Saturday, December 8, 2007

Clay County Christmas

There hasn't been much posting on this blog becasue I am trying to move it to the school's website and that involves pretty much building a new blog from scratch. It's about ready, though... but I had to share this with you.

Each year, the school where I teach puts on a huge charity event for disadvantaged families at a sister church near Clay, WV. It's a truly heartwarming thing, seeing a whole school (two whole schools, if you count the grade school) come together to help others. Social work is a big thing in my school, and it always makes me a little teary-eyed to see kids who have so much working to help those who don't -- and they really enjoy it!

I decided to make a little video highlighting this program, and my 6th graders came together to do a neat little stop-motion animation sequence at the beginning of the video. It was hilarious, filming that sequence. Each student had a present to animate, and I would yell "GO!" and they would move the gift a little bit, jump out of the shot, and I would snap the picture. Then I would yell "GO!" and they would do it again. As crazy as it was, it worked really well, and the kids did a great job. I have never laughed so hard, though -- my sides still ache from filming it yesterday.

So, here it is:

This is truly why I love my job. I love my kids, I love the people I work with, and I love the way this school comes together as a community. You just don't find this in every school.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Felix Krasyk

Local artist and Charleston Catholic High School grad Felix Krasyk:

I love his art! I see a definite Picasso influence, with a little Kandinsky thrown in, as well. Makes sense, because he spent time in New York just as those artists were becoming well-known in the USA.

You can see his art at the Purple Moon in Charleston, WV, on Lee St between Summers and Capitol.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Packing Tape Sculptures and Artwalk

Watch all the way to the end for a special guest appearance by Fr. Doug! Congratulations to all the artists on this project. The sculptures are a hit!

Also I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you all that next week is the end of the 9 weeks -- can you believe it? Next Friday is our first portfolio review, and you also need to have your 1-page critique of an art exhibit turned in by then.

Artwalk is conveniently scheduled for next Thursday night (Oct 18th), from 5-8, and I highly recommend that you go. Artwalk is always a good time! If you have already turned in your critique from this nine weeks, you can apply your Artwalk critique to next nine weeks if you like. I will not accept critiques from any shows prior to October 18 for 2nd nine weeks, however, so get them turned in now for extra credit.

Speaking of extra credit, be sure to pick up a scavenger hunt form if you do go to Artwalk.

Of course, if you aren't available to go to Artwalk, there are plenty of venues that are open to the public regularly, so that you can visit and get your critique written on time -- and enjoy the art!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

7 Tonnes 2

I couldn't resist putting this up:

This is a really neat piece of 3-D animation by Nicolas Deveaux. Look at the textures! Everything looks so real!

Packing Tape Sculptures

"Dive Into Recycling" by my 2nd period class. These sculptures were inspired by artist Mark Jenkins.

The random body parts strewn around the room garnered a lot of strange responses from my middle schoolers and visitors to the art room.
Here's how it works: 1) wrap victim... er... subject in plastic wrap. 2) Wrap subject in tape, kind of loosely, so you can cut it back off. You need 3-4 layers of quality tape, more if you're using thinner tape. 3) Cut tape layer off in one straight seam (in an inconspicuous place) and carefully peel it off your subject, plastic wrap and all. 4) Tape pieces back together, and stuff with paper, or just leave clear.
This project has been a blast, and has encouraged students to work together as a team -- even those students who are not-so-social. It looks like chaos in my room, but it's been an awesome project to encourage teamwork and creative problem solving -- not to mention all the great discussion about recycling (and getting people to do it!)
I am excited to see the public reaction to our installations! There will be more, so stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Self Portraits -- Adv. Art for College

The inspiration for this project came from portraits by Chuck Close:

"Phil II" by Chuck Close can be seen at the Juliet Museum of Art, the gallery at the Clay Center right here in Charleston, WV. (Bet you didn't know that gallery had a name, did you?) It is part of the museum's permanent collection, so you'll see Phil hanging on the wall from time to time.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mark Jenkins Tape Sculptures

Mark Jenkins makes these really neat sculptures by making casts of dolls, human figures, and other objects out of clear packing tape.
This video shows the process :
It kind of freaks me out watching him wrap this baby doll in plastic, but it's just a doll. This will show you how it's done, and what we will be doing in class next week. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Artwalk is Tomorrow Night

Just a reminder -- September's Artwalk is tomorrow (Thursday, Sept 20) from 5-8 PM. Just go to any downtown gallery with an Artwalk sign in front, and pick up a map, or go to the website for more info (link is on the right.)

Future dates for Artwalk are Thurs Oct 18, Friday Nov 23, and Thurs Dec 20, from 5-8 PM. (These are also on the school calendar.)

