Artist, muralist, printmaker, and educator Nina Wright, also known as Girl Mobb, started creating graffiti as a teenager in her hometown in rural Ohio. She found a community of street artists when she moved to Oakland, CA, but struggled to find a segment of women making similar work. Each time she was curated into an all-woman exhibition, the same 5-6 artists were also selected. This lack of female presence prompted Wright to start a mentorship program, an attempt to increase the number of female artists creating street art in the Bay Area.

The figures she paints have their hairy legs displayed as they lounge, doing their nails near trash cans. Beyond owning a gritty-yet-femme aesthetic, Girl Mobb’s work is meant to stick it to the graffiti and street art scenes — two intersecting subcultures that are still overwhelmingly male and dripping with masculine ego.

This year, Girl Mobb has taken her advocacy for women in street art to the next level by starting a graffiti camp for girls with a sliding-scale tuition. The idea is to teach young women (ages 12-17) how to use aerosol paints in order to level the playing field in the street art game and encourage female youth to cultivate a painting community among themselves. Over the course of a week, the students learn basic techniques, then collaboratively imagine and execute a public mural on the side of a local gallery or business.

Girl Mobb conjured the idea late last year, after being invited to participate in an all-female street art show in San Francisco “for the twentieth time,” with a group of women who she says she’s shown with countless times before. “I love these people, but it’s always the same five or six artists,” she tells Creators. “I realized that there’s just not a lot of us out there.”

 

Soon after, Girl Mobb was commissioned to put together a list of all the murals painted by female artists in downtown Oakland. “There’s hundreds of murals in this area and I could only find twenty done by females, which is just ridiculous,” she says. “I just wanted to figure out what I could do about it.”

Each of Wright’s four sessions has filled up quickly, and she’s been asked to extend the camp to cities that lay outside of the Bay Area. The street artist hopes that with a growing base of volunteer mentors the program will help to correct the gender imbalance seen in Oakland’s street art scene and beyond. You can keep updated about future sessions of Graffiti Camp for Girls on the program’s website, and view more of the work made by Wright and camp participants on her Instagram. (via Creators Project)

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