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Stunning Artwork Display from Creative Engagement Project

A note from Ms O'Reilly, proud Art teacher

I'm delighted to see the exemplary Artwork displayed on the wall of Chanel College from my 5th Year Art students - this is a creative engagement project - myself and the students worked on with street artist GAG. The piece is based on vulnerability and masculinity as a starting point. Students were able to explore this in their own individual way and then express this through the art making process. The students have worked hard on this project so I would appreciate if you could congratulate them. See student's names below. I've attached reflections and more information about the artwork if anyone would like to read. Thanks to Mr Carroll for helping the installation team put up the artwork where it is now on full display for all to admire and appreciate.

Artists involved:

Aaron Callaghan, Jason Campbell, Jake Cashell, Aron Cooling, Dylan Deegan, Vakaris Galinaitis, Jack Gillies, Luke Gorman, Kevin Lin, Jack McEvoy, Luke Senior, Shane Siggins, Aaron Ward, Ryan Wilson, Alex Christie.

Project Details:

Title of the Project - Inner World

Materials used – Mixed media, vinyl, photoshop.

Names of Teachers involved - Emma Reilly

Name(s) of Artist(s) involved -Gag – Gearoid O’ Dea

Year group & no. of students:5th year students

Teacher’s reflection: by Emma Reilly

This project was very rewarding as an Art teacher. The most rewarding part was showing the students the final art piece and their reaction to the work. Students are so proud of their work and delighted with the way the individual drawings were collaged together. The students learned a range of new skills and have valuable insight in the way an artist works from concept to realised final artwork. Students have a better understanding that Art is not just a painting, that Art is all around us in designs, what we make and have a higher level of critical thinking towards the subject of Art. And to see how an artist can have a profession they could also have a career to follow. Students worked from different ideas and resources. Some worked from photography, and some got highly influenced by other artists. There was a wide and diverse set of ideas and drawings. This project will directly help their future classroom work and the way the student view Art as a whole. I would like to thank the students for all their hard work and Gag for his exemplary artist skills throughout the project. Ms. Reilly’s 5th year Art students started working on ideas for the Creative Engagement Project starting with the ideas of looking at their own lives in school so far. We started looking at the word’s vulnerability and masculinity as a starting point. The students created mind maps with their ideas and researched artists with the same topics in their artwork. The students created several mind maps, research drawings, changing and refining their ideas throughout the whole project. We worked with street artist Gag (Gearoid O’ Dea) on this project. The students had a workshop with Gag where the artists talked about his own work and how it goes from starting point to final realised artwork. Students all worked on their own individual drawings in the workshop, but in class time and the workshop we talked about how the individual art pieces would be combined to create one collaborative art piece. Students would often talk to each other about their own work, and they would walk around the room to see how everyone was progressing with their artwork. Gag scanned all the student’s artwork digitally and collaged the artwork together on photoshop to create one final piece. The artwork was printed onto vinyl and placed on the school reception wall for everyone to enjoy, talk about and wonder.

Students' reflections:

“The image put together by a professional was created by the contribution of everyone in the class.

The image represents the emotions and experiences in school and how different people perceive the educational system in various ways, especially in an all-boys school. Each contribution to the piece acknowledges how that individual feels about their experience in Chanel College, weather their time here has been joyful or stressful, it is important for everyone to express those feelings in their own way. The colourful image invites the viewer to enjoy it but also think about the mixture of thoughts being expressed through it.”

by Aaron Callaghan

“For our project this year Ms Reilly brought in an experienced artist, known as Gag. Before he came in, we had to think of our own separate ideas. We were given some topics and words to brainstorm from such as masculinity, but vulnerability caught my eye. I started brainstorming and researching about this and I liked the idea of the vulnerable animals in the world. I had a few different animals to sketch from, but I wanted one with more meaning, so I went with the whale. I think that the whale is a very lonely mammal and sometimes a lot of teenagers can be lonely especially in school. Now I had my idea and reasoning, I sketched out a few different whales, but I thought just the one big whale had the biggest meaning. When I first sketched out my whale I did it a few different ways, in pencil, watercolours, pastels and oils. I also sketched different scenes for the whale like I added him into a circular bowl hanging down. I thought it looked well so I had two different styles for Gag to choose from.