If you're interested in doing the Artwalk Scavenger Hunt for extra credit, the items needed are listed below:

• a postcard/pamphlet/or handout from any 3 galleries showing art at Artwalk. (3 pts)

• An autograph or photo of an artist speaking at any of the showings (2 pts)

• An autograph or photo of any musical performers (2 pts)

• The name of a painting being shown at Artwalk and the name of the artist who made it (1 pt)

• The name of a photo being shown and the name of the artist who took it. (1 pt)

• The name of a 3-dimensional work of art being shown and the name of the artist who created it. (1 pt)

• A piece of biographical information about an artist (artist’s statement, resume’, business card, exhibit list) (2 pts)

• The name of a “master” artist (i.e. Monet, Andy Warhol) who inspired one of the artists to create art in the first place (Ask them!!! They will be glad to tell you.) (5 pts)

• The names of 3 galleries participating in Artwalk.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Phun With Photoshop -- Funny Digital Collage

Never believe what you see in photos. :)

I took a photo of the school, but it had a really ugly sky. (You can see the photo here.) I really needed to use the picture right away and didn't have time to wait for a prettier day to take the picture, so I was stuck trying to find a way to fix the sky. After trying unsuccessfully to fix the sky by adjusting the colors of the photo, I finally decided to just erase the sky* and "glue" the sky from another photo into the background in Photoshop. That worked well, and you can see that picture here.

But, I couldn't just stop there... I was having so much fun learning new things with Photoshop that I decided to make a funny digital photo collage. I asked a willing victim... er... student to strike a terrified pose, took a photo, and cut-and-pasted him into the photo; then painted alien tractor beams from the spaceships to the ground behind him. I then adjusted the color of the highlights in the picture of the boy so it looked like a yellow light was shining all over him.

*make sure your picture is on a transparent background for this to work. If it isn't already, you can cut the entire picture and paste it into a new workspace, clicking "transparent background" when you open up the new window.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Whimsical Wire Portraits

These fun and colorful portraits were inspired by the work of Alexander Calder. Below is Calder's "Portrait of Miro":

Monday, September 10, 2007

Blotted Line -- Advanced Art for College

For this project, we studied the blotted line technique used by Andy Warhol in his early advertising illustrations:

Line Designs -- Art I and II

To prepare for this project, we studied art by Keith Haring, the Maori people, and local artist Charles Jupiter Hamilton, among others.

For a first project, I am really impressed! Way to go, everyone!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Trial of Sherrie Levine

So, you've been reading about Copyright law and Fair Use and we've had some interesting conversations in class about using other artists' work in our own art (appropriation.)

Now we are going to further explore Copyright law by staging a mock trial of a modern artist, Sherrie Levine. Levine's artwork is well-known for her use of pop culture and master art images, and we are going to pretend in class that the artists whose work she appropriated are not happy about it and are suing. You will each be given a role to play in the trial, and must research your case so that you can present it in our mock trial. (Jurors, you will have to educate yourselves on both sides of the issue!)

All the information you will need can be found at this website:
Innocent or Guilty -- Deciding the Fate of Sherrie Levine. (Special thanks to Craig Roland of Art Junction for sharing this lesson plan!)

We go to trial on Monday, and I'll be the judge! You'd better have a good case, and argue it well in front of your jury. An artist's livlihood hangs in the balance! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Copyright and Fair Use

Who owns a work of art? Believe it or not, artists' images are protected by Copyright law. That means that if you come up with an idea (including artwork), your ownership of that idea is protected under our government, and that people have to get your permission to use that idea -- as long as you go through the process to get it copyrighted.

However, some use is allowed under Fair Use law, which allows for a certain amount of "borrowing" of ideas for the sake of artistic reference. This means you can sometimes use part of an image in your artwork, but not copy a copyrighted image directly into your art. It's tricky, though... the laws are getting tougher and tougher, and companies are suing artists for using their logos in their art without permission.

In other words, straight-up copying of another person's work is copyright infringement, and sometimes even referring to another artist's work, corporate logo, or mascot can get you into hot water, as well. It can also get you into trouble in my class, because I can not accept artwork that is not original. (Please see me if you want to reference copyrighted work for your own artwork -- there are ways to get permission from copyright-holders to legally use those items.)

This short video will attempt to make some (fun) sense out of Copyright and Fair Use law:

Also, here are some links that will help you get started with your first project, in which you will study Copyright law, Trademark, and Fair Use practices:

The US Copyright Office -- here, you'll find the basics about Copyright Law.

The Free Expression Policy Project -- there is a lot of info here about Fair Use, especially as it pertains to art.

Are Bullies After Our Culture -- a very interesting and thought-provoking article about the pros and cons of copyright law, and how it affects our freedom of expression in the United States. (Wired Magazine)

The FAQ About Protest, Parody, and Criticism Sites -- this site has a great basic FAQ about Copyright, Trademark, and Fair Use policy, and about what does and does not constitute a violation of these laws.

Put the Brakes on Trademark Infringement -- An article about the good and bad side of trademark protection.

You will be required to write a research paper and present it to the class about Fair Use. Please see me to discuss topic ideas. Good luck!

Special thanks to art teacher guru Judy Decker at the Incredible Art Department for all the information on Copyright and Fair Use.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mortar Man

This is the Mortar Man, a tiny sculpture hidden somewhere in the facade of a building here in Charleston, WV.

Do you know where he is?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Interesting Artist Quotes

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them, yourself."
-- Andy Warhol

"I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best. "
-- Frida Kahlo

"The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will start a revolution."
-- Paul Cezanne

Art 304 blog -- Howyadoin'?

If you're reading this, chances are, you're either a student of mine or someone interested in the Charleston Catholic High School Art program. You might also be another art educator and friend of mine who is interested to see what we're up to.

The purpose of this blog is to provide online resources for projects that we're working on in class, as well as for me to share news and other art info that might be interesting to students.

Keep your eye on this blog during the school year for useful information!