What is Art?
It's an age old question. The question has been debated and the reason for the debate might be because the answer is so hard to nail down. Perhaps it should be hard to nail down. Who gets to decide what art is? In the Open Art Room, the student gets to decide. When the student decides, they might not come up with the answer we expect. That's what makes it so fun. Here is a look at some of the happenings this week at South B. Definitely an interesting collection of art.
It's a flower. its a lamp. it's a lamp flower. She brought in the lamp and presented it as a gift for another teacher at our school. However, the light bulb was mine. Where is my light bulb?!
The window frame was just sitting there in the back of the room. Morgan had been working as some illustrations that looked like stain glass. So why not paint on glass?
For the background texture, she applied gloss medium in thick layers with a old brush. When it dried, it gave the look of old glass which is exactly what Morgan was going for.
Your Head is our Canvas
You can't sit around on your phone in the art room. if you do, it's possible the other students will mistake you for a canvas.
He was good sport about it and even posed for the photo. Is it art? You decide..
I didn't know it but it turns out the nurse's office has shampoo bottles. Back in the art room, we dunked him under the sink for a hair washing. We also have a blow dryer. He was back to normal before the end of class.
The other Morgan has been working on these large pastel drawings. I think this is one of his best works so far. Very sophisticated. Hunter, who is really good with wood working, built the frame. This is a large piece, about four feet tall.
Meanwhile, Jo Jo appropriated several different stencils and combined them into one to create this work titled, Dandelion. Again, Hunter was there to create another frame.
Inspired by a Snack
Ace brought in some chips which we ate. The empty bag soon became the inspiration for Tim who decided to paint the label. The label then became the inspiration for Tim and Luke to create the giant bag. The giant bag became the inspiration for the giant chips.
Landon had been trying his hand a light painting. The guitar was drawn first, then he combined his photo with the guitar light painting with some help from Photoshop.
Two Days Later....
I showed the class a presentation on Buff Diss. He's a graffiti tape artist. Then Skye asked if she, and a few of her classmates could go look at something in the hallway. The didn't come back for two days.
Now every locker in school is covered in a skyline tape mural.
3D projects are like a box of chocolate. There is such variety of materials which can take any number of different shapes. You truly never know what you'll get. Over the last few weeks a number of sculpture type artworks have taken shape here at South B. Here is a look at just a few of those works.
Above: Cactus of Lights. The photo of this art work was taken wit hthe lights out but with the lights on it is equally as interesting. Note the hand painted flower pot. I found the drips reminiscent of Ai Wee Wee dynasty vases.
This photo was taken before the work was completed but who has the patience to wait to take a pic of a cowtar! Yes, strings were added and yes, it is playable. OK, when played it sounds more like a cow than a guitar but still, playable is playable. Hey, its a poor musician who blames his instrument!
Let's blame Clyde Caw. He got me started on the idea of the marble drop. When you have a few students who are better at problem solving than sitting in a chair, designing a marble drop is fine idea. OK, this one isn't much to look at. No form over function but we were going for a working model. This is the mid section of the drop. It starts much higher and ends much lower. It also took up an very large amount of space in the studio. For that reason the project's end was time sensitive.
Yes, the marble drop had a loop and yes, the loop worked! Don't ask me how but they figured it out.
This is a straight forward copy of what Ross Bonfanti creates when he stuffs wet cement into a plush toy,waits for it to dry, then rips it off. Still the results are always unexpected. Its both creepy and cute. It's also sitting in the display case. No one at school (except for the artists who created it) understands it.
This is also in progress and doesn't do the final work justice. Its all newspaper and in the end had a dress and head gear and is painted and has jewelry.
Ok I know we don't have many canvas boards left but i refuse to believe the students can't find anything else to paint on.
There is always so much beautiful work that is created in color that it sometimes overshadows the incredible work that is created in black and white. the following post is a shout out to all the artists at South B that are focusing on line and value.
Above: This is an engraving, scratched out of plastic and run through the print roller thingy. Yes, that rolly thingy serves a purpose besides crushing crayons.
Pencil drawing with both some nice line as well as shading being added.
This work was probably created as a sketch for a future color piece but there enough good stuff going on to stand alone.
This drawing (still in progress) is part of a concentration work about answering questions. The question was, what would you keep or change about yourself?
