Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lesson idea: Triple Inspiration Egg Carton Paintings

This project is from a while back - as in, MARCH. (I know. Cut me some slack.) It was very fun but VERY challenging since it required the students to paint on a heavily textured/sculpted surface. The idea originated from an artist spotlight done on my blogroll of Dutch artist Enno de Kroon. The spin I did on the project was to make it a triple inspiration idea...
  1. Be inspired by Enno de Kroon
  2. Be inspired by a masterful artist (they could pick one from the resource library we have)
  3. Be inspired by the greatest creator of all - our wonderful Lord above!!

I saw the idea and loved it almost immediately because it really opened the door for a lot of different learning opportunities. It touched upon non-objective subject matter, allowed for some "free" painting (if you will), fully utilized most of the elements of art and principles of design, and also allowed me to not have to spend money for expensive supports like masonite or canvas panels since it called upon the idea of upcycling. (I happen to have some good friends who own a local cupcakery so amassing egg cartons for my students was pretty easy.)

I required the students to pick just about any artist and artwork and while some students went the literal route, plenty more took a lot more liberties and created things that were truly unique. One of the major challenges overall were the following:
  • The egg carton surface wasn't only heavily textured (which challenged beginning painting skills) but the support actually soaked up a TON of paint which required the students to do copious amounts of underpainting.
  • Since the texture was so heavily textured, the view of the painting (as it was being worked on) was constantly changing depending upon the angle you looked at the piece. For this reason? Students were constantly feeling "disrupted" while they were working since they would see it in one way and then see it in another almost immediately after and feel like they were off course.
  • There are so many great pieces of artwork and artists to choose from!!! Many could not pick a good one to be inspired by and this set them behind on the total hours they were able to work on them in class. (I really encourage them to learn how to self-pace and I try not to intervene unless the results will be truly detrimental to the overall finishing of the projects.
Anyway, without further adieu, here is some of the student work turned out. The first one is one of the best overall (to be fair, she is a VERY advanced artist) and there is also a closer picture of the surface of the piece.

Here are a number of other really terrific examples and "spins" of inspiration taken by the many brilliantly talented student artists I am blessed to work with on a daily basis...

This one was another one of my personal favorites.

He "popped out" the eyes by putting them on the parts of the carton that were raised.

I loved the illustrated vibe this one had!

Something interesting to note about the 3D Design students/classes on the whole:

Many of the students in this class are those who struggle with learning disabilities/challenges but the ones who are the most severely afflicted are always the ones who seem to do the best. The reason why? Their brains process, synthesize, and handle the information/ideas in ways that are three-dimensional in nature so they are often most able to do what they want to do before they do it easier than the other students who 1) Don't suffer from learning challenges and 2) have to work harder to "think" three dimensionally. On a more personal note, I am currently enduring the exhaustive process that is learning disabilities testing and I have always done better with three dimensional artwork over two dimensional.

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