Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lesson Idea: Our Common Threads - Printmaking | 2D Design

In this introduction to printmaking project, some of the learning objectives included the following:
  • Create original works as inspired by the masterworks of printmaking artists such as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg
  • Visually present social and cultural commentary (explained below) from a Christian worldview
  • Learn how to design and create limited edition prints from start to finish
  • Use a 2D surface to show a 3D image/form
  • Learn and use visual art vocabulary of printmaking
I kicked off this project with a Keynote presentation of printmaking that focused on the works of Warhol and Oldenburg so that they students could see and discuss examples of Pop Art. We took the idea of what Pop Art does - glorifying the already glorified - and we attempted to create designs that did  a little bit of the opposite by picking every day object and glorifying those. The students were instructed to pick objects that would be owned by the "haves" just as much as the "have nots." They were to think about and be able to verbalize the reasoning of why their object might be something the "haves" take for granted while the "have nots" might really prize for specific reasons. We had lots of in-class discussions about the differences between the haves and have-nots and I also share the work of photographer James Mollison in the collective he created called Where Children Sleep. (I showed them the website but I also have the printed book - which is outstanding - and the students were awed by what they saw.)

The students used scratch-art foam printing plates to create their printing matrices and they went through an exhaustive process (as framed by this original instructional method that I developed and have been using for all of my lesson plans) in order to go from inspiration to as series of four limited edition prints per student. Each student was required to destroy their individual printing matrices right after their fourth impressions were made in order to absolutely ensure that their prints would all be limited editions.  Why limited editions? Well, because I want them to feel as much like true artists as possible! I posted something of the creative working process last week and HERE IS THAT POSTING if you want to see what we did and how we did it.

Here is a sampling of some of the amazing print sets I will be going through to evaluate and grade. I am SO proud of what the students designed and created but I'm also really overwhelmed by the amount of artwork that I now have to grade!!! Normally it's only one piece per student. Requiring the students to do a four part series of work basically quadrupled my work load. Oh well. It's worth it. (Or I keep telling myself that.)

I think these prints - shown in two different orientations - were very successfully created.

This particular student artist is VERY naturally talented at drawing specifically so her design was very well done.

This is another student who is great at drawing and has terrific attention to detail. (Obviously.)

I am not sure if the misspelling of the word 'homeless' was on purpose or not but knowing this student, it's probably safe to assume that it was completely intentional. Such clever students I have!

This design was so simple but so successful! I had a hard time picking which print to share with you. 

One of the few prints that was done in grey ink. I am such a fan of grey but I love how this student mixed the color and then applied the ink so it resulted in having a very subtle vignette to this print.

I appreciate the distressed quality of this print. I also think the color combination helps to add to its success.

This is one of my favorites overall. The design of the plate itself was wonderful and the use of color to make it look like the color of the flame and then the black that represents charring? And the distressed look of the ink? AWESOME!

I really enjoy the simplicity of this one and the fact that the student used just one single color. 

This project was a HUGE hit for the students and I will most definitely do a printmaking project again with the 2D class. It was just enough of an introduction to this artform that it really whet their palettes and left them hungry to do more art of this type and... well... any type really. Now that this project is over they are super excited to get started on the next one (which is even more challenging). It's all about strategic planning and I am delight to report that my strategy is playing out very nicely. *wink*

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