When he first came in, he showed us his work and a bit about him. After his presentation he went around to each of us individually and helped us out with our projects. Each of us had everything laid out on our own desks, from our first sketches to our final idea. When he came over to mine, he liked the idea of the singular whale on its own but thought it could have more detail and more realistic. So, he printed out one of my pieces and showed me how to make it seem more realistic, he used a technique with markers and colouring pencils. He would go over the chosen area in marker and for the shaded areas he would use the coloured pencil to shade it in. I never seen this technique used and thought it looked great. So, after he showed me that I tried for myself, and it turned out great. I then got a white ball point pen and added a few small details to the eyes. Even though my piece was the same before he came, the small details he showed me really made my piece come to life.

After we finished all our projects, we sent them to Gag, and he did his magic and put them all together in one piece. The final product is going up in our school and it looks amazing. Even though there is so many different colours and drawings, it seems to all match together and each drawing has a different meaning. I would like to thank Gag for his time and his amazing help with our art projects.”

by Aron Cooling

“Coming to school isn’t always about sitting in a classroom and learning things off the board, but it’s about the lessons we would learn from the people we surround ourselves with.”

by Alex Christie

“Been yourself makes who you are.”

by Aaron Ward

“I enjoyed seeing how each person showed how they view life in school in all different artworks.”

by Luke Gorman

“It was very beautiful; he has put everyone’s idea together and I was so excited and happy the moment I saw my drawing of giraffe on the left of the artwork. At that moment I felt that my efforts were all worth it and I really enjoyed it.”

by Kevin Lin

My thoughts working on the art project

Working on this project was a blast for me and I enjoyed every step of it. Then the project was announced we ware only given few words to go off to like for e.g., “Masculinity”, “All boys school”, “Vulnerability”. Every student chose the theme they wanted to display on the project, I chose to make like a ribbon that connected everyone with every type of student in the school whether it’s a class bully or the students with the highest grades, I wanted to show how 1 individual is between everyone and between the pathways that lead him being one of those students.

My original drawing and meaning

My original drawing also had a clock that has a shard if it broken, and you can see all the colors representing that if we beat time then we break our limit and continue going without the worry of time. On the other side of the clock, it showed that it was melting meaning that for some student’s time is a big issue and it put pressure on us, some have couple thing not handed in others have homework due to next day, so time is a big part of school, and you must learn how to manage time efficiently.

Final piece

Once my idea was done, I had several different kinds of ideas on the table with my main one ready to go. We also had a visit by “Gag” (a popular street artist) for a workshop that took a while school day, and it was fun. He showed us his techniques and how we could use different color combinations to make our ideas better. Later we all handed in our ideas, and they all were going to be put together into one giant art piece that you see above the text. This art piece bis going to be put on a wall inside of school.


Overall, I enjoy making this project it was a fun time with friends comparing each other’s ideas and wondered how the artist would put them together, and once we got handed out the final product, we were shocked in how good it turned out to be. Great job by every student to make one amazing piece of art.

by Vakaris Galinaitis

Artist's reflection:

by Gag

For this project, the idea was to create a collaborative art piece based on street art. This took the form of a large wall mural. I spent time with the class and devolved their artwork alongside their teacher. Having made a presentation to the class discussing the themes of my work, we then spoke about creating works based on themes of vulnerability. Their work was insightful, and they demonstrated great core skills. After the class, the artworks were collected and scanned digitally at a high resolution. The images were then collaged together in photoshop, creating a mural that would reflect the overall themes of the project. The piece was then printed at a large scale on vinyl stickering and applied to the wall of the hall in the school.

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