This is another engraving. the artists swapped out the faces of Mount Rushmore for the students in her art class. This is a photo of the plastic sheet, not the final printing.
its a drawing of an apple. Only one apple. not like that book where the art teacher makes the students draw an apple every day for a hundred days. I would never do that ;)
Stencil of a wolf, spray paint on paper.
Painting on canvas is a traditional art making process and it happens a lot in art classrooms across the world. But working off the canvas is also very popular but is often overlooked. This blog post is dedicated to some of the happenings at South B that are off the canvas.
For starters, the painting above is happening on the whiteboard. It's ok, I'm sure it will wash off... maybe, probably. I'm sure. The project involves combining traditional painting with digital photography. Actually, this artwork is a test to see if the idea would work as part of an AP Studio Art concentration.
It was an interesting concept and I thought it had potential but in the end the student wasn't in love with the process. He decided to move on to all digital and what he has is coming along well.
Morgan found the roll of roof felting and decided to have a go with the pastels. He started off in color, playing with movement and abstract shapes.
This is one of his more recent ones, black and white. I think there is a maturity to it. It's exciting to watch his progress.
Not just off the canvas but become the canvas. Keely decided to give make up a try as a medium and needed a canvas. Luckily Reagan was willing to offer up her face.
The idea was to make it look like her face was melting. In the photo, the make up is still wet so it looks like the make up is melting. But once it dried it looked pretty good.
Them "What are you gonna do with those bottle caps?"
Me "I don't know. You want them for something?"
The bulletin board hadn't been redone since last semester. It was time for an update so I suggested they consider that as their canvas. They quickly enlisted the help of several other students who worked under their creative authority ;)
When they were done, they hung a sharpie from a string and wrote a note...
"Pick a cap, write your name."
Everyone in the school has been stopping by to write their names in the caps. From students to staff to the admin and even someone named "Drip."
How does one start a new semester when you want all the students to know to retrieve, use and store work created in any media? Well maybe not all but a good foundation.... The Media Bootcamp!
We kicked off day one of the second semester with our first day of the Media Bootcamp. For day one we entertained charcoal, color pencil and pen and ink. We set up the Chromebooks so students could run through some simple tutorials. We created water drops in charcoal and bubbles in color pencil. Just simple stuff, not to make great art but rather to get a feel for the material.
This is one of the students working on a bubble tutorial. I should mention that we broke the class into sections. For day one, we rotated through a different material every 25 minutes or so. This gave everyone a chance to use each of the three media.
The second day we tried a few different media. In particular, we did oil and chalk pastel. These tutorials took a little longer so I think we only did those two that day.
See the tutorial? Bubbles again.
The chalk pastel tutorial in progress.
Day three we did a watercolor tutorials. We also did an acrylic tutorial but we didn't use a tutorial for that. I hand taught that lesson, teaching some basic tippy tappy trees, Bob Ross style.
Another tutorial included a simple block printing demo but that one didn't go over so well cause we only had the hard linoleum and students don't much like using it.
After the Media Bootcamp I felt students had a decent enough amount of info to work in those materials. Next, we went right into the first three subjects of The Nine. You can read more about The Nine in this month's SchoolArts Magazine!
Last week, the artists of South B participated in the Southport Woman's Club art show. The Woman's Club sponsors the show, the art work is judged, and prizes are awarded. After the show, they invite all participating artists to a yummy luncheon.
This year, we had many winners from South B. Look at all the ribbons! But Southport was only the first stop in the art contest. Those who took first place in their catergory went on to participate at district. Well guess what? We had a bunch of winners there too. Now those first placers winners have gone on to state! Eleven works in all!
JD won Best in Show and came in third place at district.
Jelonnie placed first in Southport, First in District, and has gone on to State.
Katie also placed first in Southport, First in District, and has gone on to State. These are just two of the eleven first place District winners.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues art teachers have a hard time wrapping their brains around is how, or if, TAB teachers teach technique. This is understandable since it isn't quite as linear as the traditional "teach a technique, produce a product that demonstrates that technique" model. In fact, teaching technique in the Open Art Room is often as divergent as the students and their projects.
We have already discussed two methods for teaching techniques in part four of this series. These include demos/mini lessons, demonstrated when one of the Nine are introduced, and the mini lesson's big brother, the Bootcamp. But what happens once all of The Nine topics have been presented? How will we continue to introduce ideas, concepts, artists and technique? Enter Technique Tuesday.
