My grade 7s are wrapping up their unit on collage. It was sort of an extension from their line drawing unit, where we looked at how we can represent ideas in different forms and mediums. Overall, I’m pleased with the results. The collages were given a coat of gel medium for extra strength and binding. View via the slideshow below or directly through Flickr here.
Following on from my previous post, I’m still thinking about a “remix” unit for an art class. I’m leaning more towards a still image approach, but am keeping an open mind. The video work of Christian Marclay (“Clocks” info, Telephones video) would be great, but complicated. I’m thinking more about how the combinations of items/images can create new meanings. How do we perceive appropriation? What and how can we “sample?” What and how can we transfer?
We live in such an overcrowded visual culture with advertising, the internet, social media, TV and numerous other experiences. What would be an artist’s intention to sample work? How is it easier or difficult to appropriate work? What are the physical acts involved in creation versus the digital? How are they separate and how can they overlap?
It’s a lot to consider and raises more questions, which I like. So, similar to the tech unit planned, I am leaning towards “How can existing works (images/items) be used to create something original?” as a unit question. With the concept I am thinking of including how context and the manner of appropriation is used (i.e. juxtaposition). Naturally, I still need to refine these areas.
This blog has suffered of late as I am taking an online course that is eating up all my free time. I will try to post some relevant ICT stuff soon. In about a month, I will also start planning a new grade 7 unit on collage. To my surprise, I found this video via the excellent Modern Art for Kids blog, which I subscribe to. I love it when the universe aligns like this! Talk about coincidence. It’s a pretty good video and I recommend you check out the blog as well, especially if you teach elementary art.
With summer vacation in full swing, I’ve been trying to catch up on all the books I have ordered this year. The first book on the art of collage I highly recommend is Masters: Collage: Major Works by Leading Artists, which was compiled by Randel Plowman, who also runs the popular Collage A Day blog. This collection doesn’t offer any how-to’s, but provides rich examples from 40 different artists and serves as a valuable resource for inspiration.
The second is Collage Lab by Bee Shay. This one offers 52 experiments, investigations and exploratory projects in the field of collage. It explores texture, surface design, imagery etc. Very useful if you teach a unit on collage or wish to investigate the medium further. I highly recommend both very much. Now I have to get back and continue with the other orders.
I stumbled across an Eric Carle exhibit yesterday while biking around Yokohama at Sogo department store (6th floor-info here in Japanese only). The Very Hungry Caterpillar is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year and as a previous kindergarten teacher, I have always loved his books for their simplicity and artwork.
The exhibit also shows several examples of the planning and draft phases he goes through to create his stories. They also provide an insightful video of him creating the caterpillar pictured left. His books are so enjoyable and easy to create cross-curricular activities with.
Last year grade 1 students created ‘paint’ pictures using KidPix based on the book Little Cloud. They completed these in one or two 45 minute lessons and were all compiled into a class book. My example for the students is pictured right. Of course, creating actual collages from painted paper works too! If you are interested in collage, also have a look at the work of Peter Clark.