Giving back to your neighbourhood and knowing your history are two important aspects of graffiti and street art that are often forgotten.  It’s important to remember where graffiti came from and how we can progress as well.  The Dragon School was founded by a graffiti art collective in Oakland’s Chinatown in California.  The school teaches all ages of bombers and is helping to bring in the next generation of writers in a positive manner and bring some beauty to their neighbourhood while doing it.  The Golden Dragon character is prevalent in Chinatown these days and seems to be on every corner.  It is a beautiful symbol of power and artistic expression and brings the Oakland streets to life and we have artists like DR. DRAGON and the other members of the Dragon School Collective to thank for this.
What do you write, or in this case what character are you known for?
We were first recognized for our golden dragon throwies done in Rusto gold and black. Although we love letters, there is something beautiful about character throw ups. It is in a similar vein (but not as good) to what writers like Gats, NiteOwl, Jaber etc do.
Are you one person tagging or more of an art collective?
We are a collective of artists, thinkers, collaborators and a true homegrown group of good people that wanted to start making Oakland’s Chinatown more interesting.
When did your you guys start doing graffiti?Our founder, Dr. Dragon, started bombing Chinatown with golden dragons in the Summer of 2015. Most of these dragons were not permission, so technically not legal for 90% of them. In general, we have members who had never touched a spray can before this and others who have been writing and bombing for the past ten years.
img_0604Where are you from? 
We are a collective so we hail from different areas. a few of us have deep roots in Oakland and more specifically Chinatown. Our lead teacher, e47, has a studio in Chinatown.
Do you have a favourite spot or surface you like to paint?
Our well known Dragon School wall near the 880 is a favourite spot. We change the scene often. Most recently inviting two people to incorporate graffiti writing with our mural. We also like brick quite a bit.
When did you first start teaching others to do graffiti?

Dr. Dragon started teaching kids how to do golden dragon throwies in 2015. These were local kids that were from a charter school in Chinatown and included black, white, Asian and Hispanic kids that wanted to be involved. We aren’t exclusive but rather inclusive with involving artists and kids. Individually, some of us have been teaching graffiti to youth in Oakland over the last 7 years.


At what point did you decide to open The Dragon School?
Dragon School kind of organically formed in the Fall of 2015, Since then we’ve gotten more organized but still have no agenda other than to make the streets interesting, give kids a creative outlet and have a great time.
Does the Dragon character have specific meaning to your collective?
Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and Chinese folklore. … Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, typhoons, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it. We feel that our team is full of integrity (no bullshit, not able to be controlled by politics and don’t pander).. Furthermore, in the late 19th century, poor Chinese prospectors were told of stories that the streets of California were paved with gold, and was known to the Chinese as “Gold Mountain”. By initially adorning our streets of Chinatown with golden paint, we pay respect to the rich history of Chinese migration to the United States.


What would be the main goal or mission of The Dragon School?
The primary goal is to bring collaborators together from kids and even adults in the community with a wide array of artists –  from graffiti artists that are known to “get up”, and also muralists, street artists and designers. We don’t discriminate on the kind of art, but we are adamant about trying to invite artists that respect what we are doing, care about communities and kids.To bring people of all backgrounds together to create positive change in the community. In particular to teach kids to have pride in their neighborhood and to take an active role in the place where they live.
What is the age range of your students?
12-18 is the primary range. Most of our students are in high-school, and a some are as young as 10, but even a few tykes have taken up a can for us. We have taught youth as young as 5 years old and up to adults. Whether hardcore bombers, local artists or simply someone interested in making a positive impact in their community; everyone is welcome to either teach or to learn.


What would be your advice to young writers coming up in today’s Graffiti scene?
 To not worry about the pettiness, beef and drama that can often come with graffiti. It is important not to get caught up in the little things. We all have something valid to say. Say it in whatever way is your own.  A simple tag or bomb can be just as beautiful and take just as much skill as the largest mural. On the other hand be respectful and understand there is room for everybody. Know the historical order of things.Don’t bomb on other people’s work if it’s a planned piece. Generally the more time and work put into a graffiti or street art production, that effort should be acknowledged and respected, whether or not you like the artist or the work.


Anything else you would like to add?
We want to thank everybody that has supported our program and especially thank artists for participating. It comes down to showing kids they can do whatever they want—letters, characters or both. It’s a medium for expression and fun and sometimes mischief…
Follow The Dragon School on IG here.
Article By: Skaz One