What's Tech Tuesday?
Every Tuesday (and again on Thursday), we will kick off class with a short presentation with the objective of introducing a new technique, technology, artist or concept. The presentations will adhere to, and rotate through, one of the four following themes: traditional techniques, digital techniques, hands on projects, and Artistic Behavior assignments.
The overall objective is to continually inspire students with new approaches to media and different ways of thinking. Each presentation will end with either a hands on demo or leave them with an optional assignment. In the same fashion as the TAB five minute demo, after the presentation the student has the choice to further explore the new information or work on their own student directed project.
Examples of the Four Topics
As previously mentioned, we will rotate through one of four topics each Tuesday and Thursday. Here are examples of the type of presentation that one could expect from each topic.
Traditional Techniques: The focus here is on traditional media and techniques. Students can expect lessons about drawing, shading and value, advanced watercolor or introduction to oil painting.
Digital Techniques: Here we will take a look at digital skills such a photo manipulation using Pixlr or 3D printing in Tinkercad. We will also explore other types of digital concept such as light drawing and forced perspective
Hands on Projects: As the name states, these demos will include hands on projects such as teddy bear printing, creating drawbots, flipping pancake art, or tie dying shirts.
Artistic Behaviors: These presentations will include big ideas such as Artists Steal, or Artists Impact Their Community. We will also introduce ideas from the Art Assignment as well as Work of Art. Students may use these advanced concepts to generate ideas for their own projects.
(((Mr. Payne sat across the desk as I signed off on my evaluation. It wasn't a bad evaluation but I personally wasn't happy with my first year teaching at South B. While some of the lessons and ideas I migrated from Apex HS worked, many did not. As I lamented over this, he gave me some great advice.)))
"It's going to take three years to get your program up and running," he said.
2018, the halfway point. Let's see where this goes...
This is part five of a five part series. Each part was posted to present the information in the most logical way. However, the series in not presented in the sequence used in class. To understand the sequence this series would be presented as such:
Part Four: Introducing Media
Part Three Subject Based Choice
Part Five: Teaching Technique
Part Two: Reflection
Part One: Grading
It's true, you don't know what you don't know. This is particularly true when it comes to using media. Before you can create a watercolor painting, it helps if you know that watercolors are available. It also helps if you have some idea how to use them.
As a traditional art teacher, this was never an issue. I would teach the material and then give the class an assignment based on that medium. As a choice-based teacher, I want students to decide which medium they want to use for their project, and I want this to happen as close to day one as possible. So how can I bring a whole class up to speed on at least a foundation level of what is available and how to use it? Start the year with a Media Bootcamp.
If you've read the Open Art Room, you are already familiar with Bootcamps. Bootcamps are best employed when an entire class needs to be brought up to speed on a particular media but demos or mini lessons aren't enough to cover the topic. Examples of Bootcamps include Drawing, Acrylic Painting, and Ceramics.
A warning about Bootcamps:
Bootcamps should be offered in moderation. The point of a Bootcamp is to bring the entire class up to speed so they can get to the art making part. It would be easy to go overboard on Bootcamps, offering so many they become the curriculum.
When considering Bootcamps, determine what the minimum amount of knowledge your students need to get started, run those Bootcamps, then let them make art.
Next semester, we will begin with a week long Media Bootcamp. Each day we will offer three different, but related mediums to rotate and explore through stations. Students will experience:
Day One: Dry media such as oil and chalk pastels
Day Two: Wet media including acrylic and watercolor paint
Day Three: Digital media including photo manipulation and 3D printing
Day Four: Hands on media such as printing, etching and ceramics.
Each station will include demo and video tutorials. Students will not only experience the media, they will have an opportunity to create a product as well.
After our week long Media Bootcamp, students will be introduced to the Nine. Each of the Nine topics includes demos and techniques that relate to each topic. For example, when presenting architecture, we will review linear perspective. This is one way for the inclusion of technique while still offering full choice. But what happens once all of the Nine topics have been presented? How will we continue to introduce ideas, concepts, artists and technique? Enter Technique Tuesday.
