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Graffiti art inspires Clarkston student

Clara Zeder carries one of the panels out of the garage. Photo provided (click for larger version)
March 23, 2011 - Freshman Clara Zeder lifted the last panel of the set and carried it out of the garage.

It was all done - a five panel colorful blue and yellow piece to be displayed at Clarkston Junior High School for future students to enjoy.

Zeder used her artistic talent to span "Clarkston Wolves" across five panels, each four feet long and six feet tall, with graffiti writing.

She was approached last year by the leadership teacher Jon Paddock to do something with the panels.

"Students had told him about my artwork," she explained. "He thought it would be perfect to go up on the wall."

The project didn't happen last year but this year it took off.

Zeder made a few sketches and showed them to Monica McGraw, assistant principal.

"She selected the one she liked better," said Zeder.

The panels were taken down and Zeder took them home, beginning the project after school finished on Friday, March 18, and completing the piece on March 20.

It took about 10 hours, not counting the time it took for the colors to dry in between layers.

Zeder's interest in graffiti art began on a trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Inside the building, she looked at the exhibits and artworks but it wasn't her style.

"I wasn't really into it," she admitted. "I have a lot of respect for it but wasn't into it."

But it was the graffiti she saw outside the gallery that intrigued her. She went home to google more photographs and decided to give it a try.

"The colors are really bright, big and open where anyone can see it," she said. "All the different styles are cool - the big bubble letter and wild style where you have the big arrows going through. It is kind of hard to decipher at first and you have to look at it to really see it."

She sketched a lot of drawings as the ideas flowed through with colors while trying out different fonts and shapes.

"She loves it," said dad, Don. "Since she was a kid she would be in the sandbox by herself for hours. The whole world would pass by. Drawing is the same thing. She sits in her room for hours on end just drawing. Papers stack up around her with drawings."

Clara also did a piece for Sashabaw Middle School for the technology lab and has spraypainted in the family's garage just for fun.

"She gets a lot of compliments," said Don. "Not everyone is a fan of graffiti. It's not my cup of tea, necessarily. But she is good at it and her style has developed."

Clara also enjoys realistic drawings of people and began with a sketch of Eminem and Channing Tatum. She uses pencils, colored pencils, markers, charcoal and spray paint as her mediums.

She is unsure about her next project but added Paddock has a relative working in another school district looking for something similar. Her cousin also has a friend who is a T-shirt printer.

"He has used a couple of my sketches," said Clara. "He is working on a few samples now."

Don explained the T-shirts are branded using her unique tagline ETAK and a character she created Continued from page 17A

called Silent Rocker.

"He always has a can in his hand," she said. "I have done pictures of him painting walls or billboards. They picked it up and used it."

She draws when she has a free moment, explaining she is in the International Baccalaureate program in her freshman year and enjoys the challenges it brings.

"She is young for her grade and always has been," said Don. "But now she is taking courses not many freshman are taking. Along with running in track I don't know how she does it."

"I wake up at five, go to school, go to track, come home and do homework," Clara explained.

"And she is exceeding at all of it," Don smiled. "Clara and her sister, Hanna, make it easy to be a dad."

Clara's realistic artwork can be found on and her graffiti drawings can be found on

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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