We have been working on the final project in art 1 for 4 days now. And, let me tell you, it has been a blast. After making monoprints, I introduced the idea of surrealism. Then, as a class we talked about the “requirements” of the final project.
I talked about composition and how it was important to invite the viewer in and keep them in by creating an entryway, “lines” that help the viewer to move around, and depth to keep them there. I told them that an artwork is a 2-way street–both the artist and the viewer are important. Not only can you use the artwork to say what you, the artist, had to say, but you also want to create something that the viewer wants to look at. I told them that they could have this horrific subject matter, but if they created depth and interest that the viewer could get lost in and move around in, then they have won. They have solved both problems and their artwork is a success. I told them of a painting I saw in Vienna that was so bloody, but had so much depth, that I went and stared at it for over a half hour, just lost and wandering. I never showed them the painting, although I have thought about it. I can still just stare at it for quite some time and get lost.
“Kreuzwegstation”, Hermann Nitsch, 1961. (Translation, “Station of the Cross”)
But, back to the art 1 assignment. The last part of the assignment was the use of multiple mediums. I told the students that I wanted them to explore mixed-media art. I let them know they could use any technique or material we have used. I told them they could try new things we haven’t used. I was open to anything.
And off they went to collage. And, off I went to collage. We have been having a blast. The kids are loving looking through magazines and having me make photocopies. Every piece is so different. Some are serious. Some are fun. Some are just plain awesome. I can’t wait to see where they end up.
One student today said to me as I was walking around looking and asking questions, “I don’t know if I am doing this right. Is this what it should look like?” “It looks exactly like what it should look like,” I said, ” Yes you are doing it right. I am coming up with mine as I am going along.” He seemed very pleased with this answer. I know he is working hard and I can see he is making carefully planned out choices.
A serious piece about words that hurt us–I think she is still looking for the “right” eyes.
Yesterday, she said she wasn’t sure what to do. All she could come up with was trees.
Today I was joking around with the bottom half of some penguins I added to mine and told her to glue them to look like the feet were hanging out of the tree leaves. She did. And now she is painting in a volcano under the tree that the penguin will fall into. I told her this is awesome. It is so not serious, which is so different than her normal work.
This student has been inspired by both the highest point, Mount Everest, and the lowest point, the Black Sea. She chose the former.
Simple, at least for now, with just a set of eyes. Can’t wait to see what the conte will bring.
I have one student that pulled about 5 monoprints. She is creating multiple mixed media pieces and then will decide which one is the most successful and will turn that in. Here is one of them. I love the energy and her intensity with which she is working.
I have been having a blast, not only watching my students create and make choices and collaborate, but also creating mine. I think that the energy I am bringing to making my piece has rubbed off because the energy in the room is different. The way the students are working is different. And that is a good thing.
The students are funny. They are like, “Who are you?” “You are never like this.” “You’re examples are never this crazy/weird.” I told them, “Not weird, Awesome! My artwork is just awesome and you are jealous of it’s awesomeness.” Of course, this is all in good fun and they jab me right back. (Then the whole penguin thing occurred, so….um….yeah.)
But, here is my example, just in case you were wondering. Yes, that is a duck ship. Yes, it is beaming up an armadillo. And, yes, that condor is shooting laser beams at the unicorn. But, no, I don’t know what’s up with the monkey. And, no I don’t know which side the fish are on. I just know it is Animal Armageddon in Penguin Town.
The students have 5 more class, plus their exam period to complete their surreal mixed media artworks. Every day I look forward to my 3 art 1 classes. I can’t wait to see what they do next.