Street art, or graffiti, has come a long way in the past decade.
Tim Phibs, 42, admits when he first picked up a spray can around the age of 16 it was probably due his rebellious streak rather than his love for art.
“It probably gave my mother a nervous breakdown,” he said.
These days the full-time artist can not only be seen among the names of the National Gallery of Australia’s permanent collection, but also often out and about in the community steering young minds on the right path with street art.
Though he prefers to call is “art in a public space”.
“It’s a modern-day subculture, and it’s only getting bigger and growing, and I think it’s important to give it space for it to live,” Phibs said.
“There are many other artists and different people in trades who use aerosols and not considered graffiti artists.
“I think people are realising when it’s done professionally and properly it brings energy and life to spaces.”
Phibs is one of five urban artists to teach various techniques and inspire during free workshops aimed at 5 to 16-year-olds, running until January 20 at Wollongong Central (near the old Myer building).
Having a young son himself who’s often glued to his iPad, Phibs said he loves showing kids how to get their hands dirty and be creative.
He said so far the participants, and their parents, have been surprised at how quickly an artwork can be created.
“Our kids are so dependent on devices these days that I really try to push to get their hands dirty and enjoy the creative process and embrace it,” he said.
Phibs has previously been involved in the Wonderwalls festival which he believes is a great way to “educate” the community on different art forms.
He said workshops were another great community activity to promote the positive place public art has in society.
Though not everyone will like giant colourful murals he said that was the purpose of art, to generate interest and discussion, while Wollongong has happily embraced the scene.
Other artists sharing their skills during the workshops include freelance photographer Camille Walsh, who is a regular mentor to child artists and people living with disabilities.
Evan Newby has worked in illustration for over two decades and will share tips and tricks in drawing and animation.
Printmaker and cartoonist Natalia Zajaz will teach the art of wordless narratives and owner of Anchors Awigh Art Studio, Trina Collins, will teach techniques using the urban paintbrush.
Places are limited for each workshop, books are essential via: http://www.wollongongcentral.com.au/what-s-happening/kids-urban-art-workshops