Thursday, October 28, 2010

One way to kill a snake

Things that happened today with the masks...
  • Applied the "tattoo" and affixed the faux dog tags => officially completed
  • Attached the curtain rod, fashioned the drapery/curtains, hung the curtains, and constructed the cork finials => unofficially completed
  • Opened my storage drawer and accidentally tore the "serpent's" head mostly off.  Scoffed at myself and then smooshed the head back on leaving a slightly noticeable seam => *Grrrrrrrrrr*
  • Sculpted and attached the bird beak => 10th mask officially started

I'm having a really hard time with the whole project at this point.  It's taking everything I have to not just push myself through it and call it done.  I can't do this though because I know my craftsmanship overall will really suffer and I cannot CAN. NOT. let that happen.  This project is too important to let that happen.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a "grading" day.  I will definitely be doing some grading/entering of grades but I'm also going to be doing other not fun stuff:
  1. Taking down and rehanging the student gallery displays
  2. Making name plates and name tents
  3. Figuring out exactly what to do about the 10th and 11th masks
  4. Talking to the school's resident construction whiz about the best display options for the masks AND the best way to start on my next project (an interactive sculpture that uses a water pump that will be stopped and started via a push button)
  5. Working on my application artist statement, teaching philosophy, narrative about my journey as a professional artist, and C.V.
[86 number four.  I just remembered.  He's taking a personal day.]

Perhaps if I actually got to sleep at a decent hour I would be much less fussy about working on the masks. [I did NOT say something negative about the masks just now.  But I really had to try not to.]

I've just about lost count at this point

My current personal big project is driving me crazy.  My deadline for finishing it isn't until March 1st at the very latest but I really want it to be done yesterday.  I have to make a collective of 11 total masks and then one very large one - so, 12 total.  I might have finished this one today (this is a picture of it when I started it)...

... however, I can't help but look at it (like I said, the above isn't what it looks like now) and feel like it still needs something more.  *sigh*

I have at least two others that are finished and then seven ones that are in various stages of completion.  I have two more that still have yet to be started because I keep changing my mind of what they should look like.  I think I figured out one of them but it might easily be the most difficult of all (of the small ones at least).  The 11th one?  I'm kind of stuck on it.

But I just want to be doneDoneDONEEEEEEE!!!!  And this is because I have another art project that I'd rather be doing.

Story of my life.  Story of my life. *pffffffffffffftt*

Money can't buy everything

These are the things I need for my current personal art endeavors:
- Nasal respirator tubing set
- Small metal closed padlock (not combination type) with or without key
- Trashy tabloid type magazines that can be cut/ripped up
- Namebrand junk food wrappers, those yellow in color are preferred
- Handful of Expired prescription medication pills (any kind), preferably cylindrical in shape with two color barrel
- "Old Lady" pillbox style with netting/fascinator embellishment
- Cigarette ashes and partially smoked cig
- Whole Ostrich/Emu egg or eggshell (blown out and rinsed)

*sigh* If only it were as easy as just going to Target or Wal-mart to get what I need.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Student Project: Inside-Out Masks

One of my favorite projects I do with my 3D students is making masks.  We start with a blank mask as a canvas and then build upon it's three-dimensional surface.  (Since we start with a ready-made mask, I guess we're doing more mask embellishing than making but it's a small detail I don't care to correct but just this once.)

The mask project wasn't my idea.  Before I came to the school, the teachers before me did it.  Upon their exit, they gave me the yearly rundown and I was intrigued by the masks more than any of the other projects.  I spent hours preparing for how I would carry out the lesson and as it has turned out, they are one of the legendary projects that every student at my school either wishes they had been able to make OR can't wait to make themselves.  Apparently, before me, the mask making extended very little beyond just painting the surface and maybe doing some very light relief sculpturing.  When I researched and prepared my lesson plans I found all kinds of inspiration and thought it was completely natural to bring in other elements, textures, and otherwise non-traditional materials.  The masks have become the ultimate in mixed media 3D art work.

Last year I gave my students very little direction.  I showed them a few examples, we discussed a few options/paths they could take, and then I just let them go.

I think you would agree that what they turned out was reasonably good.

And now here's just a sampling of what my students turned out for this semester - Fall 2010.  [Please note: Not all work I share here will be my work but I will ALWAYS indicate what I've created and what comes from someone/somewhere else.]

This semester was the first one where I gave my class a little more specific direction for what they were to do.  Normally I just show them some examples, we discuss options/paths that they can take, and I just turn them loose.  This semester I thought it would be both an interesting and invaluable experience if they used the creative process of the project to do a little self-exploration and introspection.

