MIAMI, OK — More than 50 kids emptied spray cans onto a Miami skate park this week — all in the name of art.
The project to transform the park into a vibrant arts centerpiece for the town was organized as part of the Leadership Arts program of the Oklahoma Arts Council.
A 36-year-old artist known only as “Grandpa Jankins” demonstrated his technique and discussed the legal and ethical dos and don'ts of art in public spaces.
Jankins, who lives near Springfield, Mo., has been a professional graffiti-style artist for the past eight years. He said he got a big reaction to the art form, traditionally considered taboo, especially from the younger children.
“As a child, what was the very first thing you were ever in trouble for? You were in trouble for writing on walls with Crayolas, and most of the time it was just scribbles. They were actually given the permission to do it,” Jankins said.
Jankins said graffiti writing is becoming incredibly popular compared to when he first started writing graffiti, even though the art form is not new.
“In 1989, if I were to tell someone I was a graffiti artist, I would go to jail,” said Jankins, who does not use his real name because of the trouble he used to get into because of his art.
“Now, in today's society, the baby boomers are starting to move out, and the younger generation is taking over. There is a difference between graffiti and vandalism.”
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