If stereotypes have taught us anything, it’s to expect that little old ladies are always the ones shaking their fists at young folks as they spray-paint graffiti around the neighborhood.
But in this Portugal city, the “Graffiti Grannies” have ditched their knitting circles and picked up paint cans in a hands-on workshop run by street artist Adrião Resende and architect Lara Seixo Rodrigues.
It all started four years ago after Rodrigues noticed how fascinated the older residents of her home village were by the graffiti featured in a local art festival—more than even the young folks in attendance.
She and street artist Adrião Resende teamed up to conduct workshops for seniors interested in learning the art form. Together they have been painting the town red, pink, and purple, ever since.
Class begins with an art history lesson on topics ranging from illicit taggers to the high-end works from artists like Banksy. Then, the women, ranging in age from 59 to 90 years old, pull on rubber gloves and snap on face masks, shuffling—sometimes nervously—over to the “legal” walls that Lisbon’s Urban Art Gallery has scouted out for them to leave their mark.
“I didn’t really like street art that much before this; I always thought it was just kids making a mess of the walls,” Olinda Rodrigues, 66, told the Guardian. “It’s great fun. The more I paint, the more I want to paint.”
The biggest complaints about this Elder graffiti come not from onlookers, but within the group itself. They want more walls to paint and more strength to hold the can all day long.
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