This is part four of a five part series. Read the rest here:
Part 1 Grading | Part 2 Reflection | Part 3 Subject Based Choice | Part 5 Teaching Technique
The traditional project, where the art teacher has the entire class create the exact same thing, has never worked for me. Student's skills come at different levels, they have different interests, and enjoy working with different media. It make sense to run the art room as a studio where the student is the artist and is capable of deciding the what, why and how.
Many students appreciate, and take full advantage of the open art room. They formulate their own ideas and are diligent about bringing those ideas to fruition. With the room set up as so, I serve as a facilitator, making sure they have the materials they need, while providing guidance and assessment along the way. But to be fair, some students require assistance formulating ideas. They need a starting point. That's why the Nine was developed.
A Word about Artistic Behavior Units
If you're familiar with my teaching, before we get into the details of the Nine, you may be wonder why I'm not talking about Artistic Behavior units. In the book, the Open Art Room, Artistic Behavior Units are presented as an intermediate level of choice. If the Nine had been created before the book was published, I would have presented this concept as a beginning level of choice, designed for students who have little or no experience working in a student-directed classroom. Once the Nine are presented, a teacher could introduce Artistic Behavior units. I plan to discuss this later. However, one of the benefits of the Nine is that once implemented, it can catapult students from beginner to advanced, skipping the intermediate level entirely.
The Nine is a list of subjects that one would make art about (not style or genre or technique). The Nine include: Architecture, The Figure, Imagination, Landscape, The Portrait, Conceptual, The Object, Nature, and Non Representational.
We start by only introducing three of the Nine. The first three are Architecture, The Figure and Imagination. Each topic is presented to the students as a packet that contained the objective, questions for consideration, video tutorials for further exploration and examples of artwork. The students select one packet they wish to pursue. Together we answer the questions and try a few tutorials. The students then decide which of the three subjects they wish to make art about. They then plan and create a final work.
About a week or so after the first three packets are introduced, we introduce another three in the same way. The only difference at that point is that students could choose from all six. About two weeks more and the last three are introduced and the same process ensues, with an option for any of the nine using any medium they want.
More on the Nine, with samples and links here.
Allowing students to use any medium they want raises the next question. How do the students know about the different available media and how do they learn technique? Enter Media Bootcamp.
This is part three of a five part series. Read the rest here:
Part 1 Grading | Part 2 Reflection | Part 4 Introducing Media | Part 5 Teaching Technique
If I had to pick the second most popular topic I've conversed with other art teachers about, it has to be documentation and reflection. Back in the day, it was blogging which was something I thought I would continue at South B. However, many of the popular blogging sites are blocked by our school district. I needed something that was user friendly, that could be accomplished without trips to the computer lab, and that had an app so students could complete posts on their phones. Seesaw fit the bill.
Did you Seesaw?
The two biggest Seesaw questions we considered were:
1. How often should students post?
2. What should they write about when reflecting on their work?
We tried several combinations including posting every day, posting at different intervals of a project, and posting once a week. In the end, simplicity and efficiency won.
In 2018, every student will post their weekly accomplishments once a week on Friday. They will do this regardless of whether they are finished, are in the middle of their project, or are just starting.
Along with a photo of their work, they will add a caption and answer one of the following four questions:
If they are still working on the piece and it isn't finished, they select one of the following topics as their photo caption prompt:
1. Describe your intended vision for this artwork. What are you trying to express or accomplish by creating this work?
2. Describe what you are trying to learn or improve by creating this artwork. (a new technique, medium, style, etc.)
If they completed their piece and it is finished, they select one of the following topics as their photo caption prompt:
1. Describe how you grew artistically by creating this artwork. Did you advance in your skills, learn new techniques, create a better composition, or solve new problems?
2. What goals are you setting for next week? Will you be exploring a new medium, learning a new technique, working in a particular style, solving a new problem, taking a risk, etc?
But this is the cart before the horse. What are these projects they'll be posting about? Enter The Nine.
This is part two of a five part series. Read the rest here:
Part 1 Grading | Part 3 Subject Based Choice | Part 4 Introducing Media | Part 5 Teaching Technique
Art of South B
This blog contains the work of Visual Artists, Computer Graphic Designers, Animators, and Street Artists from South Brunswick HS, NC
The Open Art Room provides a student-centered approach to art instruction that is inspirational, practical, and classroom-tested.