Thursday, 22 October 2015

Laugh Out Loud

Humour + Art = ???

Image via OSSTF

OSSTF's annual Student Achievement Awards' theme, "LOL," prompted a new assignment for grade 11 art students.  The idea of a writing and art competition seems fairly serious, but with this year's theme, we are encouraged to take a look at a brighter, lighter side of things...

Image via Amazon

It was difficult for our class to think of art that was based on humour or laughter, so we began to discuss some options.   How can jokes influence our art without our art becoming a joke?

Bruce MacKinnon's editorial cartoons are funny, sarcastic and insightful.  His work is shared on social media because the images help us understand and appreciate events as a Nation (consider the profound imagery, dedicated to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo).  

But how can our class create art that is funny, or that captures humour in some way?  One or two students are tempted to try creating caricatures, while others aren't sure how humour might influence their art.  Is it ok to keep it simple?  What about cartoons?  What about jokes?  What about videos of pranks?  

I want to encourage my students to remember that, while this artwork can be very funny, they need to recognize the need for craftsmanship.  If an artwork is created without consideration for their material (or technique), the final product will not be successful because the idea will be lost in translation.  The audience will be too distracted by the poor craftsmanship to appreciate the humour.

Now it's time to have a little fun with our art...

**if you want to give some ideas to our class, please leave a comment below!**


Monday, 5 October 2015

An Update for Grade 11 & 12 #NipRockArt Students

Grade 11 & 12 art students have been busy since the beginning of September!  Even though we're only in the second week of October, we know that mid-term reports are just around the corner.  We need to be very organized if we are going to make sure that all of our assignments are complete.

The entire class shared a few projects.

    Grade 11:

    Grade 12:

    **Remember to consider the Critical Analysis process when responding to artworks.


    Grade 9 students will be using the next few weeks to explore the theme of FEAR.  Today, we began to look at a variety of artists whose works can be connected with our theme in some way.

    We can enjoy watching Thriller, but do we appreciate the work involved in making the video?  Who produced the video?  Who designed the costumes?  Who created the special effects?  How did all of these people work together on one project?

    How does Tim Burton create films from sketches and designs?  Are his fears shown in the drawings and film, or have other people created the ideas first?

    Edward Gorey's illustrations are quite detailed and beautiful, but can be considered disturbing as well.  How is his art connected with fear?  How does he use art to share his ideas with others?  Is his art successful?

    The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, by Francisco Goya, is a print that invites us to question its meaning.  Immediately we can begin to associate our own discomfort with nightmares while we wonder what message the artist is trying to express.  Why is this image unsettling?  

    Alfred Hitchcock, also known as the Master of Suspense, used his skills as an artist and director to create some of the most well-known films in history.  Think of how he used art to tell a story effectively; the skills he had to develop and the determination to complete each project.


    How will you tell your story?  What are your fears?  What are you willing to share with others?  Would it be easier to explore fears that are shared by everyone?  What materials or techniques would allow you to express your ideas effectively?  What would you like to create?  What will your work represent?  

    You will have at least two weeks to devote to this project, and you will have access to all of the materials in our art room.  As discussed in class, each stage of your creative process will be evaluated, so make sure to keep a record of your work.  Ideally, your work will be shared on your blog, where you can post pictures of your notes/sketches and you can explain your thinking.

    We will discuss the criteria that will be used for evaluation in class.

    Monday, 21 September 2015

    Week De Technique

    Each month, the grade 11 art class will have one week completely devoted to learning about new materials and techniques.  Each “Week De Technique” will focus on providing students with the chance to become more familiar with media in order to develop their skills and to provide a wider range of options when they are responding to themes in class.

    Some of these materials and techniques might include:

    centering clay on the potter’s wheel
    linear perspective
    animation (ex. stop motion)
    contour line drawings
    silkscreen printing

    It is important to remember that artists don't always work with traditional techniques or materials. Depending on an artist's goal or message, he/she might work with unconventional media... such as rainbow loom elastics, moss text, or sound installations.

    In this class, effective communication is key.  

    Artists communicate through their use of materials. We simply have to find the language we prefer to speak.


    Monday, 14 September 2015

    Grade 11 & 12 Art: Welcome to Week 3!

    Senior art students have been busy these past two weeks! It's been great to get back into the swing of things and to reconnect with this class of artists.

    Our first major project has begun.  Students began this project by responding to a quote by Keith Haring:
    I am me. I may look like you, but if you take a closer look you will realize that I am nothing like you at all. I am very different. I see things through a completely different perspective because in my life I had experiences that you didn’t have, and I had feelings you didn’t have, and I’ve lived places and seen places and experienced life from a completely different point of view than you have. I may be wearing the same shoes and the same haircut, but that gives you no right to have any preconceived notions about what I am or who I am. ~ Keith Haring (Source:  Engaging Learners Through Artmaking, 2009)

    These responses extended into a studio assignment that was meant to challenge both their technical skills as well as their creativity and originality.

    Grade 11

    You are a box.  If a box is an object that can be used to represent who you are, how does that affect our notion of what a box is?
    You will think about limitations, as you reflect on Keith Haring’s quote.  How can your artwork respond to his ideas?  How can your artwork express your response?
    Grade 12

    You are a book.  Like Keith Haring’s quote said, you are unlike anyone else, with different experiences, perspectives and dreams.
    How can you define your individuality, your character, your uniqueness, by creating a book?  How much freedom do you have, by creating a book that defines you?  What is a book?

    This assignment seems simple at first, but once we started to discuss the possible interpretations of each object, we discovered that there was so much more freedom than we first thought.  Students are beginning to think outside the box, and are beginning to work with materials and techniques that represent their experiences and character.  

    A photo posted by Colleen Rose (@colleenkr) on


    We have also started to use our analysis skills.  For some students, this is a great opportunity to apply their knowledge, while others are using this time to get reacquainted with the analysis process.

    To read a description of each category, visit this link.
    Grade 11 students have been asked to analyse a contemporary artwork from the HitRecord site, while Grade 12 students have been asked to respond to one of JR's recent works.

    Analysing art helps us to develop an appreciation for art while reinforcing our literacy skills.  When we analyse an artwork, we take very deliberate steps to help us organize our thoughts.  By following these steps, we are able to share our thinking with others much more effectively.



    HEADS UP:  #AskACurator is happening this Wednesday!!