One Female Artist Is Standing Up To Gender Stereotypes By Creating An Empowering Program For Young Girls

It's pretty cool.

When street artist Girl Mobb was invited to an all-female street art show in San Francisco and noticed the lack of artists participating, she knew something had to change.

"I love these people, but it's always the same five or six artists," she said to Vice's Creators vertical. "I realized that there's just not a lot of us out there."

The artist, whose real name is Nina Wright, was then commissioned to compile a list of female artists who have created murals in the downtown Oakland, Calif., area.

"There's hundreds of murals in this area and I could only find twenty done by females, which is just ridiculous," she said. "I just wanted to figure out what I could do about it."

After this experience late last year, Girl Mobb decided to start a graffiti camp for girls ages 12 to 17 simply called Graffiti Camp for Girls. The goal is to empower them to pursue graffiti art in their own communities. Throughout the short-term camp, the girls learn the basic techniques of working with aerosol paints in order to work together to brainstorm and create a mural on the side of a public gallery or business.

The camp launched in April thanks to a grant from Southern Exposure, a nonprofit arts organization in San Francisco, and has had four sessions so far. To Girl Mobb's surprise, the project hasn't received any backlash from anyone who thinks that street art is unconventional territory for females. Instead, she's found supporters that range from her parents to strangers on the street.

"They didn't even bat an eye at it," she says. "It made me feel like I wasn't being controversial enough."

Creators caught up with the Graffiti Camp for Girls in North Oakland, where students were reimaging the Bay Area Rapid Transit trains, known as BART, to be filled with zoo animals.

There, they met Lucia Fressola, a 17-year-old who said that she found out about the program through Girl Mobb's Instagram and was instantly intrigued.

"I'm all about female artists in male-dominated fields, so Nina's been a huge inspiration," she said.

Fressola wants to start an all-female graffiti group with her friends and notes that she's sick of older men in the graffiti art scene who ask her to pose in front of their work instead of taking her interest seriously.

"It's just scary going out there knowing that there's a bunch of dudes who aren't going to be nice to you –– who are gonna cover up your pieces and everything," she said.

For Girl Mobb, Graffiti Camp for Girls is something she's proud of creating and hopes that it will help shift the gender imbalance in the street art scene.

"That's what this is all about for me," she says, "finally I'm hanging out with my female peers and getting to make some more little female destroyers."

Check out more images of the Graffiti Camp for Girls in action below:

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