Ipswich State High School students Joshua Voller, 17, and Chris Mead, 16, sit in front of the Dream graffiti mural.
Ipswich State High School students Joshua Voller, 17, and Chris Mead, 16, sit in front of the Dream graffiti mural. Claudia Baxter

Kids get lessons in graffiti

IPSWICH State High has become the canvas for students keen to learn the art of creating attractive graffiti pieces - without breaking the law.

The high school's chaplain, Sarah Rothery, and Ipswich Community Youth Service worker Renee Claydon, arranged for a group of year 10 and 11 boys to take part in the two-day workshop with Kingdom Graffiti.

Mrs Rothery said the program targeted students who already had an interest in art and who needed to increase their level of engagement with their school.

"We had the idea about three months ago," she said.

"The walls outside our office were looking a little dull and we were trying to think of a way to get the kids involved."

Before snapping the lids off the spray cans, Kingdom Graffiti artist and former Redbank Plains State High School student Mikey Newman took the students through a theory lesson outlining the need to pursue the art legitimately.

"They are taught how to use their art properly - how to search out legitimate art spaces," Mr Newman said.

"Councils need to provide more art spaces and the only way we'll ever convince them to do that is if we ask."

Year 10 student Brenden Belling savoured the opportunity to show off his artistic skill, with his mural entitled, Flare.

"My piece is basically about flaring your life up, showing yourself," he said.

"This program has been good because we need the chance to express ourselves creatively.

"Heaps of people see graffiti simply as a crime - but I see it as art if it is done properly."

Year 11 student Josh Voller called his piece Dream.

"It's about the dream I have had to become an artist," Josh said.

"Unfortunately graffiti is illegal pretty much everywhere. What we need is some kind of workshop where kids can go to pursue their art legally."

Mr Newman said graffiti art had always been popular with Ipswich youth and that council should consider constructing "graphic walls" dedicated to the work of young artists.

Costly exercise

The Queensland Government estimates the cost of illegal graffiti at $50 million a year

Ipswich City Council has allocated $300,000 to graffiti removal in 2011-2012.