Pop Art Portraits

GT Media students were introduced to the Pop Art movement that emerged in the 1950s in Britain and the United States. They were challenged to analyze, interpret, and compare works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns, and other like-minded artists. The common Pop Art themes involving fashion, film stars, music, comics, and youth culture proved to be both intriguing for these middle schoolers as well as perplexing. Why would an artist print the same simple image of soup cans over and over (and why would people pay big money for them)? What is the point of building a giant sculpture of a spoon?

In addition to the verbal discussions and written critical responses that were assigned, the students also created their own “Warhol-esque” portraits using digital photography, computer manipulation, and colorful ink pens.

“An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.” Andy Warhol

Copper Repousse

The theme for this low-relief sculptural project was to render one of Hawaii’s threatened or endangered species in 3-D. Students spent time on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website researching a plant, animal, or sea creature, and learning about the habitat, current population, potential threats, and conservation efforts. After a full investigation of their topic, students worked on preliminary sketches that included elements of the species’ habitat. Final drawings were transferred onto a copper sheet, and then the meticulous process of forming the convexities and concavities followed. The 3-Dimensional quality was created in the soft metal by rubbing both sides with simple tools such as tongue depressors, popsicle sticks, wooden skewers, and the backs of spoons to stretch and bend the surface. The last step was antiquing the final composition with liver of sulphur and polishing with steel wool. Students’ final projects along with typed artist statements were displayed in the main office to inform and educate our school community and spread awareness of the threats Hawaii’s plants and animals face today.

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” John Muir

Expressive Self-Portrait

The final Art project of the year for Kapaa Middle School 7th and 8th graders was to complete a realistic self-portrait that also expressed the individual’s personality or character. Students analyzed self-portraits by Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo, while studying the technique and value scales of Chuck Close’s photorealistic large-scale portraits. The students were enthusiastic for the first step of the process, which involved taking turns posing and photographing digital portraits. Once 4″ X 6″ copies of the photographs were printed for each student, they measured and drew a 1″ grid with pencil on top. Next students were given their final 12″ X 18″ paper and enlarged the grid by 3 times. The actual drawing began with a precisely measured contour in order to establish correct proportions, and the final step was to shade with pencil.

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.” Chuck Close

No Contest for Cuteness

Recess time, passing periods, and any spare classtime minutes were utilized by artist Zuri Shanklin to complete this extra project for the Humane Society’s student art contest. Unfortunately, the extra time wasn’t enough to complete it by the deadline, but this fantastic watercolor painting still deserves an audience. Zuri, your dedication, creativity, and artistic talent are the admirable qualities that will take you to the top!

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated…I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by people from the cruelty of humankind.” Mahatma Gandhi

Scratchboard Designs

Texture was the main element that students aimed to emphasize in this artistic endeavor. The scratchboard material is made of a golden surface that is covered by a layer of soft clay and then painted with black India Ink. Using sharp utensils to scratch into the surface, students methodically revealed their golden designs to create a truly dramatic effect!

“Art is literacy of the heart.” Elliot Eisner