Moving forward with their lesson on 'community', today students participating in ART YARD Art Matters at PS 6, our Jersey City partnership school, discussed various types of masks and the parts they play in our lives. Teaching Artist Vera Tineo showed several images of masks (some historic, many artistic) including some masks made from cabbage and Nutella jars!
Dennis reports: “Vera went the extra mile (in this case - MANY extra miles) and created approximately 100 mask templates using a screen printing technique. The process was explained to students using stills from the internet on the classroom smartboard. Vera made templates in various colors and sizes - complete with cut-out handles.
Students had many options - some used the drawings they made last week and collaged their masks; some made new drawings and cut and pasted them to their masks; many drew directly onto their masks; and others used all of the above methods.
4th grader Mohammed collaged his mask with TV characters (he even googled for an image of Mr. Bean - I didn't think a 4th grader knew who Mr. Bean was!) while his classmate Hazel drew images of animals wearing masks and added text to her work.
Vera gave each student a paper clip (a foreign object to nearly all of them!) to keep their cut out pieces and paper used for drafting together for the next session. During critique - many expressed that cutting was one of the challenges of collaging and of this lesson. They're right - cutting can be difficult.”
Vera adds: Masks have become a representation of the wearer. Many people now consciously choose to share identity, emotions and experience on their mask. I silkscreen printed three different standard size mask for our students to use as a base for their mixed media, collaged and drawn artworks exploring the topic of community. In these pieces we created our own icons that capture an eclectic rage of personal experiences within our communities.”
We started the week in ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom with Teaching Artist Quentin Williamston presenting the second part of his session titled The Many Faces We Wear/The Idea Of The Face in which made unmasking and/or unmasked self-portrait inspired by the drawing of William Kentridge.
Quentin summarizes: “I began the session with a review of the work of William Kentridge and his use of film stills. Another discussion was prompted about mask wearing in society and the initial reactions to unmasking in the different phases of the pandemic. It also led us to think about how others appear to us that we’ve never seen without a mask and how we appear to those on the other side of that perspective. We collectively thought of different ways to identify people and how the mask could easily act as a protective agent especially with the mandate recently lifted. Following the discussion, we reviewed the steps for creating our new and own versions of William Kentridge’s pieces. We created an “unmasking piece”(taking off the mask action) and many also continued on to make a second “actual unmasked selves.” Most of us worked on recycled newspaper or printed paper using oil pastels and a variety of different available mediums.
Following the independent work time, everyone gathered together for critique. At critique the work was compared and contrasted, and always a favorite of mine -- everyone shared kind compliments. Students produced work that went above and pushed the lesson beyond my expectations. Each student had a distinctive perspective on the different versions of themselves and the expressions were all very profound.”
Quentin’s own pieces are remarkable portraits which show a great facility with the medium and perfectly exemplify the lesson.
Quentin Williamston, Un-Masking I & II
Quentin Williamston, Masked and Un-Masking quartet
Karla depicted “seeing or imagining myself without a mask. How has the mask wearing or not wearing felt physically and psychologically? The attached Kentridge photo for the lesson announcement inspired my idea of how I have viewed myself…how my glasses/eyes have provided my translations! In today’s session I used a tiled photo copy image of week one portrait, recycled tablet back and photo album page, colored pencil and collage.
Maraya absolutely saved my day with her wonderfully funny video! Maraya explains: “My piece was about embracing the Slo-Mo video on my I Phone to dramatize the moment of taking off my mask. The act of play is essential to my artmaking so I enjoy using cheap props like 99 cent werewolf teeth from Party City as an artist material.”
Maraya Lopez, Un-Masking
Kevin’s piece is still in progress, but knowing his skill with oil pastel, we cannot wait for his updated image (check back as I will add the completed work when he is finished.)
Delphine and I both had trying days and shared a text conversation during class in which we commiserated. We decided that we would focus on creating just one piece, rather than two to take off some of the pressure.
Collage expert Karla complimented Delphine saying: I really liked the expression and its simplicity. The angular cuts to the white collage pieces create a form of undrawn line within the composition. The small collaged piece with minimal graphic in the upper right corner is great!
