CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


By H and L Grade 8
 When I observe my students using text in the art, I sometimes reveal to them that once upon a time I strongly discouraged using “words” on art. “Real artists,” I would declare, “don't write on their art.”
How silly. Just look at Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer's Rhinoceros!

Albrecht Durer, 1515 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%BCrer%27s_Rhinoceros
Using text in art is nothing new.
I think art teachers discourage “writing on art” because their taste dictates this. But a child's aesthetic is different from adults'. Teens especially find words very compelling and frequently incorporate words into their art.
Here, British painter John Walker struggles with this issue:
“In college, text was taboo to put in paintings. But I was looking around at what was going on. The first paintings with text that I noticed were David Hockney paintings. And then Pop art burst onto the scene....”

David Hockney, Pearblossom Highway, 1986, photographic collage (http://tinyurl.com/9tjhj5j )
Which brings me to the beautiful series of work underway by two 8th graders in my class. One girl started it – trying to get some feelings out one day she said. Another joined in and now the two are collaborating on several pieces. Some are paintings of song lyrics, they tell me. What is interesting to me is that the words themselves are functioning almost like art media – the paintings are being built from them. Selective use of color, scale and line-quality add to the richness of these paintings, as words are layered one upon the other until the work feels complete. 

So, text in art is nothing new - but it occurs to me that the word text has taken on a whole new meaning to teens.What impact will today's understanding of text and texting have have on artmaking I wonder?