The name of the project was "Inside-Out Masks" and the idea was to create a visual representation of the things that we naturally conceal from others OR things that exist inside of us that aren't easily noticed.  The interiors of the masks (so, the faces that we wear everyday) featured designs as well but they were much less  complex and dimensional as they were really just their names written in decorative/stylized ways.  Since their names were used as central parts of the interiors I am not sharing them.

The creative journey of the mask started with an intensive planning process that included the following:

  • Viewing a Nooma video by Rob Bell called "Name"
  • Discussion guided by Essential questioning
  • Group prayer
  • Individual prayer
  • Silent individual reflection including prayer and doodling/sketching/thumbnail creation of ideas
  • Responding to questions intended to help provide a detailed inventory of what is/isn't important to each individuals (Ex. What brings you joy? What scares you more than anything in the world?)
  • Completing sentence starters using information drawn from questions (ex. I am ________.)
  • Creating 2D mock-ups/rough sketches of at least (4) possible designs that specifically focused on depicting objective ideas in non-objective/abstract ways and using the less obvious symbols to convey specific messages
  • Mask fabrication using mixed media materials that include (but are not limited to) the following: Plaster tape, fibers/cloth, Acrylic Paint, white glue and hot glue, organic materials (feathers, sand, etc.), white Crayola Model Magic, 14 gauge aluminum wire, various weights of paper, plastic sheeting (Dura-lar) 

Something important and significant to note is this: The class that created the masks featured in the slideshow above are NOT advanced visual art students.  I have an odd assortment of students who have a wide range of abilities and understandings of visual art.  The majority of the students in this semester's class fell in one or more of the following categories:

  • Little to no previous experience in Visual Arts (this 3D class is actually one of our foundational courses)
  • Top-performing/star student athlete
  • Struggles with traditional classroom academia and has diagnosed learning challenges
  • Commonly a classroom management issue in other classes
  • A male (I mention this because 75% of the class was male and this was unusual for me, usually it's much more evenly distributed male-to-female)
  • An ESOL student

I'll do these masks again. They take a long time to do to achieve the second set of results (one week of careful planning, two weeks of fabrication) but it's hard to look at what the students turned out and say that it was all done in vain.  And it was a wonderful thing to start a project and "interrupt" their busy days with  prayer and serious self-analysis.  I feel like the "proof's in the pudding" based on what they turned out with the prayer compared to the ones where I just let them loose.  And it only compels me to use prayer a lot more often in my own work.

As one of my recently graduated students of Graphic Design likes to say...

"When GOD is GLORIFIED, we are SATISFIED, and the world is EVANGELIZED."

What better way to glorify Him and evangelize than with Visual art!

Yes. ANOTHER blog.

To date I've worked over 35 jobs and I'm not even yet 35 myelf.  Is this because I'm a really bad employee and have been fired time and time again?  Answer: No.  (As a matter of fact, I've never been fired once in my life.)  My work experience is abundant simply because I am always doing a lot.  I've been working since it was legal for me to do so and I'm almost always doubled up with a work load - at times I've even tripled up!  And as it happens, my ambitious and hungry nature to always do more extends to my blogging habits.

Here are some facts with roughly estimated figures of my blogging habits:

  • I've blogged since 2001
  • I've created, maintained, and/or quit different blogs upwards of 15 blogs total
  • The majority of the blogs of I have maintained have have lifetimes longer than many people's relationships (I mean things like marriages and things) => These total about five but might be as many as seven
  • Currently I'm managing three blogs in addition to this one
  • I create and delete blogs as a way to organize and compartmentalize parts of my life, ambitions, and creative endeavors
  • I am not a writer by any means and though writing can be cathartic for anybody, I'm pretty terrible at it and most of what I write is riddled with any of the following: spelling errors, improper grammar, awkward sentences, wrong word and punctuation usage, run on sentences and sentence fragments. (Case in point: This entire bullet point.)
But this blog, just like every one before it and everyone after it (if/once I tear it down) has a place and a purpose and I have a serious need for it at this stage in my life.

From here on out, I'm going to try and share (evangelize, if you will) my journey of faith, visions, and creativity.  This includes thoughts I have, observations of life and art I feel are important and integral for understanding faith and living with it, and actual images of things I'm actively working on as a Mixed Media Visual Artist.

For your own (better) understanding, I am ALL of the following and I don't promise you that what I share here won't be influenced by any/all of these things:
  • Christian and firm believer of the Apostles' creed
  • Daily and active reader of the Holy Bible and devotionals of various kinds
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Daughter
  • Art Education teacher at a Christian high school
  • Very indecisive
  • Realistic but strongly optimistic
  • (For the most part) An introvert as it pertains to the physical side of social interactions
  • A firm believer in the existence and possibility of miracles and the impossible
So, here I am.  And whether you are like me or not, I invite you to bookmark this blog and be a witness to whatever I do here.  And I promise that, above all, even if I make mistakes, everything I offer and share here will be something that I intend for good alone.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...