Urban Art Tours and Graffiti Workshops
Shane Pilster of 82 Concepts, will host monthly Urban Art Tours and Graffiti Workshops at the Carrie Furnaces site starting on June 21. This two-part, three hour event allows you to explore the underground culture of graffiti, its history, and how graffiti has evolved over the years as you walk through the Carrie Furnaces and learn more about the Rivers of Steel Heritage Area. The workshop afterward will allow attendees to try their hand at graffiti.
We had the opportunity to talk to Shane and get the scoop on the event, as well as the inspiration and interest behind his choice to promote graffiti.
The Carrie Furnaces were used before World War II for iron-making technologies. What inspired you to choose this location as the venue for the workshop?
The Carrie Furnace was a site where many of the best graffiti artists came to paint in the 80s and 90s and became a kind of museum of aerosol art. The setting there is incredible because it has a blend of the industrial age, post-industrial art, and nature everywhere you look. When I first started working with Rivers of Steel in the winter of 2012, my initial goal was to establish a place where people could paint with aerosol legally. That evolved into doing workshops and tours to educate people on the positive aspects of graffiti culture and allow them to get a personal hands-on experience with aerosol.
Graffiti seems to be your artistic outlet of choice. Can you tell us about your passion for the craft and how you got involved with graffiti in the first place?
I first got involved when many of my high school friends (with whom I skated, rode bikes, and hung out with all the time) got into it. It took me quite a while to get to the point to where I was even somewhat happy with what I was producing. Once I got to a certain skill level it opened up a whole world of people to meet and places to travel to. The combination of color theory, typography, composition, technique and skill that is required to excel in the craft is something that many people don’t realize. Over the years I’ve utilized many of the ideas from aerosol with my graphic design work and vice versa. Graffiti seems to be more accepted in the art world, with many artists showing in galleries in major cities among inspiring and incredible artists who are pushing the boundaries of the craft.
Can you tell us what motivated you to take others on an Urban Art Tour?
The Urban Art Tour allows me to share something that I am passionate about while working on promoting the heritage of the site with Rivers of Steel, who are a great bunch of people. The culture and ideas of graffiti go beyond the simple tagging in the street that everyone affiliates with vandalism, and it’s been uplifting to hear people’s positive comments after the tours and workshops. I’m hoping to show Pittsburgh that graffiti is a legitimate art form, and that there are many talented people who paint in Pittsburgh. I’m very lucky that Rivers of Steel are supportive of my vision and are helping me to show people that graffiti can be a positive and socially acceptable art form when done properly.
The event allows attendees to learn about specific terms and techniques of designing a graffiti piece. Will attendees be able create their own pieces at the workshop?
People who attend the workshop will definitely have the opportunity to make their own piece. The whole workshop usually takes about 3 hours and is divided into two parts. The first half is the tour / educational session where we walk around the whole site discussing different styles, ideas, techniques, and answer the many questions people have. People are encouraged to bring cameras to take photos of the works and the site during the tour. The second half is a crash course on letter structure, painting technique, and how to set up your piece. People will then sketch out some ideas after seeing all the art around the site and then we unleash them on one of the walls with cans of paint to see what they can create. We’ve had parents bring their little kids, and people of all ages have attended. It’s a great way to tour the site and see the Carrie Furnace from a different perspective, and then you get to create a work of art inspired by the tour!