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Creating a New Whole

The first line of the official ART YARD BKLYN philosophy states: “We believe that art is a holistic endeavor allows us to delve into any topic imaginable.”

I have been thinking this week about how as artists we have this wide expanse of potential open to us. Often an idea from a class, an artwork or a conversation from critique seems to manifests itself in a new context in some surprising way. For example, this week after Karla’s superb collage session I noticed a hand made collage snuck into a sea of stickers on one of those metal boxes on the sidewalk which get covered in stickers. Candy mulls over a tangential version of this idea in her review of her visit to MoMA. (See images interspersed into the recap below!) How have art ideas expanded your vision?


In ART YARD Advanced Studio on zoom on Monday, ART YARD Artist Karla Prickett presented a session called Collage: Botanic Invention. After viewing Karla’s very well researched introduction to the art of collage, we fabricated a imaginary botanic composition using collage as the medium of expression.

Karla presenting her lesson on Zoom

Karla summarizes: “Thanks to all who shared in the lesson session! I seem to work predominantly in collage and thought it might be fun to engage everyone in this art form. It was quite interesting to me to research the origins of collage and how/where the term originated.

Collage: from the French: coller, "to glue" or "to stick together"; is a technique of art creation, primarily used in the visual arts, but in music too, by which art results from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole. ~ Wikipedia

I decided to go back to its origins, 1912, and learn of the artist friendship and first collage works produced post World War I, by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. The real surprise while resourcing was learning of a much earlier artist, Mary Delany, (United Kingdom) who in 1772 at the age of 72, began creating a series of floral collages on black ink backgrounds. We also looked at collage work by Dadaists and Surrealists Hana Hoch, Kurt Schwitters, and Jean Arp; Henri Matisse “Cut Outs”, Man Ray’s solarization rayographs; Betye Saar assemblages; Romare Bearden cultural commentary collage and the collage-like culturally significant paintings of Jacob Lawrence.

Mary Delany, Sea Daffodil, 1778. Collage, with watercolor, on black ink background.

I asked participating artists to take inspiration from the floral theme from the work of Delany while opening the concept up to any style of collage expression. I was wowed by the expressive pieces created in the lesson, the individual concepts and stories told. From free form cutting, to cut out imagery, to digital layering, photomontage and mixed mediums. Exciting pieces, fun comparisons, and the very best of creative inspiration and encouragement among us all!”

In no less than 55 layers of images, Abby created her Crystal Bouquet on her iPad.

Abbrielle Johnson, Botanic Invention

Karla and Marilyn both referenced the human form. Karla using old medical texts (nice looking intestines!) and Marylin using art and botanical images for her piece (still in progress.).

Karla Prickett, Botanic Invention

Marilyn August, Botanic Invention

Imala and Kevin (still in progress) reference beloved flowers from their everyday experience -- Imala her daily photographs of flowers in Clinton Hill and Kevin the orchids he is now raising.

Imala Davenport, Botanic Invention

Kevin Anderson, Botanic Invention

I had recycled my paper products and thus went the Matisse route out of necessity! Painting scraps of paper in red, green and yellow then cutting my shapes free form to build my imaginary botanical. Like Mary Delany I glued onto black paper.

Meridith McNeal, Botanic Invention

Ed told a wonderful story of his recent trip to Thailand and the visual glittery abbondanza experience of the place, which included a flowering tree which had additional pots of blooming flowers tied to the trunk!

Ed Rath, Botanic Invention

Here is the collaged sticker I found on Washington Avenue in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn:

Street Art Collage on Washington Avenue near Greene Avenue, Brooklyn.


Dennis enthusiastically reports: "Students at our ART YARD Art Matters partnership school, The East New York School of Art and Civics, made excellent progress in their portraits celebrating Black History Month.

Under the guidance of Teaching Artist, Fatima Traore, students picked up several new painting skills - including color mixing, using tiny brushes for details, and the oft-time need for adding water to acrylic paint.

Some of the portraits are of Viola Davis, Kobe Bryant, Beyonce, a BLM protester, and Nicki Minaj.

Student artists in concentrated work painting

I selected images of Madam C. J. Walker and James Baldwin (there are so many terrific poses to choose from!) and requested that Rah-nee and Tiara paint their portraits - and both were up to the challenge! Rah-nee even decided to paint Madam Walker in sepia-tone. Both portraits are in early stages but progress is being made very quickly.

Classic images of Madam C. J. Walker and James Baldwin

Students created drafts on drawing paper with pencil and are now working on 9x12 canvas (on table top easels) with dozens of colors of acrylic paints."

Use arrows to scroll through student portrait paintings in progress.


"You'll see that life is still worthwhile, if you'll just smile"

- Charlie Chaplin, 1936 (written for the film "Modern Times")

Dennis writes in from the Path Train: "There were lots of teeth fun-facts, and jokes, from Teaching Artist Fatima Traore AND 4th and 5th grade students this week at our partnership school in Jersey City, PS 6. Seems like everyone wanted to get into the act of telling a joke about teeth. But mostly, there were lots of paintings and mixed media pieces nearing completion in this 2nd class which Fatima calls "The Purposeful Tooth".

Ella's tooth seemed to develop a forest-like world of its own, with tiny mushrooms growing as a result of bacteria found on teeth. There was a one-eyed tooth who felt left out because of its disability - quite a few rainbow tooths (rainbow teeths?); shark teeth with happy little fish nearby (they won't be happy for long!); surfboard looking teeth, and a cheetah patterned tiger tooth.

As always, Fatima demonstrated the proper way to use a paintbrush with watercolor paint AND reminded students to not saturate their papers with water nor rub the brush back and forth in the same spot to avoid tearing the paper.

Fatima conducted well-engaged critiques and every single student remembered the answer to last week's tooth quiz: "which creature has the most teeth?" Do YOU remember? If not, check back to last week's recap."

Critique at PS 6


Other Art News

As I mentioned last week, ART YARD Advanced Studio Artists are gearing up for a series of field trips to see art in person. Getting a head start on the group, ART YARD Artists Candy Heiland and Vera Tineo spent an entire day at MoMA this week!

Vera reports: “It was thrilling to visit the Museum of Modern Art for the very first time. As a CUNY student I have free access to so many master artworks I have only ever seen in books – such as Vincent Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Leonora Carrington. I also discovered wonderful artists who are new to me. My favorites included: Anni Albers, Elizabeth Catlett, José Clemente Orozco, and Lynda Benglis.

How great to be at MoMA with Candy to discuss the work as we experienced it! In fact, I would say it was an overwhelming and emotional experience. One of the most moving discoveries was seeing in person work by an artist I have been fixated on, the deeply talented David Hammons. His Flying Carpet with chicken floating in the air really made me ponder his work as it relates to culture, history and society.

Vera with David Hammons, Flying Carpet at MoMA

Finally, Candy and I adored the Meret Oppenheim show!! It gave us such insight to her interdisciplinary work over time. Oppenheim was a true creator who actively engaged in experimentation - what an inspiration to how I would like to continue my growth as an artist.”

Installation view Meret Oppenheim at MoMA

Candy adds: “Vera and I looked at everything we could! The next day I was walking around New York and everything looked like art!

Candy Heiland, Art in the Every Day


Valentine Greetings (a little early)!


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