July 11, 2009
Paper is a banal material, which is common enough for everyone to relate with, yet neutral enough to be given a new lease of life. It is the perfect blank canvas.
Earlier this week, in Chicago’s free daily publishing of the RedEye I read about this crazy-cool occurrence in Japan and thought immediately about Isac and his interest in all things kinetic and wild and wanted to share the story. The French performance group, La Machine brought two GIGANTIC spiders to Yokohama to the 150th anniversary of the city’s port. The spiders weighed in at 38 tons each and scaling 40 feet tall.
The robots are steered by humans seated on top of the spiders and are capable of blowing steam and water from their mouths. For their debut the robot spiders walked around Yokohama harbor putting on a show for the excited crowds. The spiders will remain in Japan for 150 days. So head on over there if you can swing it to check them out.
La Machine’s art director, Francois Delarozier, was quoted saying “The spider is a representation of the foreigner. She arouses phobias,” He also added, “Our idea is to provoke emotions among the spectators: the spider is a repulsive animal, but it’s also a creature that weaves ties.”
This invasion can be shown as an example for a fun sci-fi type project for kids to do create sculpture or large-scale drawings of fantastical creatures in the same creative vein as Godzilla, the Lochnest Monster, and King Kong. Typically these types of large scale myths are about animals who do are misunderstood or do harm to their environment. What if our kids chose a peaceful, herbivore-type animal to replicate on a larger scale and creative a narrative where it does positive things for its habitat. It would be a creative way of studying animal forms and anatomy as well as developing their own oral tradition.
April 15, 2009
Honkin’ and Hollerin’ in Krog Tunnel: my safe place
I liked this idea of getting perfect strangers together and seeing their city together. I liked the idea of going to sites that people do not see regularly and meeting new people. The video that i have chosen to link is an account of The Flux Factory’s ( a New York art center) chosen artist showing randomly selected people that have signed up for this event, different parts of the city that these people have never seen. unfortunately most of the people that signed up seemed like people who were looking to see “the others” or people looking to see how the other half lives. i think this project could have been great if they focused on the history of a place or space, finding something incredible, a secrete spot, favorite graffitti, their first kiss, a place where their culture is best seen in respect to archetecture and history of place. this idea may be a little scattered but i have always appreciated what an outside space can show us or remind to us by the destruction, remodeling, enhancing of the building, bridge tunnel, park, etc.
my lesson plan idea is based on this idea but instead of going somewhere i would have the students focus on this them and recreate this space, place, happening, by means of sculpture or drawing exercise.
April 8, 2009
I have a fascination with monumental scale. Something about working large seems to please me. Yet the only thing really stopping me is the financial means. I guess this recession is affecting everyone huh. Anyways, so thinking about how I could go large on the cheap, I stumbled upon inflatable art. Inflatable art has been around for some time, yet I never considered it when trying to go large. Many people are concerned about longevity. Will my work last forever? As much as I would like my work to last through the ages, I believe it’s better to make work with an impact, through scale in my case, than have a piece that will be dull forever. I began researching balloon construction and came across Gary Felix. Gary constructs large sculptures from Mylar foil. His balloons have been used in many events due to their size, cost effectiveness and portability. Yet the foil involved in the construction process wasn’t free, or a reused material. So I continued my search and began looking at even cheaper building materials. That is when I found an artist called Joshua Allen Harris. He creates inflatable art from thin garbage bags. The sculptures are placed on top of the exhaust vents of the New York subway and inflate every time a train goes by. This kind of work is almost where I wanted to be. It’s large, cheap, and quick to construct. Thought, the materials still had to be bought. I finally arrived at my turning point when I realized the foil Gary Felix was using, was the same foil used in food packaging materials. It was the same material chip bags are made form. Chips, voila, those tasty treats that everyone seems to enjoy. I always see chip bags on the street, in the trash, in the hallways of some schools, everywhere. So that is what I chose to construct my prototype from. What better way to make large DIY sculpture with meaning that with hundreds of discarded chip bags. There are hundreds of logos, varieties, sizes, the possibilities are just endless. So get out there, go green, go cheap, go large!
