CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio
CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Emergent Curriculum: Understanding the Art World

I watched a student take out a sheet of paper and begin to cover it all over with graphite from a pencil. It was slow going.
He wanted to create an all-over grey surface and then use an eraser to “draw” an image – Probably something he has done before somewhere else.
The paper he chose was too big.
Progress was too slow.
He abandoned the work and moved on to another project.
Test piece, made then recycled, by "A," Grade 5

But the work he started reminded me of a display I saw last Spring in NYC at the Museum of Art and Design in NYC: http://tinyurl.com/d7bm24u
The show was called: Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design. The work of guerrilla artist Alexandre Orion Ossario was included in the show. He is a street artist who goes into automobile tunnels and creates images by wiping clean the collected dirt and soot. Images of skulls emerge as he wipes away the toxins collected on the tunnel walls. (See youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwsBBIIXT0E)

All this to say that based on my student's work, class started today with a demonstration of different ways to cover a paper and prepare it for the subtractive, or reductive process my student attempted the day before. I showed students that we have dark, rich ebony pencils that will cover a paper quickly with a velvety layer of graphite. I had a box of charcoal at the ready, and we tried that to see how it would cover. We noticed that the newspaper I layered under the paper was leaving marks as the pencil passed over the joints in the layers – leaving behind tell-tale lines, so I brought out the rubbing plates and showed what they can do when placed under the paper before rubbing it pencil or charcoal. 
Charcoal, erased design with oil pastel added (By "A,"Grade 5)
Which goes on easiest?
Which erases off cleanest?
What size paper is best for this kind of work?
“It's just like scratchboard” one artist observed. 
Can we add oil pastel?
We talked briefly about additive and reductive processes and about positive and negative space – just in passing (this will be revisited later no doubt).
I showed the video.
We talked about the legality or illegality of graffiti art – is it illegal if the artist is cleaning the walls to reveal an image?
I wonder.