Vancouver Kids Use Shirts as a Medium for Their Art


The freshest creativity that I witness amongst my friends and the kids I work with seems to diverge from mainstream structures. Unfortunately, when kids get innovative in "alternative" ways, there is rarely anyone there to praise them or grade them. Their friends might like what they do, but if their skills are "alternative", it is difficult to cultivate their talent into a career. There are many young geniuses in Vancouver who barely scrape by in school. But they thrive in other arenas. If we don't give these kids room to develop their interests, we will impair the progress of our city's creative class.

Early Risers is a creative business education course created in response to this issue.  It is a program designed by teenagers for teenagers. It is an opportunity for them to build brands that reflect their own lives.

This program features controversial guest speakers, who were chosen based on how many kids were fans of their art and the strength of their work ethic. The controversy connected to these artists is due to their roots in "street art" and the contents of their rap songs. However, research has shown that discussing media is more effective than censoring it.

The kids are starting conversations about art esthetics, building critical thinking skills and discussing the work ethic of the speakers. Each student also examines their own work ethic.

One of our guest speakers is Rob Geary from "welcome to eastvan". He began his t-shirt company with a couple hundred dollars. It has managed to flourish throughout the city. His art is influenced by "street culture" and he has a strong work ethic. His grass roots business model makes people feel that they are purchasing a piece of a community. 

Throughout Early Risers, we will examine the roots of "street art" as an esthetic and a medium. The practice of humans painting on walls may pre-date formal language. Is there something innate about it?

Learning about this art genre doesn't promote illegal graffiti. Instead we are providing another medium for kids to showcase their art.

When a message or brand is displayed on a shirt, the consumer becomes an animated medium. What does the artist want to say with this medium? 

This July Early Risers will provide the opportunity for kids to create their own culture and design individual brands. Instead of being drawn into ads and consuming expensive name-brand shirts, these kids step out of this pattern and make their own shirts.

The curriculum covers basic business concepts. The speakers will also enhance each lesson with their experiences.

On Monday nights (6-8pm), we will be making shirts in the studio at BLIM.

On Wednesday nights (6-8pm) we will be at B.O.B. learning about creative business from SNAK, WERD, and EMOTIONZ.

Stay tuned for further developments...

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