This fall, Mass Appeal Creative Director Sacha Jenkins will be teaching a class at Pratt’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies called Graffiti For Designers. The revolutionary course will examine the tenets of writing culture, and how they relate to and can be applied to graphic design.
“GFD presents an opportunity for artists to expand upon their areas of expertise, to better understand the aesthetics of writing so when they do visually borrow from this rich language, their accents look and sound pretty good,” says Jenkins. “As someone who grew up in New York at a time when subways cars were still actively painted, it is humbling to see how far what these inner city kids have taken the work they created. And it is such an honor to have the opportunity to share this knowledge with artists and scholars who are interested. Major kudos to Pratt for being game to push the boundaries.”
To get a better grasp of the significance of the course and how it came about, check below for an interview with Pratt’s Associate Director Chris Ferrara and Operations Manager William “Skuf” Carrero.
What lead to the creation of this class?
Chris Ferrara: I attended the “Write of Passage” exhibition that Sacha Jenkins curated, which acknowledged the pervasiveness of graffiti, not only historically on walls and trains, but now in industry and media channels. Whether it’s skateboards, video games, fashion and logo design—graffiti is clearly woven into the products we all purchase. All of these things helped form an opinion that the artform has arrived. It is no longer a subculture. It’s a culture. In terms of academia, I surveyed the landscape and realized that there is no real representation. With that came the opportunity to put a class together. Pratt is a highly regarded institution in New York City for art and design—and New York City is the birthplace of this youth-spawned art movement that has impacted so many corners of the globe.
The mission of the Pratt Continuing and Professional Studies program is very practical. We give designers the opportunity to enhance their skills and broaden their career opportunities. We want graffiti to be a part of their art palate. To be able to incorporate elements of graffiti into the work they create and to better understand and appreciate the form’s origins.
Can you speak on the development of this course, and its significance to the culture of graffiti overall?
William “Skuf” Carrero: This is one of the most important shifts in our culture–where we are actually analyzing our culture and connecting it to pop culture and other art movements in the world. I have been involved with graffiti for many years. I grew up with it. I’ve worked with artists around the world. I’ve grown up, but I’ve never left graffiti behind. I think the time has come to give graffiti its proper place in history. I am humbled that Pratt is giving the culture a look—a shot for people to better understand what it is we do.
The class has come together because there are now people in the position of power who understand, who are interested in connecting the dots. It took a long time to get here. But it’s no mystery that graffiti is one of the most important contemporary art movements. I feel blessed that Chris understands the importance and has really pushed and advocated for this class.
Any writer who has dedicated himself or herself to this culture knows that this isn’t a fad. This is an artform that has had a direct impact on so many different artforms. This is class is actually a big deal.
“Graffiti for Designers ” will be a non-credited course, and will take place October 1 to December 3, 2014. It is also worth noting that pre-reqs aren’t required, and related experience isn’t necessary to take the course. You can call 855-551-7727 to sign up for the course, and registration is currently open.