When Isiaha Dickens ’22 was in the seventh grade he discovered his love for graffiti art while driving through the busy streets of New York. As a New York City native, Isiaha credits his love for graffiti to the rich street art and culture that exists in his city: “I don’t think I would have the same love and appreciation for street art if I didn’t grow up in a place like New York.”
Fast forward several years, Isiaha has since kept up with his self-taught craft, watching YouTube tutorials and picking up a can of spray paint to practice any chance he gets. Over his last three years living on campus, Isiaha has enjoyed the freedom to express himself through graffiti art and the many opportunities that he has had to share his craft with the greater community.
Isiaha explains that while he has always enjoyed graffiti art, something sparked inside of him during his NextTerm course last year, Making Good Trouble: Social Justice and Service, when he was tasked with the final assignment of creating something unique to represent social justice.
“I think graffiti art has a bad reputation sometimes because people associate it with vandalism, but when it’s done right it can be really expressive and powerful,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being able to bring more of that to Hun. Over the last year or so, I hosted a What’s Happening Wednesdays for the boarders and did a spray painting tutorial and more recently, I had the chance to help out with this years’ Middle School RadDay ‘Work of Heart’ class. For a while, I was even going on supply runs to get materials and graffitiing pieces for other students.”
Every Saturday for the past twelve weeks, Isiaha has been participating in an intensive course at TerraCycle studio to continue learning new graffiti techniques and to create. He notes that he is most appreciative that someone from the Resident Life office is always available to drive him to and from his class.
In the coming weeks, Isiaha will leave his final and permanent mark on The Hun School through his capstone project; he will be working closely with his mentor and graffiti artist Leon Rainbow to conceptualize and create a graffiti mural in Poe Dormitory.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to create something [on campus], especially since I lived in Poe my first year here,” he said. “I have an idea of what I want to create, I really like to graffiti planets, so I hope to incorporate that in my final design.”
Next Year, Isiaha is headed to Williams College with plans to continue to share his passion for graffiti with new classmates and friends and he notes he is excited to be heading to a place that reminds him so much of Hun.