Like Delphine, Nayarit used text with great results!
Nayarit Tineo, Un-Masking I & II
Alison and Marilyn both made wonderful representations of themselves which in both cases beautifully get across their sunny positive dispositions!
Vera, who spends a lot of time commuting by subway, created a video with a travel app in the background.
Vera Tineo, Un-Masking
Tuesday we finished our current cycle at BNS! ART YARD Art Matters at BNS students finished up the two projects we've worked on: masked self portraits (for those who were absent last week) and surrealist eyes.
Completed BNS student self portraits with mask
Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau reports: “In the surrealist eye lesson, students partnered up and drew the outlines of one another's eyes from observation. Then, they imagined a scene associated with their hopes or plans for this spring and drew it within the iris of the eye. Students added color using their choice of colored pencils or watercolors.
This was a high-energy day, perhaps partly owing to the warm temperatures outside, and many students filled the imagined scenes in their surrealist eyes with sunny days and natural elements. One student depicted Prospect Park, her favorite place in the city. Others continued the dragon theme from last week, and Zoe contrasted a sunny sky and a lightning storm in her drawing. As he worked, Max G. told me enthusiastically, "It's not just art, it's imagination and amazement!"
Surrealist Eye pieces by BNS Students
We had a full critique today, with students explaining the motivation behind different elements of their work, noticing comparisons and contrasts, and giving compliments to their classmates. Students mentioned the attention to detail and vivid colors in several artworks.
Later that evening at our studio in BWAC, ART YARD Advanced Studio in person finished up the third session with Teaching Artist Candy Heiland inspired by Wassily Kandinsky who created paintings based on the music he listened to.
Candy tells us: “This week we listened to Charlie Parker and John Coltrane for our inspiration. This evenings pieces appeared to be channeling the works of famous artists.
Nayarit commented that Alison’s painting reminded her of plates included in Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party an installation widely regarded as the first epic feminist artwork, it functions as a symbolic history of women in civilization. There are 39 elaborate place settings on a triangular table for 39 mythical and historical famous women.
Judy Chicago, Sappho from The Dinner Party, 1974-1979 and Nayarit Tineo, Synesthesia: Coltrane, 2022
Meridith saw the connection between Nayarit’s piece and Stuart Davis who like Kandinsky painted work inspired by music, however in his case by Jazz.
Stuart Davis, Report from Rockport, 1940 and Nayarit Tineo, Synesthesia: Coltrane, 2022
Robin was in art making heaven during this session as John Coltrane is her very favorite musician of all time! Candy notes, in retrospect, the connection between Robins’ work and Mark Tobey.
Mark Tobey, Psaltry Second Form, 1974 and Robin Grant, Synesthesia: Coltrane, 2022
Amelia and Vera, sharing the same palette, created works reminiscent of Lee Krasner and Hans Hoffman. Alison noted that Vera’s personal artistic style is so evident in her pieces, adding that her fabulous style is very New York!
Lee Krasner, Object Lesson, 1956 and Amelia Tineo, Synesthesia: Coltrane, 2022
Hans Hoffman, Fantasia, 1943 and Vera Tineo, Synesthesia: Coltrane, 2022
Amelia pointed out that Candy’s painting looked like a sky and stars. Candy exclaimed, “That really helps, I’m going to paint the background black! Thanks, Amelia! And now, it can be compared to Kandinsky.”
Wassily Kandinsky, Sketch for Several Circles, 1926 and Candy Heiland, Synesthesia: Coltrane, 2022
My work is inspired in feel and, I think, action to the gorgeous work of Cy Twombly.
Cy Twombly, Quattro Stagioni, 1994 and Meridith McNeal, Synesthesia: Coltrane, 2022
It was yet another, amazing, inspiring evening of creativity and uplifting interchange amongst like-minded artists!
Other art news:
I ran into ART YARD Artist Blaze Sirus-El in the neighborhood this afternoon. Fingers on the pulse of the hippest fashion around, that's our Blaze!
Blaze quipped: “I wanted to do something to these sunglasses, so I just channeled my ART YARD self…I love cars, it just came to me what to do and I made them.”