Cheyenne River Youth Project

Scape Martinez Will Lead Summer Graffiti Art Education Camp on June 27-30

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that acclaimed San Jose, California-based artist and writer Scape Martinez will lead a summer graffiti art education camp at its Eagle Butte campus from Monday, June 27 to Thursday, June 30. Martinez has chosen the theme “Creativity is Contagious” for the four-day, hands-on, intensive multimedia and graffiti art camp, which is open to all teens.

The camp will begin with the basic principles of graffiti art—letters, names, words and their modification. Through lessons and prompts, Martinez will encourage the students to explore their own identities and creativity in a safe, supportive environment, and the teens will have the opportunity to discuss their work, exchange ideas and offer respectful, reassuring critiques.

“This is an important opportunity for our teen interns to take their arts education and skills to the next level,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “These are intensive sessions. Each session is five hours, and the interns will receive a rigorous arts education in a truly salon-style environment. And, not only will they continue to find their own unique voices and methods of expressing themselves, they’ll take part in group discussion, research and critique, which are all important parts of the process for art students and working artists.”

Martinez will make copies of his various books available to participants as resources. They are: “GRAFF: the art and Technique of Graffiti,” “GRAFF 2: Next Level Graffiti Techniques,” “GRAFF Color Workbook” and “GRAFF: Colormaster.”

On the first day, teens will focus on drawing. Their goals will include understanding composition, design basics, elements of art, drawing basics, tools, and basic letter development. On Day 2, they’ll work on both drawing and color, learning to understand expressive and abstract elements in art, working with dry materials and creating symbols, understanding the importance of messaging in visual art, and blurring the line between writing and drawing.

On Day 3, Martinez will introduce the interns to graffiti color theory with “GRAFF Color Workbook.” This is essentially a color and aerosol class, in which teens will learn about basic color theory, can control and basic spray painting techniques.

On the last day, Martinez will lead his “GRAFF: Colormaster” class, a color and collage workshop that introduces students to multimedia. He’ll cover abstract painting techniques as well as layering and masking techniques.

At the end of the camp, each student will take home copies of all of Martinez’s books for further study, plus critical support materials.

For his part, Martinez is eager to provide the framework CRYP’s art interns need to pursue success in their artistic futures.

“I believe that this framework can deliver to the students an amazing experience,” he writes. “Many of my activities are designed with the student in mind, not the instructor. My hope is to use this as a way to weave native culture and graffiti culture, enabling the creation of a new visual language while still preserving the integrity of both.”

An accomplished multidisciplinary artist and best-selling writer who has been involved in the graffiti art scene since the 1980s, Martinez has pushed the boundaries of both graffiti and street art, bringing them firmly into the fine art, public art and educational arenas. He also has written four books on creating graffiti-style urban art, and he frequently conducts workshops and lectures for teenagers, fellow artists and educators.


Martinez first visited the youth project last September for a week of mural painting and youth arts education. One small boy traveled from Rapid City, two and a half hours each way by car, to see him.


“That says a lot about how much graffiti art resonates with today’s youth,” Garreau said. “And, it’s validation for our growing arts program here on Cheyenne River.”


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The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.

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