Makin’ our Mark…collectively
At the end of our first workshop (visual journaling) I passed around a self-evaluation/class evaluation. This is a common activity in the North American classroom, but is a relatively bizarre concept here. There was a great discussion of the importance of honest reflection and dialogue before they started the evaluation. The feedback was interesting and several girls wrote about how some of the assignments felt too difficult, and then in the end they all wanted to learn more about the very concepts that they felt so challenged by.
New is scary. Bottom line. Our first days on the job, the first paper we turn in to a new teacher…and ahhh first dates! But it is so great for our minds to take on new processes. The act of observing the new act, then accessing all of our relevant experience and knowledge and then utilizing combinations of new information and previously learned strategies to try complete the task in a way that works for us as individuals. This is what is so interesting about Art, about process and about the exploration of the relationship between the two.
In the evaluation I asked the girls to list the processes (painting, photography, print-making, stenciling etc). The idea of working with spray paint is unviversally exciting and especially so for teenagers. So ALL of them included stenciling in their lists of desired activities.
Incorporating this into our current workshop – Identidad y Relaciones, Auto Retratos y Retratos, was challenging for me at first. But then I remembered this lovable, familiar image that is present throughout my home town, St. Louis. And after visiting the artist’s, Peat Wolleager, website, I knew exactly how it could fit and watching this video would be the primary step of our class:
The rest of the lesson was swingly loosely upon the hope that they could make the connection between Peat’s famous eye and our current workshop. And thankfully, Luz jumped right on it. After giving me ten tons of you know what about wether or not Peat was my friend, or I was just trying to be cool by saying that I knew him…(they think you are a total celebrity Peat! They wanted to watch every video on the site…) Anyway, after chastising me for a bit, I explained that this eyeball was ALL over St. Louis and that I had also been to exhibitions where it was covering everything from pieces of wood to an old television. There was a mixture of expressions on their faces in response to this, some grins, some furrowed brows – puzzled either by Peat’s repetition or by my clumsy spanish. But Luz went straight to it – as though she had planned the lesson with me.
“It is his mark. The viewer identifies him with the eye. So it is like his Artist’s Identity.”
Gracias Luz! Exactly what I wanted them to understand. Then we discussed the concept of logos and brands and I explained that I had created a logo for eStudio 473 and that the “O” was a circle with a star and that was our “mark” as a group. I then proposed the assignment to design a eyeball inspired by Peat’s. We worked in groups of three and each design incorparated the creation and usage of three stencils.
Paola decided to incorporate other stencils and acrylic paint to finish her groups version. Two other girls decided to adorn their Chucks with hot pink/orange spray paint. I discovered this after the fact…and had mixed emotions of what was an appropriate response…I have a feeling even though I vocalized disapproval, the grin on my face that I couldn’t surpress told them what I really wanted to say.