.R. said...

The hobby is getting cooler and cooler. I like your little yellow guy sitting on the block on the flickr site. And the two blue head dudes staring at each other>

markuza said...

thanks man! that yellow guy is on the avenida contorno, basically across the street from SoHo restaurant in the marina. he gets to gaze across the bay forever.