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Graffiti workshop at Gainsborough Library in Ipswich
By Andrew Woodger
BBC Suffolk

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Video of the graffiti workshop at Gainsborough Community Library

Youngsters in Suffolk are being taught how to improve their graffiti skills by an established artist.

The workshop is taking place at Gainsborough Library in Ipswich.

It is being organised by Club 4 Teenz, which is run by the youngsters who are designing and spraying boards in the car park.

"I'm trying to show them the artform rather than tagging," said Scott King (aka Aroma) who is teaching the children. "It definitely is art."

Graffiti project, Gainsborough Library, Ipswich
Around 15 youngsters were involved in the graffiti project

The library opened amid much fanfare in 2009.

Staff say they organised weekend activities, but there were some problems with youngsters coming in on their way home from school.

"The area's got a bit of a reputation," said Daniel Hayes, young people's library officer. "A lot of the young people make their own entertainment when we're not entertaining them, which isn't always a good thing.

"We've had some fighting, one person left the taps running on purpose and we had a bit of a flood, we've had a fire started and aggressiveness towards staff."

As a result, some of the children took it upon themselves to arrange a special club.

"There's not that much to do in the Gainsborough area," said Ryan Jay, a 16 year old founder of Club 4 Teenz.

"There's the park, but there's not really a safe, warm environment that they can come into.

"We've got the sports centre, but that costs money and some people haven't got money, so that's why Club 4 Teenz is a good place, because no-one has to pay to use it."

Graffiti project, Gainsborough Library, Ipswich
Gainsborough Community Library is on Clapgate Lane in east Ipswich

But is it art?

The graffiti project is one of the results of that. Around 15 children took part in designing and spraying the boards in the car park.

George Jackson is the father of one of the youngsters.

"What they've done is tried to get kids off the street to get them doing a bit of spray painting instead of going out and doing it on public walls when they shouldn't do," he said.

The project has been overseen by Ipswich graffiti artist Scott King , who already has work on Upper Orwell Street and on the walls by the river near the railway station.

"Graffiti's all about expression using a spraycan - it's art," he said. "If it's legal - good on it.

"I don't do illegal stuff anymore, but I used to a long time ago in London.

"There's been a lot of interaction. The kids have really got stuck in and they're enjoying themselves, which is one of the reasons I'm here.

"There's been no misbehaving - it's been good!"

And it's been getting a positive review from the library staff.

"I think the graffiti is brilliant," said Daniel Hayes. "It's one of those quite subjective things where some people see a mess and some people see something artistic.

"It's better that they're doing it on these boards rather than on some random shop or a street corner.

"They're learning how to do it properly and in a positive way rather than aggressive slogans or random tags [graffiti signatures]."




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