Albert E. Grice Middle School Mural and Presentation
I first came to Grice Middle School as an artist and representative of VURT Creative, alongside my good friend and trusted collaborating artist, GLOSSBLACK, to paint a mural greeting the students as they enter the building. The mural was painted during their winter break, without the student's knowledge and from what I'm told it was a pleasant and shocking surprise. Upon entering the building they were faced with the new vibrant art depicting some of the core values of the school, "Pride and Spirit", which we chose to represent with a lion and a stallion.
After the completion of the mural, I was honoured to be invited back to Grice and talk to some of their 6th, 7th and 8th-grade art students. Now at first, I wasn't sure how well that would go over. Why would 60 or so students want to listen to some heavily tattooed weirdo standing in front of them on some stage? Even more worrisome, what was I gonna say to them? Then, in the same way I handle every other uncertain opportunity placed in front of me, I jumped in with both feet. I put together a simple presentation and decided to talk to them about what I know best, me, artwork, and the different directions being an artist can take a person, along with some of the amazing places in the world art has taken me.
Now, Crazy enough, I wasn't much older then these kids when I started my career as a professional artist, but I know I would never have chosen a path in the visual arts if there wasn't someone to point out that option to me. Now at the very least I'm pretty sure my presentation was an entertaining way to get out of math class, but at the very most I hope that I could've been inspiring to them or helped make them aware of how important and diverse artists can be and the way we shape the world around us.
After my presentation, I had the opportunity to sit down with some of their advanced 7th and 8th-grade art students and helped them plan out and design a mural of their own - walking them through the steps of concept, development and design. It went surprisingly well, they were smart kids with good ideas and questions. It was fun guiding them through the steps of mural creation. I'm happy to hear from Grice that the design we came up with had a successful installation, painted by their students and teachers. I hope I'm invited back one day to see the progress that they made.