Spray paint art reminds me so much of hip hop dance, both originated from the streets, invented by people who had no formal training, yet both have the power to touch our souls.
2 weeks ago while traveling in lovely San Francisco, a forgotten dream of painting a galaxy was awakened within me, as I watched street artists painting a bright moon floating above a silhouette of Golden Gate Bridge.
I often painted clouds in art school, and know that it can take days or weeks to give a painting light, air and volume. So you can imagine my excitement when it finally clicked that I can, perhaps, paint a galaxy filled with light, air and volume in 30 minutes!
Not to mention the chance to act like a bad a$$ street artist!
Step 1: Language of Spray Painting
In dance, when you really practice and know the steps, you can forget the steps and become one with the music.
The purpose of this section is to try to clearly define some useful methods and techniques unique to spray painting, which has not been written about widely. Some I learned from watching in the streets and on YouTube, some I figured out and modified through my failed paintings.
The ultimate goal is to forget the techniques and fly with your imagination.
Here's a summary, and each is covered in more detail in the steps they are used.
- Soft Mist :after creating some uneven blobs of paint, I figured this out- it sounds so counter intuitive- instead of pressing the nozzle then start moving the paint can, do the opposite, get the can moving, then press the nozzle! This will create a even and natural looking mist, without a heavy starting point. See Step 3 & 5
- Newspaper :while the paint is wet, use newspaper to lift some of the paints and create a cool texture. Can be used to create planets, mountains, etc. See Step 4
- Covered Stencil : stencil touches the painting, creates defined shapes with sharp edges. See Step 4
- Raised Stencil :stencil is lifted a couple of inches from painting, creates defined shapes with soft edges. See Step 3 & 6
- Bounced Paint :spray not the painting, but a straight or curved surface perpendicular from the painting to create a very soft line. I used it to create the spiral galaxy in an earlier painting -see last 2 images in Step 7- but find method 4 easier and quicker. Still, this method has a lot of potential for sure!
- Star Clusters :spray some paint on a small piece of thick paper and tap with your fingers on the back of the paper to create clusters of stars. See Step 6
- Comet :a quick tap on the bottom of a upside down spray can will create a comet / shooting star. See Step 6