At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?
This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.
In aid of World Youth Skills Day on July 15th we caught up with Mike Ness the owner of MBN Arts to talk about the importance of Creative Learning and what skills kids need to learn in today’s world in order to progress.
RISE: Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do at MBN Arts?
Mike: My background’s in Graphic design, but I’ve always loved the expressive nature of spray painting, so in 2015 I started MBN ARTS. I’ve been blessed to be able to work on a variety of briefs for a diverse range of clients. I get to provide opportunities to up and coming new local artists and use my passion to support the artistic and emotional development of young people through our workshops. As well as this we do also provide corporate team building which offers companies something a bit different in that aspect.
We try and work within the community as much as we can, and offer opportunities for all that wish to be involved.
Mike: Originally, I wanted to start this company to help support and provide an outlet for young (teenage) vulnerable males as I saw how receptive people were to the Urban Arts and Culture, more so than mainstream education.
The only struggle I’ve had with this is money, the people who might benefit the most from these workshops don’t necessarily come from the most affluent background so it’s been great to get these workshops out into the community and schools, and youth organisations, so that everyone can benefit from them.
RISE: What kind of skills do you think kids learn through your workshops & why do you think they are important for their development?
Mike: We don’t necessarily focus on their artistic ability, not saying we don’t want to give them the best opportunity to learn art & design, but we see it as secondary.
I feel nowadays organisations are wanting children to tick certain boxes or have them achieving certain things by a certain time or else they have seen to have failed. We want to support kids to progress in their own way.
The beauty of what we do, especially with the spray painting, is teach receptive transferable skills. They may sound cliché but they really do build confidence, learn social skills, how to work as a team together on projects and how to analyse and reflect on what they have done.
I think it’s important to look at your own work and take criticism or give your point across, so we try to weave those skills into our workshops as in this type of environment they are less likely to jump back or become insular about it. We want to help them build resilience.
RISE: What do you think are important skills for our next generation to learn now?
Mike: I think the soft skills like what I touched upon are necessary.
The UK is very much achievement and progression focused. Maybe learning to remove the external pressure within yourself. You can see we are under a lot nowadays, especially with the rise in mental health issues. But achievement isn’t always a qualification, sometimes achievement is someone simply turning up.
Giving yourself time to grow, prevent Burnout and be more productive by learning the skill to take a step back, enjoy, experiment, take risks and develop.
RISE: What skills do you wish you had been taught when you were a child?
Mike: It is important for us to remember that every kid has a different journey, we all have our own engines, some people are Ferrari’s- they can go really fast and have the control and it works for them, but some people have to plod along and go at their own pace , which is perfect for them, and that’s right. So that’s why we have to tailor these things for people. I’m not sure mainstream education necessarily does this.
I would have liked to be taught that it’s Ok to make mistakes sometimes, I think I would have taken more risks with my artwork and maybe at University. But I have learnt from that. I’m still learning today!
There are definitely some things that I have had to “unlearn” that don’t align with me. But I guess it is different for everyone.
RISE: You have a very exciting exhibition coming up “Crossing the Drawbridge” at Highcliffe Castle starting on the 18th July!
Mike: Yes, they hold galleries throughout the year but they wanted to do something a bit different this year and they had seen my work within the community and the workshops I provide and really liked it. They have been great to work in partnership with.
I created the concept of “Historical Heritage meets Current Creatives”. It will show a complete mixture of work from graffiti, sculptures, graphic design and more. We didn’t necessarily want to just show the stereotypical graffiti or street art, we wanted to showcase our styles that have been influenced by them.
People coming along will definitely see art they won’t have expected to see!
RISE: Is there anything else on the horizon at the moment?
Mike: I have just become an accredited provider by the Council, so now I can support a higher number of referred vulnerable young people, from different background and diversities for creative opportunities.
Also soon, I’ll be joining with an organisation to create a mixed medium Art form to offer a space that provides graffiti workshops, break-dancing and music tech classes. It’s all very exciting!
“Crossing the Drawbridge” at Highcliffe Castle will be running from 18th July until the 28th August, and visitors will have the chance to meet the artists throughout the summer who will be working on various projects there.
All photo’s are courtesy of the MBN Arts Website – www.mbnarts.co.uk