Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sharing a Part

As I reflect on the lessons of the year, there is one that caused the students to ponder what it means to create, to share with other artists and to take their works and create something personal and original. The lesson started with the technical aspects of monotype printmaking using ink and plexiglass. We observed several different examples of Jim Dine's hearts, as well as Peter Max's hearts and other prints. With the constraints of time and materials we focused on hearts as the theme. However, we emphasized how as artists we could express our individuality and create original works by using different colors and patterns in our work. We explored color with loaded brushes as it mixed and created new colors as well as designs. The first session allowed each student to create at least one monotype print.
We began the second session by discussing what we thought would happen if we shared with other artists: exchanging parts of our own work with others. We had experienced collaboration via TASK (see Oliver Herring) and watched Janine Antoni's "Moor" where she integrated others' contributions to her work. They then were instructed to cut out the heart and divide it into quarters. Some were horrified that they were expected to take their work apart. Others were excited to share with specific individuals in the class. Other students decided the work was most important and judged which works were to be part of the final work. It had to fit artistically for them and they were ready to influence or beg to get the parts they wanted. It was fascinating. As the students worked through the problem of exchanging the quarters to form the heart, they also became aesthetically critical, deciding how to transform the collage into their own once more using color sticks on the background. Their artist statement, which they shared on the back of their work, focused on one of the following prompts:
What surprised you by using someone else's work in your own work of art?
How did you feel about sharing your work with another artist?
How did you integrate other artists' work into your original art?

I think the process caused my students to evaluate their connection to their own work. As they continue to develop a relationship to their art making and with other artists, I wonder how they will grow as artists.

What are some ways you push your students to re-evaluate their process?

1 comment:

  1. Teaching my students to think like artists and not just learners became important to me as I grew as an art teacher. I thought primarily what I do and how I learn as an artist and apply those practices with my students. Like you, they need to see what's been done already, steal or borrow ideas, adapt them to suit their needs and construct some new form of art. I still get hung up on "critiques" but the kids enjoy looking at what their friends made, writing statements and appreciating the differences in all the work. Letting them explore, practice and apply, adjust and examine has so far created a fun environment in art.