Derry hosts first-ever Graffiti Jam festival

Local graffitti artists Donal O'Doherty, Sean Cavan and Karl Porter prepare for the weekend festival of graffitti.  (0507JB01)
Local graffitti artists Donal O'Doherty, Sean Cavan and Karl Porter prepare for the weekend festival of graffitti. (0507JB01)

Gone are the days when graffiti was considered a blight on society. Nowadays the art-form is increasingly popular, and this weekend sees four talented Derry artists host the city’s first-ever Graffiti Jam - a two-day street art festival as part of City of Culture 2013.

The Graffiti Jam will take place tomorrow and Sunday, July 6-7, at the Switch Skatepark in Unit 3, Springtown Industrial Estate, courtesy of Urban Vizualz. It’s a new organisation created by Derry’s own fantastic four - Donal O’Doherty, Karl Porter, Ray Bonner and Sean Cavan.

The decision to create Urban Vizualz was a necessary one, as artist Donal O’Doherty tells the ‘Journal’: “We have have been carrying out individual projects and workshops for various clients over the past five or six years all over the North West, but then collectively decided that we could target a bigger and wider audience as a group, therefore Urban Vizualz was born.”

The ethos behind the street art collective is simple.

“We believe that graffiti and street art murals are a unique and modern approach to community art. We have a long-standing mural art tradition in Ireland and especially in Northern Ireland, so we want to give the youth a voice and a bridge that gap between graffiti art and muralism.”

As a group, Urban Vizualz facilitate graffiti and street art workshops throughout Derry and beyond - all with the aim of inspiring our younger population.

“We aim to take the raw energy of ‘at risk’ youth and help channel and target that into a creative outlet,” Donal says.

“We want to give these young adults the chance to participate in new and alternative workshops, building connections and forming relationships through a collaborative creative process.”

This weekend’s Graffiti Jam will have not only local artists, but an array of internationally acclaimed graffiti artists will travel to Derry for the occasion too.

Among those bringing their unique skills to the city will be graffiti artists T-Kid (New York); Kak (London); Solo One (London); Rask (Drogheda, dubbed The Godfather of Irish graffiti); Crap, Sek2 and Dusto (Cork); Vera, Elph and Fade (Scotland’s finest) and Beta (Liverpool).

Joining forces with local talent, these artists will help create street art on a grand scale!

Saturday’s Graffiti Jam will see free graffiti lessons with the Urban Vizualz artists from 12-4pm, and various skate competition and demonstrations from 5pm-6pm.

Sunday’s festivities include an International Graffiti Showcase from 12-6pm, with the Best Trick on the Switch Mini-Ramp competition 
at 2pm.

So if you love graffiti and you love skateboards, you know where the action is at this weekend!

For more information, email: donalodoherty@hotmail.co.uk or check out the festival Facebook site at: www.facebook.com/UrbanVizualz