Below are just some examples of how we are challenging some traditional techniques with a fun spin to create thoughtful, Contemporary art. There are also lessons on taking a traditional application and adding an element that has not been explored before.
Contour self portraits printmaking, a new approach to examining oneself in a mirror. The lesson started by viewing ourselves on a mirror, drawing over what was reflected. The mirror is laid flat on the table. Taking a water soluble oil pastel, trace the features of the face, and the hairline. Once lines are drawn, take a saturated wet piece of paper. Place it on top of the water based oil pastel, rub hands on the surface and then lift, revealing your contour portrait. Each camper traced 3 different images of themselves, overlapping them in some way. Colors were of personal choice. Lastly, each artist then chose if their piece could be enhanced by adding just a bit of water paints in one common area.
Studio 4 Art loves printmaking. Here campers created a screen print that was then incorporated onto a slabbed piece of clay. Campers were introduced to foreground, background, pattern, color and silhouette and contour line. Their background was composed of pattern and color. We talked about dynamic patterns, and patterns that would allow our image to "pop" off the clay. For screen printing with our students, we use a water proof glue, curtain sheers (from a local recycling center) and an embroidery hoop (that is used over and over again). Completely non-toxic and green. *the first 2 images are before they are fired, and the second 2 are after firing.
I love experimenting! I have been reading a lot on gelatin prints and decided to give it a try. It was a great way to introduce layering to our campers. Playing with colors going from dark to light and light to dark and the effect of each. Colorful layers could be put on with a brush or a printing brayer, each creating their own texture. The kids LOVED it. The feeling of the gelatin was of course a hit, but the overall experience and the ability to experiment just to see what was going to happen was a true hit. A great element of surprise.
Mobiles! Creating items in 2 dimensional form, then turning them into hanging sculptures, is a lot of fun. Organic shapes cut out, line drawing with sharpie to create visual texture, finishing with some water paints for lots of color. Then learning how to work with wire and all of their shapes to create a balanced art piece.
In our textile design class, we had our students learn how to machine sew, but they also got the chance to design their own Studio 4 Art shirt. Campers in our summer textile camp become designers through learning to draw clothes draped over a figure, how color affects an outfit, different types of fabric and their make-up. We discuss how fabric is made as well, whether it is from a natural material (such as cotton), or if it is composed of recycled material (such as fleece).
For the love of color and a zing of imagery. Here are campers that are creating a background with primary colors. Pattern was discussed as organic and geometric. Primary colors were used and brush technique and control were taught. This was a little Keith Herring inspired work. Not shown, campers also sketched each other in a pose that implied movement. The pose(s) of their choice along with art that communicated a positive message was added on top of their patterned background.
Contemporary art highlights many of the things that are happening in today's world, through observation, awareness and participation. This is just one of the reasons Studio 4 Art is focusing more on Contemporary art. We want our students to become aware of the world they live in and to apply themselves to creating a better world not only for themselves, but for those that come after them too.
Creating a sketch before an actual project, is practiced regularly. It allows to brainstorm ideas, to get the mind working in a creative way, working out some of the problems that may occur, allow focus and attention to detail. It also grants students of all ages to know that sketching is a place to "mess up" and to think our ideas through. No erasing is necessary (although surely okay) because they are not meant to frame, to put into a museum or art gallery. As our campers get older, their judgments on themselves become more critical, forgetting to just let go, to explore and to play. We hope that we are teaching them at this stage, to go back to playing for that is the place of discovery and wonder.
Campers on this day were designing finger puppets that were later made out of clay. They each made three to help with stories to be told later in a puppet performance.