"When I received my blind portrait I was amazed at how well someone was able to capture me within a drawing, it showed how I had a big heart, that was often hurt by the little things, it had my favorite flowers (daisies) on it, and the designs all over it made me feel like it showed how out going and off the wall I am. I absolutely loved it." ~McKaylah
The Blind Portrait
How do you draw a portrait when you have no idea who you are drawing or what they look like? Well, that was the assignment given to these students.
To kick off this unit, we watched an episode of Work of Art: Exile on Main Street. In this episode, the artists travel to Cold Spring, NY (a town I'm rather familiar with) to meet people and develop a work of art that reflects their personalty. After the video, we took a look at how other artists have created portraits, both representational such as Van Gogh as well as more abstract ideas such as (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
Next, each student filled out a questionnaire about themselves. There were four questions: What are your strengths, your weakness, your passions and your dislikes. No names were placed on the questionnaires though I did keep track of them by using numbers. The questionnaires were then distributed randomly. Thee idea was that no one would know which classmate's questionnaire they had.
Using only the questionnaire, each student was tasked with developing a work of art that captured the identity of the person who filled out the responses. At first there was push back. They didn't like the idea of not knowing which student they were drawing. Some tried to figure it out, but hey, that's cheating!
Last Friday we had a party with cupcakes and soda. Then each student presented to the class the reason they designed their work the way they did. One by one, I revealed the secrete identities (though some students had figured it out ;) Then they presented their finished artwork as a gift to the person whose portrait they created.
Below, are the words of the artists describing the reasons behind the imagery.
"The things that stood out to me on the blank portrait paper i received were that this person likes to be challenged, and that she was not good at drawing mouths and hands. The personality I pictured gave me the image of the popular "we can do it" propaganda. I purposefully messed up the hand and mouth to show this persons weaknesses. " ~ JD
"The person I had didn't really feel too sure of herself as a social person. But in her depiction of her strengths which happens to be kindness, helpfulness, and leadership I imagine the qualities of a superhero." ~ Malcom
"The person was open minded, loved to challenge his mind, body, and game." ~Walker
"The reason I used Pizza, two sub sandwiches. and black olives is because my person hates pizza and black olives. The reason I used the sub sandwiches is because she works at subway. One things she was super passionate about was music and that is why all of the things she hates and the one thing she did like makes a music note." ~ Drew
"Unfinished. This person listed many condiments that he didn't like, I took it upon myself to have something he doesn't like come after him. He says hes a football player so hes in his uniform and he said hes good at art so the palette is protecting him from the evil mayo container with beans and his evil ketchup and mustard minions." ~Madison
"For this art work I painted my person handing out bunch of ice creams at once to show how he likes selling things. Since he worked at tropical treats, Ithought it was fitting to draw ice cream and the logo. I used watercolor to make it colorful and lively." ~Kirsten
"For this art work I drew a person facing what she did not like which was pizza. I tried to portray her facing what she does not like. I used colored pencils and shaded in the color using a white colored pencil to make it more smooth." ~Shannon
"The person I had for the blind portrait had described herself as a forgiving and eccentric person, although others didn't deserve her forgiveness. She had also said her favorite flower was daisies. I decided to capture that eccentricity with the zentangle and the willingness to forgive with the daisies, patches, and band-aids to show that she still has a good heart when people take advantage of it." ~Jelonnie
We took a look at space and how artists sometimes do more than simply hang their art in a space. Sometimes they design a work of art around a space, fitting into the space seamlessly.
Next, we broke off into groups and then walked around the school, looking at varies spaces and considering designs that could incorporate these spaces. When the groups returned, they all had plans for installations they wanted to create. Here is a look at a few of the completed installations.
For this unit, we took a look at how artists use metaphors in art. We explored artworks, some humorous like the work of Banksy, and some serious like the work of Christian Marclay. The unit's objective was simply to explore the concept and determine one's way of addressing the metaphor.
Some student's selected to illustrate metaphors, while others decided to substitute certain images in order to create their own metaphors. Here are some of their works, most still in progress.
Did you ever look at an item and think, this could be part of something greater? That's exactly what this unit is about. It's about selecting an object and using it as the basis for creating a work of art. The objective is simple; select an object from the large pile of junk, then create a work of art that somehow incorporates the object.
It doesn't matter how the object is incorporated. It could be visibly displayed, as is the case in the Ironman sculpture, or the item could be used to create the work of art, as is the case in the spray paint stencil of the chain. The only rule is that it should be obvious which object was used for the inspiration.
Most of these are still works in progress but you should be able to see where each is going.
Art of South B
Artwork by students at
Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) is a student-directed art education pedagogy that directs students to think and work as artists.
Making Artists picks up where The Open Art Room left off, covering issues and situations choice teachers encounter as they design their program.
The Open Art Room provides a student-centered approach to art instruction that is inspirational, practical, and classroom-tested.
Click Here to read the March SchoolArts Article, Student-Directed Answers to Five Frequently Ask Questions
Click Here to Read the April SchoolArts Magazine Article Tracking Student Progress with the Burn Book!
Click Here to Read the February SchoolArts Article, Build A Dynamic Art Program with Modular Teaching!