Art by Winnie Chang from California High School in San Ramon. Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth.
This Friday, April 12, is the deadline for The Artistic Discovery Contest, an art competition initiated by Congressman Eric Swalwell that is open to all high school students in California's 15th congressional district. Winning artworks will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. For more information and to submit your artwork, visit Congressman Swalwell's web site. We encourage you to have your students submit works to the competition! Show our nation what Northern California's brilliant, creative young minds have produced in the classroom and beyond. The 15th congressional district covers part of Santa Clara County, including Los Gatos and Cupertino.
Wendy MacNaughton is an illustrator from San Francisco who works on a variety of projects, including her "drawn journalism" publications, which she creates by spending a few weeks interacting with different communities. She draws people, interviews them, and listens to their stories, then compiles the information into a book. One of her recent books is about the people of San Francisco Public Library's main branch. Some of Wendy's illustration projects are about San Francisco specifically, including a specialized map of the city, and humorous drawings about the types of people who live here. She's also published her work in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and her latest illustration project is a book called Lost Cat.
We visited Wendy at her studio to learn more about her projects and her approach to making art about real people. She also gave us a lesson in how to draw beverage containers! Take a look at the videos below.
Check out three of our favorite resources focused on visual arts in education:
Red Studio is the Museum of Modern's Arts interactive and collaborative project with high school students in New York City. Exploring "issues and questions raised by teens about today's modern art, working artists, and what goes on behind the scenes at a museum," the site features interviews with artists and opportunities to make digital art. The image above was creative in Red Studio's REMIX interactive collage tool.
Art Babble is like YouTube for art videos. This site was developed by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and features videos from partners including KQED, PBS's Art:21, The San Jose Museum of Art, Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, and many more, including national and international organizations. Videos are organized by medium, location, themes, and time period. There is a special section specifically for educators with classroom-appropriate videos and resources.
Art Education 2.0 is a Ning networking web site initiated by professor and educator Craig Roland. It hosts a robust collection of resources and offers many opportunities for idea sharing and networking among fellow arts educators. Membership is free, and there are currently over 12,000 active members who upload ideas, videos, and photos to share with their global community of colleagues.
Kwesi Anku, Kwaku Manu, and Selasi Morgan are performing artists who teach at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond, CA and are members of the Bay Area's West African Music & Dance Ensemble. Originally from Ghana, they came to the states to study dance with their professor at UC Berkeley, Dr. CK Ladzekpo. They stayed in the Bay Area to spread their love of music and dance, and to offer students in Richmond an opportunity to express themselves and to use music and dance as a tool for positive change in their community.
In the latest videos from KQED Arts Eduction, Kwesi and Kwaku discuss the history of Ghana, including its independence from colonizers in 1957. They also introduce the Ghanaian version of the ABC song, the language behind their dance moves, and simple drumming rhythms that can be learned by any budding performer.
Take a look at Wes Naman's portraits of his friends faces distorted with tape. Do you consider these portraits to be fine art? Tape up your own face and take a picture. Do you feel like you engaged your creativity?
Photographer Wes Naman created some images using his friends' faces and clear tape. Using the tape to distort their faces, Naman asked his subjects to try to remove the tape using only their facial muscles, then snapped close-ups to create his "Scotch Tape Series."
Soon after the photos were posted, they went viral, catching the attention of the media and the company that manufactures Scotch Tape. The distorted-face portraits have been called both funny and horrifying. Take a look at Naman's photographs and gauge your inner reaction. Do they make you feel a certain way? Does the fact that they're high-quality, close-up photographs affect your perception of them in a different way than a candid shot taken in someone's living room?
Many photographers use masks or facial obstruction to communicate a message in their figurative images. Ralph Eugene Meatyard is an early 20th-century photographer known for creating images that were both haunting and humorous, some featuring small children wearing Halloween masks.
Thien Pham is an artist and educator at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland. His brand new book, Sumo, released on 12.12.12, is a graphic novel about an aspiring Sumo wrestler. Graphic novels are narrative stories that are accompanied by sequential artwork. The term "graphic novel" is broad and encompasses many different styles and formats.
Thien Pham has also worked as an illustrator on publications such as the graphic novel Level Up, and his food review comic strip called I Like Eating was featured in the East Bay Express. We dropped by his classroom to learn more about his art career and new book, and were treated to a hands-on lesson in how to draw four-panel comic strips, as well as ideas about how to develop characters.
Check out Thien's interview and video lessons, then get out those Sharpie pens and draw your own comics! We'd love to see how this moment of inspiration with one of the Bay Area's most famous comic artists inspires projects in your classroom.
Rashidi Omari is a performance artist, writer and educator at Destiny Arts Center, a violence prevention and arts education organization in Oakland. Growing up, hip-hop was an outlet that helped Rashidi deal with life's challenges, and he works to provide today's Bay Area youth with the same creative opportunities. We stopped by his dance studio to learn more about this dynamic Oakland artist, and find what hip-hop means to him and his students.
After introducing Rashidi to your students, check out these two videos where he teaches us how to beatbox and breakdance. Follow along and add your own b-boy flavor.
Mike Shine’s interests range from surfing to carnivals, and his dynamic approach to art making manifests as immersive installations, which he’s created throughout the Bay Area at local museums, galleries, and even at his home in Bolinas, “The Shine Shack.” His artwork is inspired by carnival aesthetics and his own narrative about Dr. Flotsam, a clown character who represents the darker aspects of life, and was inspired by the legend of Faust and the fictional demon, Mephistopheles.
Learn more about Mike Shine in our video interview:
Shine has recently been working on large-scale, multi-layered stencils to create murals in the Tenderloin. We paid a visit to the Shine Shack and asked him to give us a primer on stencil-making, and tell us more about his style, and his history of working with stencils, which are one of the most accessible tools for creating a message and spreading it (or spray painting it) widely.
Check out Mike Shine's tips for stenciling in this video demonstration:
Mike Shine opens a new exhibition at 111 Minna Gallery this Friday, September 21st, 2012. Don’t miss his performance on opening night. The exhibition will be on view through October 13, 2012.
When introducing stenciling to students, it’s important to initiate a discussion about graffiti, street art, and private property. Mike Shine’s murals in the Tenderloin neighborhood and in Clarion Alley are commissioned; the owners of the buildings gave permission for him to paint on their walls. While stencils are an important tool for street artists, students need to understand the legality of various forms of street art, and should be reminded to never paint on buildings or in the streets without permission. As with any art form, it is also important to take proper precautions when using materials such as spray paint. Learn more about art materials and keeping young artists safe on the Health and Human Services Web site.
Do you think creative, funny internet memes could be considered artwork? If not, how you would categorize them? Describe one of your favorites and/or send us a link to it.
All over the internet, "People are creating images and sharing them with strangers for the purpose of communicating their personal experiences." Art takes many forms, and PBS's new web video series, Idea Channel, poses an intriguing question in this recent episode about memes and art. The internet offers an opportunity to share individually-crafted punch lines and images on a global scale, but what do we call this act of creation? Art? Jokes? Procrastination fodder? Or all of the above? In contemporary art, successful works are not necessarily made by hand or even tangible—making a visual representation of an idea, whether it goes viral or not, is a creative act.
"American Qur'an - Sura 25" (detail) by Sandow Birk
Sandow Birk was featured on KQED's Spark when he was making paintings about an imagined war between Northern and Southern California. He was also making a film based on Dante's Inferno that starred handmade puppets. Since making the movie, Birk has been busy in his studio, working with different mediums and themes to create his highly-charged works, which sometimes comment on politicized events we hear about in the news such as the war in Iraq.