Taking a black felt-tipped marker to a large hanging canvas, Chicago artist Nino Rodriguez freestyle sketched a graffiti-inspired mural Thursday as students gathered to watch in the cafeteria area at McHenry County College.
The letters "MCC" were centered below an outline of the Chicago skyline, which featured an "el" train drawn in a 3-D style as it appeared to advance toward the viewer. After a rough sketch was drawn, students were invited to pick up a brush and paint in the scene alongside Rodriguez.
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Artists Bill "Uneek" Weyna and Stef Skills, both of Chicago, have been in the graffiti arts since the 1980s and joined Rodriguez to talk and demonstrate the art with students.
Earlier in the day Rodriguez spoke to about 20 students about the history of the art form. He picked up the art style in 1984 and has traveled the world demonstrating his skills, known by his "graffiti name" Tsel One.
He stresses the type of graffiti he draws is not gang related. "Graffiti art is an extension of hip-hop art. It's all about elaborate lettering. It's definitely not about teaching kids how to write on walls," he said.
Student and self-described hobby artist Laurissa Mortensen of Genoa City, Wis., helped fill in the MCC letters in the mural and said she liked it.
When asked about what she learned, she said "It's really just (about) doing whatever and having fun. You just go with it," Mortensen said.