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Sunderland kids learn how to create graffiti

  • Eamon Gillen, a tattoo artist from Worcester, points out details in the mural he helped paint with a group of kids at the Sunderland Public Library, Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Lincoln Allis, 10, of Conway, spray paints a section of a mural at the Sunderland Public Library, Saturday, July 23. Allis was one of several kids that helped paint a mural depicting the Connecticut River flowing through Sunderland, under the instruction of Eamon Gillen, a tattoo artist from Worcester. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Eamon Gillen of Worcester, his wife, Alicia Gillen, on left, and Megan Russell, the Sunderland Public Library Head of Young Adult Services, stand back and look at the finished mural a group of kids worked on under Gillen's instruction, Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Sophie Leone, 11, of South Deerfield, paints some trees on a mural depicting the Connecticut River flowing through Sunderland, at the Sunderland Public Library on Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Zenani Himlin-Mayekiso, 11, of Greenfield, spray paints her name in the corner of a mural depicting the Connecticut River flowing through Sunderland, with her sister Aviwe Himlin-Mayekiso, 15, at the Sunderland Public Library Saturday, July 23. Zenani and Aviwe were joined by several other kids who helped paint the mural with the instruction of Eamon Gillen, a tattoo artist from Worcester. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Lincoln Allis, 10, and his sister Grettle Allis, 17, both of Conway, spray paint sections of a mural depicting the Connecticut River flowing through Sunderland, at the Sunderland Public Library Saturday. Lincoln and Grettle were joined by several other kids who helped paint the mural with the instruction of Eamon Gillen, a tattoo artist from Worcester. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • A group of kids work on spray painting a mural, with instruction from Eamon Gillen, right, of Worcester, at the Sunderland Public Library on Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt



For the Gazette
Monday, August 01, 2016

SUNDERLAND — Young residents of Sunderland and its surrounding towns had the chance on Saturday to dabble in a more unusual art form – graffiti.

Seven children age 10 to 17 participated in a graffiti painting class at the Sunderland Public Library. The class was taught by Eamon Gillen, 33, of Worcester, who has been spray painting since he was a teenager.

Gillen feels it is important for children to be exposed to all kinds of art.

“You have more of a chance to see what you like the more you’re exposed to different mediums,” Gillen said.

Many of the participants had never tried spray painting before.

“It’s not a medium you would usually get to work with,” said Grettle Allis, 17, of Conway, who loves drawing, painting and sculpting.

“It’s so different than every other paint,” remarked 11-year-old Maddie Bialek of South Deerfield. “It’s nice to try something new.”

For 12-year-old Lola Russell of Sunderland, it allowed her to see the hard work behind a piece of art.

“I’m always seeing graffiti because I hang out at skate parks,” she said. “It was nice to see how that’s all done.”

The seven participants worked together to paint a colorful plywood mural of trees, hills and a river, with “SUNDERLAND” written in capital letters hovering in the foreground. Each signed his or her name in white when their work was complete.

Megan Russell, youth services librarian at the Sunderland Public Library, organized the event following a suggestion from a library volunteer, who knew Gillen had done a similar program at the Worcester Public Library.

Though Russell was aiming to find events of interest to boys, only one boy attended: Grettle’s 10-year-old brother, Lincoln Allis. Lincoln, his mother Melissa said, has quickly developed a love of spray painting.

“I think he’s seeing it on trains and buildings and it just looks so cool to him,” Melissa Allis said. “They don’t teach graffiti in school. It’s so different.”

Melissa Allis recalls her son spray-painted the American flag on a wooden pallet for Independence Day.

“I think it’s great because it is an art form,” she said.