Internationally renowned artist Joshua Smith visits St Mark's College

Under the experienced and watchful eye of internationally-renowned artist Joshua Smith, St Mark’s College art students diligently worked away on colourful, stenciled masterpieces.

The light scraping of knives on cardboard and the soft hissing of spray cans did not necessarily create a traditional artistic soundscape, but it was undoubtedly one of the more creative ones.

Year 9 and 10 students undertook workshops to learn how to create stencil artwork on three days.

The artwork involves choosing a subject for the work to be turned into a stencil. Various stencils are taken to make the artwork look more realistic. Stencils are then layered and spray-painted to create the final piece.

Art teacher Alix Schuppan said the unique opportunity to work with a professional artist was a first for the college. “We wanted to be able to give students the chance to work with a real artist in a real-life setting to learn skills that we wouldn’t usually be able to teach,” she said.

Students chose both portrait-style works and concepts with a more personal interest during the workshops. 

Joshua Smith, a professional artist of 17 years, said the students had shown great potential. 

He said that despite longstanding negative attitudes towards spray cans and aerosol art, perceptions were changing.

“I think the way that communities and councils are engaging street art murals and the like is helping to slowly change attitudes,” he said.

“In country towns and rural areas, it is something that hasn’t always been embraced, but now it is becoming more accepted.”

The Adelaide-based artist taught himself how to create stencil artworks during school and has focused on stencil artworks for much of his career. In recent times he has redirected his artistic pursuits to create detailed miniatures of urban buildings, which have been shown in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Sydney and Melbourne.

Who knows – the next famous artist might come from the humble classrooms of St Mark’s College?