Brooklyn Graffiti and Street Art Workshop with Brooklyn Unplugged
Do you like street art? Or as some people still like to say, graffiti? It has become increasingly more popular these days, and my family and I have been paying ever more attention to these fascinating works of art, especially on recent vacations, in places such as L.A. and Nashville. Yet for some reason we haven’t explored as much of it in our hometown of New York City. So when Brooklyn Unplugged, a boutique sightseeing tour company in Brooklyn, NYC, invited us to take a Brooklyn graffiti art workshop, we said absolutely!
Brooklyn Unplugged is passionate about all things Brooklyn, from its vibrant neighborhoods full of artists, international cuisines, fashion, and in general, a sense of creativity like nowhere else in the city, to its immigrant history and rich mix of cultures and people. I can understand this passion, as I used to be a Brooklyn resident myself. There simply is no other place like Brooklyn! When you’re there, you feel it, you seek it, you crave it. The energy is contagious.
I love the idea of a tour company whose mission it is to reveal all the wonders of Brooklyn to both its residents as much as tourists. In doing so, the company offers a variety of tours and workshops, from walking tours to street art tours to graffiti art workshops, both public and private. We did a public graffiti art workshop and this is how it worked:
Brooklyn Graffiti Art Workshop
Before I get to it, let me just say my girls were SO excited to do this. Earlier on in the summer, my friend Hilary from HilaryStyle (a huge street art fan) gave us a tour of Venice Beach and brought spray cans with her, because there is a section on the beach called the Venice Art Murals, where the public can make their own graffiti. And so we did! The girls were so into it, as it was a completely new experience for them. They literally couldn’t get enough of it. So when it was time to go on the workshop with Brooklyn Unplugged, they were ecstatic.
As for the graffiti workshop, it takes place in Bushwick (at least the one we did) just around the corner from the Brooklyn Unplugged office. A group of us met in front, where the wonderful artist named Angel took us around the corner to a designated street where there was a blank canvas set up. There were about 8 people in the group, including us, and mixed ages. Some were in their 20’s, others were a family just like us, with a young girl about my girls ages. We went over and met up with the owner of Brooklyn Unplugged, Jeff, where he gave us an overview of street art and just how prevalent it has become today. It has literally exploded all over the world! If you’re an Instagram user, then this will come as no surprise to you.
Both Jeff and Angel explained all the basics of graffiti and street art to the group, going over painting techniques and theories. We learned that there are three essential components to graffiti: tags, throw-ups and pieces. The tag is basically a simple, short signature; the throw-up is the medium part, involving more detail; and the piece is the masterpiece, the final product! Angel demonstrated how it all worked, showing us how to make the tag, throw-up and piece, with various techniques.
After the demonstration, it was our turn! Everyone in the group took turns spray painting on the canvas, usually about two people at a time. Angel and Jeff were there to guide us through and remind us of how certain elements worked. Spray painting is not easy! In fact, it can hurt your fingers when you do it for a long period of time. Getting the perfect sized line and shape is tricky – for example, to create a thin line, you have to be very close to the canvas, while in order to create a larger fill or space, you need to be further away. It takes time and practice to figure out just how the paint works.
Everyone practiced their own tag and throw up, and for the masterpiece we decided to do a group collaboration of the words “New York”. Everyone took a letter making it their own – some yellow, some blue, some purple, some polka dots! We thought it turned out pretty well – what about you?
For a small fee, someone in the group is able to take the masterpiece home with them, and I suggested it go to this very nice family from Mexico City. They were so nice, and it makes for the perfect souvenir!
The workshop was an hour, and all in all, it was a great experience – just look how into it the girls are! We learned a lot about an art medium we really didn’t know much about, and were able to practice what we learned in a fun, relaxing environment. Thank you Brooklyn Unplugged for hosting us!
The Graffiti workshop is open to the public every day at 1:15 p.m. It is 1 hour and the price is $35. If you do the workshop in conjunction with the Street Art Walking Tour, there is a $8 discount. You must buy tickets here. There is also the option to have a private workshop.
Tip: There is an awesome restaurant on the same block called Artichoke Pizza – combine the workshop with a great meal!
Disclosure: We were kindly invited by Brooklyn Unplugged to take the workshop, but as always, all opinions are honest and my own.
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