|Michael Catalano Artist & Educator||
Personal Object Vanitas
Students looked at the artwork of Audrey Flack in order to investigate symbolism. The students were asked to bring in five objects that represent their identity. Students learned observational drawing skills, rules of composition alongside of conceptual modes of expression.
Self Defined Portraits
Students used their knowledge of symbolism and applied it to a conceptual piece of their own. They looked at the self portraits of Cindy Sherman for inspiration of their own unconventional self portrait. Students are asked, What is a self portrait? How do I envision my self portrait? How would others envision a self portrait of myself? How would my self portrait be different from the person's next to me? How would the way others perceive my self portrait affect the way I would create my own? These essential questions aided in the students investigation of identity. They created their own visual and written definition of self portraiture. These definitions exhibited strong ownership and self expression. Students reflect upon this work through writing and critique.
Paralleled Identity Collages
In celebration of Black History Month students chose an Iconic African American figure to parallel their own identity with. Students investigated ways of symbolizing the similarities and differences of their icon to themselves. They explored varieties of media and overcame the struggle of the process of experimentation. Students took ownership over their work and reflected upon their investigation of self and artistry through writing and critique.
The Everyday Story
Ninth through twelfth grade students examined their everyday lives by answering questions such as: What happens when nothing happens? How do we recognize the ordinary in the extra- ordinary? How does transportation affect our everyday lives? Students used recycled books and three other materials to create their own everyday sculptural stories.
I worked along side the faculty during my time at Wissahickon High School in a collaborative project that crossed the artistic boundaries of music and visual art. Students in the Art Media course redesigned the album covers hand-selected by the Instrumental Music teacher. The albums were then photographed and the Graphic Design deapartment created the record labels and outer text. Simultaneously the music department was creating origional line notes. Together the albums were reinvented from the inside to the outside.
Students learned the fundamental drawing principle of linear perspective. They drew observationally in the hallways of their school. They applied their knowledge of geometry into the complex spacial problems they encountered. They were shown paintings by the Renaissance masters who invented linear perspective. Students were then brought back into the classroom where they explored modes of color such as: mood, association, experience and memory. Students chose and created a color scheme based on one of the modes of color above. With this color scheme the students were able to redesign the interior of their own drawings and stretch the application of linear perspective through design. The final products contained a narrative of their experiences in and out the high school's interior.
Students were taken out of the art room and into the Library. Here the students investigated the built environments of the world. Students chose a specific place to investigate based on its purpose in terms of: religious / belief systems, governmental, economic, institutional and recreational purposes. Students used their place of choice as a muse for a conceptual artwork of their own. They were asked to apply their learnings of linear perspective to re-create, re-design, or re-contextualize a new place based on their researched built environment. Students worked through the conceptual problem solving process, where they were able to gain knowledge in other places and invent their own. The work was reflected upon through writing and critique.