“Wow. I. Am. Awesome!”
This was 18 year old Darius’ response as the frame was peeled back from the white t-shirt, revealing the silk screen print he had just made. The image, a detailed silhouette of himself that he had composed and printed in black ink onto a fresh t-shirt, led teaching artist Jon Stein to question if he meant the awesomeness of the print, his artistic abilities, or just himself in general. Perhaps–hopefully–all three at once?
Snow City Arts has been working with Darius for the past 12 years and he has a wide portfolio of projects through which he has developed skills and accomplished his visions for success with us while in the hospital. He says he finds inspiration when making art and when asked what Snow City Arts meant to him, he replied, “[Snow City Arts] makes the kids happy, allowing them to create and be free.” For him personally, he said he finds it “relieving to work with the teaching artists.”
Regarding the medium of silk screen printing, he first learned the tools and techniques three years ago when he created The Awesome Award, an original drawing that he screen printed onto posters and gave out to staff members at the hospital. Last year, he made a t-shirt print related to a favorite professional wrestler, his first experience of printing onto fabric.
From then on, it’s been all about shirts and screen printing. Darius even has a series of catchphrases that he intends to print on t-shirts.
“I’ve been wanting to make my own shirts for years and now I’m finally able to do it. It’s amazing. Usually when I see [Jon] I have a set idea in my mind and I’m like cool, I can try this, or I can start this. Maybe Jon can help me with it.”
For this self portrait, he first posed for photographs of himself in profile. Working with teaching artist John Lyons, he used Photoshop to tailor the best photograph into a detailed silhouette. That image was then transferred and cut from contact paper, creating a template to print from.
At this stage of his printmaking knowledge and development, the teaching artists are merely acting as studio assistants in the room during the printing phase, as Darius knows what to do to arrive at his awesome outcome.