It was an exciting time at the British International School, Phuket (BISP) recently as 60 students from Year 8 and 9 took part in the annual Artist in Residence programme where they had the enriching opportunity to be immersed in everything art.
The students worked with an artist for a day giving them exposure to practicing artists, and the space and time to work without the pressures of everyday school life.
The Year 9s worked with Craig Paterson, a British artist from Drift Interiors in Phuket Town, who specialises in graffiti.
Craig taught the students everything from the history of the art, back to when cavemen and the Egyptians used it, right into modern day graffiti and its reputation. Craig explained to the students how the Romans used graffiti to communicate with one another, everything from drawing hearts to scripture. So he used this to teach the students all about creating a tag.
“Every artist has a graffiti tag”, says Craig. “Now all the kids have one.”
The students used recycled canvas and worked with stencils and then moved onto spray art.
Craig originally from London, England, began his passion for art from the age of 16. He spent his days creating tags and was inspired by music, more specifically hip-hop.
“It was a natural progression, hip-hop to graffiti to Dj’ing,” says Craig.
Craig has always had a fascination for the art world, and even gained a degree in art and architecture. After 13 years of solid experience, he relocated to Phuket. After a year, he quickly set up his own business and has even worked on various popular projects around the island, including the responsibility of designing Seduction nightclub in Patong.
Craig said his main ambitions were to introduce architectural and hip-hop workshops. The feedback from students already has been really positive, “They [the kids] like the idea of doing something cool and not knowing and then creating something within a set time.
“Some of the graffiti today is absolutely mind-blowing. Banksy played a huge role in the awakening of it. These days, graffiti is a voice, just like social media is. It’s free and you can’t ignore it.”
Craig’s professional space is unlike any other gallery in Phuket. The gallery is contemporary, high-end and curated. It showcases the highest work across Asia. As well workshops for kids, Craig also hopes to introduce more opportunities for adults, not just graffiti but life drawing, and other courses.
The second inspiring artist was the school’s very own Kathy Coulson. She is both an artist and a teacher. Kathy has been showcasing her art for a number of years and is involved in various community projects, but this is the first year that she has taken part in the school programme.
With regards to the Artists in Residence programme, the students worked with Kathy to produce a mixed media wax piece in her style. Kathy said they were using different forms of media, from paper to canvas to metals to acrylics.
“The kids have been using black canvas, landscape, sea, sky, land and moon. They have been working hard and really getting involved. They’re learning everything from how to rub in oil pastel, to creating a metallic feel and adding in metal fixtures.”
“The programme gives the students a nice break from their normal routine. They seem to be enjoying the whole day.”
Jennifer from Year 8 said, “Mixed media is really creative and it’s a different way to express art. I like using different forms of media to put on the canvas.”
The programme has been overall successful and gave the students the opportunity to see Kathy in action.
It gave the students a chance to connect to her more as a person, rather than just a teacher.
The student’s across both workshops showcased their work in an exhibition at the school the following week.
BISP’s Art Coordinator Claire Lester explained that the programme provides opportunities for the students to spend time in a new atmosphere and envrionment, and support the development of new work.
Indeed, a greater appreciation for art is growing in Phuket, and programmes like BISP’s Artist in Residence will ensure that promising talent and passion is fully nurtured and developed for a colourful future.