Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Mural Workshop - 2nd Session

Yesterday we moved the workshop to the Dracaena Centre in Falmouth. It was a bit harder for the group to get to, so i wasn't expecting a big turn out! Surprisingly though, there were more in this group than the one in Truro last week.

Me and John Mackenzie, who works for Addaction and organised this whole project, picked up 2 lads from their social services house in Camborne. These 2 guys had been quite vocal in last weeks session about some of the things that they'd been getting up to, and about what trouble they'd been getting into! I don't think it's appropriate here to mention any incidents, but lets just say i'd started to wonder about who and what i'd got involved in! John had explained some of the kids backgrounds, so i knew what i'd agreed to, and to be honest no one had displayed any behavioural problems in last weeks workshop.

We got to the Dracaena Centre in Falmouth, with the possibilty of some problems arising between the 2 lads in the back of the car and some dodgy locals in the area! Luckily nothing arose, so we could get on with setting up the workshop in a large sports hall at the centre. I'd set the group a task last week to try and draw and develop a character for this session, and the results weren't that great! The one girl in the group who i'd had high hopes for, had done her task but she wasn't pleased with what she'd produced. Her drawing was technically very good, but wasn't really the kind of thing that i'd been looking for! I'm probably guilty of having a preconcieved idea of what we're trying to achieve, but i'm finding it hard to get any of their own ideas out of the group. At the moment i've just had to concentrate on showing them how to transfer their ideas from a small piece of paper, and putting it up large on a wall. This session was mainly an attempt to try and get them used to working on a bigger scale, and not just doing little doodles on an A4 piece of paper! I took a couple of designs that Beth had done of eyes, and showed the group that they don't have to be quite so literal in their way of thinking while working on ideas. Once i'd done an A3 drawing of what i wanted to put on the wall, i then showed the group how to scale their image and then transfer it onto the wall.

As we were working in a sports hall and couldn't paint directly onto the walls, we got them to transfer their drawings onto large sheets of paper. After an initial shaky start, the signs became far more encouraging as the group got to grips with working on a larger scale. Some of the guys started by transfering their drawings onto acetate, and then projecting them onto a wall with an OHP. Some of the other members of the group were a little braver, and even started off by drawing freehand. And some even used a mixture of projector and freehand! As an exercise in creating ideas for the final mural in Hendra, nothing was really achieved, which was slightly disappointing. I think this is just me worrying, as the time scale we have to finish a final design to submit to the council, is to to say the least rather tight! But as an exercise in improving the groups drawing skills and awarenes of scale, then we had achieved quite a bit. As with any session like this, as soon as you get everyone motivated and ready for action, time catches up with you and it's time to pack up and wind it down!

At the end of it, there were some nice pieces of work started. Next week, the guys get to have a spray can workshop with Tom Sutcliffe, which will be interesting to see what results come from that! The following week, me and Tom get together with them and see what ideas are possibly emerging. I think me and Tom are gonna have to give them a little bit more direction if there is going to be any input from them in the final piece. We've really got to try and give the council a really professional proposal which is simple and striking at the same time. We really are going to be up against it time wise, and we also have a consultation day with the local community at the end of the month too, to see what ideas they have about our proposal! I just love it when even more random factors are thrown into the equation!

John's arranging for a local paper to get a picture of the group taken in front of some of the images being produced from the workshops. One of the lads didn't seem too keen on this idea, and if one of his stories is correct about his antics, then i think it might be a good idea to keep his face out of the public eye! I don't think it would be a good idea to have irrate enemies coming down to the park where the site for the mural is, we've got enough obstacles in front of us without any any fights kicking off while i'm up a scaffold tower! And i don't think our budget will stretch to paying for police protection either! Haha, i don't think it will come to that, but you can't help daydreaming sometimes about worst case scenarios! I can just see it now, me and Tom half way up ladders while there's a turf war kicking off behind us!

I'm kind of gutted that i'm missing next weeks session, i wanted to see what colourful designs and antics come up! I just hope Tom can coax a little bit more out of them, and can keep himself out of trouble! Good luck mate!

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