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Graffiti artist visits school to inspire, motive students

Graffiti+Dwayne+Manuel+recently+visited+Cactus+Canyon+art+students+to+talk+about+his+work+and+life+experiences.
Graffiti Dwayne Manuel recently visited Cactus Canyon art students to talk about his work and life experiences.

Graffiti Dwayne Manuel recently visited Cactus Canyon art students to talk about his work and life experiences.

Submitted to the Chronicle

Submitted to the Chronicle

Graffiti Dwayne Manuel recently visited Cactus Canyon art students to talk about his work and life experiences.

Mykayla Smith, Canyon Chronicle

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     Dwayne Manuel, a professional graffiti artist, came to CCJH to teach the students in Allison Baumann’s art classes about his experiences and art.
     He shared stories and pictures of his art, and how it has evolved over the years. He included stories from his childhood, and some of his art that just “didn’t work,” which he called trash art, and explained to them how some activities that he has done worked.
     He talked about the work he does to to help his community, such as Neoglyphix 2015, where he and other Native American graffiti artists used art to help at-risk youth in a program call Labor of love.
     “It was important [for me to come to the school] because my job as an artist is to inspire, and more specifically, to inspire the youth,” Manuel said. “If my journey and experience can be inspiration and/or motivation for a young person to spark their soul with some sort of power, then I have done my job.”
     Mrs. Baumann wanted student to learn not only about art but also about life, and to learn that art can have value even if it is not in a museum or hang in important places. She said she hope they realized how accomplished they are and how successful they could be, with hard work and perseverance.
     “[Art] does not have to hang in a museum to be good or meaningful or important. Part of what makes Dwayne’s artwork so amazing that it comes from his heart and speaks to who he is as a person.” said Baumann.
     Manuel is a part of the tribe Onk Akimel O’odham and part of the Pima Salt River Indian Community. All of his art is deeply influenced by his family and his tribe. His art is not the traditional cave painting type of native american art though, instead his art is a mix between traditional Native American art and the modern art that can be found on walls and buildings today.
     He began his art because he wanted to show people not all native american art is like people think or imagine it. His modern artwork looks nothing like the cave paints. Some things he said inspired his art were things like cultures, paint, environment, landscape, cityscape, people, conflict, resolution, color, texture, form, drama and movement.
     “Getting to where I am, it was just about putting in work. Working off one idea after another,” Manuel said. “I had no idea what I was doing at first, as time went on, as everything else in life, you figure it out as you go along. It’s been a long hard road, but it is worth it.”
     Manuel does all of his art in order to inspire, and teach others, teens in particular. He taught lessons such as that dark and gloomy art can help people through the hard times, and taught about encouragement, empowerment, perseverance, and determination. The students learned many lessons from him.
     “My lessons were primarily on higher education, art, and perseverance. I try to encourage teens by empowering their expression, ideas and thoughts.” Manuel said. “I want students to learn that we all have a journey to take and we should always choose a journey that is fulfilling, positive and worth something to our inner-selves.”
     Students, and even Manuel himself said that they enjoyed themselves. The students enjoyed the great lessons and stories he had to share. Manuel said he enjoyed teaching and sharing stores that would inspire the students to do great things.
     “I think he did a excellent job at explaining morals. I can take those and use them in my everyday life,” seventh grader, Samuel English said. “What I took from the lesson is that I can encourage myself to try different types of art. I really enjoyed him coming to our class. His stories are really inspiring.”
     “His work gave me inspiration to start art,” eighth grader Melissa Maris said. “I feel like I have learned a lot from him of how I wish to be. I would love for him to come again.”
     Manuel said he wanted students to take just one thing from his visit.
     “Do you, be you, and never give up, never surrender,” he said. “The time is now, the time is here; don’t waste the day. Get up, get out, and get something. Cry, smile, bleed, bruise, eat, and be well.”

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Graffiti artist visits school to inspire, motive students