LESSON PLAN IDEA
One can adapt his lesson with students ranging from 3rd all the way up to 12th grade. One can begin by having the students start collectng chips bags, all kinds of bags. They can collect them by picking them up off the street, trash, buying chips, etc. The class will then wash the bags of and dry them. After that, the class can begin to design a sculpture with the materials. The bags can be cut into various sizes and be heat sealed by placing two pieces of wax paper, one on top and one on the bottom of the bags and pressing th bags lightly with an iron. The iron should be on a low setting. The sculpture will be a collaboration between the whole class and will also be a kind of quilt. Pieced together little by little. Not only will the class be able to create an impressive piece of art, they will also be cleaning up their community. Hurray for re-use!
April 8, 2009
When we think of sculpture, many may envision clay, bronze, ceramic, etc. Though all those mediums may be valid and very present throughout the art world, what about hose mediums that “stick” out. Tape sculpture is just one of the many new mediums being experimented and developed in this day and age. There are many advantages to using tape as a sculptural medium. It comes in many varieties, clear, opaque, smooth, etc. Tape can also be used to make rough casts of objects or forms very quickly, due to its ability to adhere to itself. Tape can be drawn on with permanent markers, painted on, hand formed, and the list goes on. A very skilled use of this medium can be found when looking at the work of Rune Olsen. Olsen’s work is created with tape, paper, markers, or graphite, and acrylic medium. The artist first roughs out a maquete from paper, he then starts wrapping it with tape and builds the form to his desired shape/sculpture. After he has finished taping out and shaping his sculpture, he draws on the piece with markers, graphite, colored markers, etc. He then finishes the piece by sealing it with clear acrylic medium. This is a very sophisticated and involved process of tape sculpture. On the other spectrum, we have tape sculpture created by Mark Jenkins. The picture to the left is an example of students using the techniques taught my Mark to make life-size body casts. The process involved in making these casts is a four part system. You wrap whatever object or form you want to cast with cling wrap, you then wrap several layers of tape over that , cut the piece out, tape the seams together, and viola your done. Tape sculpture on the fly. So if you ever want to make some sculpture, cheap, fun, and fast, look no further, TAPE is you medium.
LESSON PLAN IDEA
Have the students create conceptual self portraits with tape and paper. Have them answer some questions about themselves. Have them think about what makes them them. The sculptures should all be based off hand castings, mostly because they are easy to cast and can be very expressive. Have them consider what are their interests, hobbies, etc. Then have them create a sketch based on those answers, and finally a sculpture from that sketch. I created my prototype with a tree, because I enjoy nature.
April 8, 2009
Richard Rezac is an American artist that currently teaches and creates out of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. With constructions and forms that defy materials, he really shows how playing with your mediums can push your personal ammunition of knowledge in and out of a classroom. Seamlessness poses to be a key word in his artistic vocabulary, as none of his pieces appear to be built. They simply appear.
His mixed media practices of form creation could be a great basis for a lesson in upper level classrooms. Have students sketch a form containing balance, shape, composition…the good stuff. Then challenge them to think of the best material to make this out of and figure out a way to make it seamless. Wood, clay, paper, metal, plastics or cardboard could all be great a resources.
April 7, 2009
Would you put your baby in the arms of the KFC’s Colonel Sanders? Mark Jenkins would. Sculptor Mark Jenkins creates large and small scale sight specific tape sculpture installations abroad and largely in Washington D.C. On his own website he categorizes his tape sculptures into four categories; Street, Storker, Nature, and Indoors. In his Storker project he creates tape sculptures by casting baby dolls and installs them in a variety of locations. They are all interacting with their environments in different ways. I was really fascinated by Jenkins because he can make multiples of one tape sculpture and really make them engage a variety of surroundings. The babies are the same, but they say something different in each context.
In Jenkins other projects, Nature and Street he creates dogs, giraffes, carousel horses and people from packing tape. Some of his people wear clothes and look so much like real people, it is hard to spot them in some pictures. Like his Storker project, each piece interacts with the environment they are placed in. Jenkins does a good job of confusing the viewer in one image of a beggar dressed like a cow. People are actually giving the sculpture money. He draws attention to injustices by having his tape sculptures act as homeless people, dogs in a trash heap, and babies in the laps of statues.
Aside from his heavy work, Jenkins has some just plain funny work. He turned parking meters into lollipops and a hand full of street signs into a carousel complete with clear packing tape horses. His method of making sculpture is linked on his website. Somebody famous who shares their resources- that’s awesome.
Students can cast objects by wrapping them in saran wrap then wrapping in in clear packing tape. They can cut the pieces and assemble them to create new objects. It is a good method for making large, cheap and lightweight sculpture. I sculpted my teapot and photographed it in my kitchen.