Sunday, October 9, 2011

Inspired Artwork

I have the pleasure of teaching at a media arts school, which I try to take advantage of by relating the art we study to design principles when possible and by asking them to analyze artworks by utilizing what they know from their personal experience as artists/designers.  A little while ago, I decided to take this a step further by asking students to do a project for my class where they look through the book to find an artist who particularly catches their eye, do a bit of research about the artist's style and technique, and then create a work inspired in some way by that artist and write a short accompanying paper to share their research and process.

This student was inspired by the Impressionists, and went to a local beach to paint this piece in true Impressionist fashion en plein air.

Particularly inspired by M.C. Esher, this student created his own tesselation. 

 This student was initially inspired by Donald Judd's minimalist sculpture, and attempted to create a piece with similar qualities. Her end result was more Nevelson-esque.

 Unable to decide between creating a work inspired by Hokusai or Banksy, so he ended up referencing both! He copied The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Hokusai, and then added his own political commentary a la Banksy by painting a BP symbol on the side of the boat and dripping black ink on the painting to represent the oil spill. I thought it was a brilliant piece!

Inspired by Hannah Hoch's Dada collages, this student created a similar work related to the theme of the speculated impending apocalypse in 2012.

 This student initially found this project quite out of his comfort zone, and was drawn to Mondrian due to its simplicity - he found it more approachable than much of the other work in the book. He said his greatest challenge was related to creating balance in the work.

 This student created a small scale abstract expressionist piece inspired by Jackson Pollack's action painting technique. He mentioned the hardest part was knowing when to stop.

 Particularly inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, this student was inspired to create a portrait in keeping with The Mona Lisa and also experimented with materials in homage to The Last Supper.  She mixed acrylic paint with wet plaster to create the background, and the portrait is painted repousse. 

This project has been great for giving my students an opportunity to use their creativity in ways they aren't often free to do in their media art classes where the projects are a bit more structured. I've had some students try new artforms and be inspired to continue creating beyond this project. 

I try to make the project day in class special by pushing all the tables against the wall, bringing out easels for them to display their work on, playing some music, and bringing snacks to create a gallery opening type feel. I encourage them to wander around the room a bit at the beginning of class, and then we have brief presentations of their work. At the end, I tell them about local gallery openings and encourage them to visit local galleries and museums and to keep creating their own work!

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