Street Art Meets Shades in Global Senior Project
To the average person on the street, a pair of sunglasses is either eye protection or a fashion statement. But for hundreds of elderly women hoping to learn the skill of producing street art, sunglasses represent a gateway to a whole new way of seeing the world. Thanks to a Portuguese eyewear company and its charitable partner, women from all over the world are getting a chance to learn something they’ve always dreamed of doing: becoming artists.
SKOG is the company behind the project. They have launched a brand-new line of eyewear aimed at anyone and everyone who appreciates street art and isn’t afraid of wearing it on their face. The project is known as the Lata 65 initiative. It brings together older and younger generations of would-be artists to socialize and learn in local workshops conducted by graffiti artists.
To date, the project has organized workshops involving more than 400 people over the age of 65. Even more impressive the fact that the oldest participants have been over 100 years old. Workshops have been established in the U.S., Brazil, Portugal, and Spain.
Decorating the Sunglasses
So, what are these budding artists actually doing? They are learning street art by learning how to decorate the frames of sunglasses. Armed with the same kinds of spray paints street artists would use to create graffiti, these ladies let their creative juices flow through color, shape, and texture. The painted frames are ultimately sealed with some sort of finish before lenses are inserted and the glasses are packaged for sale.
SKOG says that the frames are made with cotton-based acetate. Lenses are polarized and offer 100% UV protection. The company has not said how long the project will continue, but common-sense dictates that its longevity probably depends on the reception they get from both the Kickstarter campaign that funds the project and its eventual sales.
The ‘Graffiti Grannies’, as SKOG refers to them, enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the project and learn about street art at the same time. Maybe some of them will go on to become fantastic artists in their own rite. And even if not, learning a new skill is always good for the mind and body when you are a senior.
Why Choose Sunglasses?
The Lata 65 initiative is an interesting way to bring private business and charity together in order to benefit senior citizens. But why sunglasses? SKOG hasn’t explained. It could be as simple as the fact that the company wanted to get involved. They could have found the project rather than the project finding them.
Choosing sunglasses as a medium for street art is actually a great idea, according to Utah-based Olympic Eyewear. Olympic Eyewear acknowledges that sunglasses are as much a fashion statement as they are eye protection, and there aren’t a whole lot of ways to differentiate one pair of shades from another. Street art is an easy way to create very visible differences.
Olympic Eyewear may have a very valid point. After all, how many variations of the classic wayfarer can there be? You could line 10 different pairs of wayfarers up, examine them all, and not come up with many differences between them – except for the label and hardware. But remove the lenses and paint them all with spray paint, using different artists with different ideas, and you have something real.
Let’s hope the Graffiti Grannies do so well that their colorful sunglasses are a big hit. Maybe Graffiti Granny street art will even become the next big thing on the art scene.