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“I like them ALL, because they are all great!”

Updated: May 5, 2021

Teaching Artist Richard Estrin was back for another challenging and thought provoking ART YARD Advanced Studio session titled Private Displacement.

Richard explained the inspiration and the concept of the project: “This period of COVID has rendered our city nearly unrecognizable. The events of the last 13 months have presented us with what, until now, would have been unrecognizable. Empty streets. Times Square desolate but illuminated. Field hospitals in Central Park. The USN Comfort.

Yashua Klos, God of The Ghetto, 2015, paper construction of woodblock prints and graphite on archival paper

It has required behavioral changes not considered before. Mask wearing, social distancing, line waiting—all to the score of the relentless sirens seared into our consciousness last year.

It is not a far leap to say that our world and our place within it has shifted: it has shrunk, become less social, more isolated and we have become much more vulnerable. Communities have been stressed and some have fallen away. We have spent more time alone, inside, learning to become more self-sustaining.

In many ways, it is as if we find ourselves displaced from our familiar lives. We are Immigrants or refugees in our own homes. As a result, we end up looking inward. Searching within ourselves to find resilience and ways to reinvent our communities, our support systems, our ways of engagement—in fact, ourselves.

For this project we will consider the work of four different artists who, for different reasons, are on the margins. They explore their positions in different ways which may offer us clues as to how to explore and unpack our present, unfamiliar lives.”

Richard shared the work of Marc Chagall, Riva Leherer, Julie Mehretu, and Yashua Klos who have explored the themes of isolation, marginalization, dislocation and diaspora.

Marc Chagall, I and the Village, 1911, oil on canvas
Riva Leherer, Blue Veronica, 1999, Gouache on Amate paper

We were all challenged by Richard’s ideas and several participants asked to have a copy of Richards introduction and PowerPoint to continue thinking about the presentation.

Jacob explains: “My piece is about how Minnesota has transformed into a police state during the past year. In the past year, we've been under military lockdown three times. My drawing includes an image of fences and barbed wire which have become commonplace in the city. There are tanks, national guard, and cops in riot gear in a swarm of tear gas. There are small businesses boarded up so that they don't get looted. In the bottom left corner, a small strip of public land is blocked off and contains poles on it to prevent homeless people from setting up tents on that spot. Someone protested this closing off of public lands by spray painting "Native Lives Matter," on the barricade. My drawing also contains an angry tweet directed at the mayor. All of these scenes are contrasted with an image of a dog sitting in a rocking chair by an idyllic Midwestern lake scene.”

Jacob Rath, Private Displacement Minneapolis

Likewise Nayarit addresses issues of deep importance including Black Lives Matter, Social Distancing and the violent and catastrophic maelstrom experienced during the pandemic.

Nayarit Tineo, Private Displacement I Can't Breath

Eden depicts a desolate NYC, but as Ed pointed out, her light colored pigeon seems a stand in for a dove and thus a symbol of hope.

Eden Moore, Private Displacement Empty Times Square

Wayne tackled living in isolation in Queens as well as a hopeful looking towards the future employing what I mistook as gold leaf and turned out to be a chocolate wrapper.

Wayne Gross, Private Displacement Self Potrait with Gold Wrapper
Wayne Gross, Private Displacement Sunny Side, Queens
Wayne Gross, Private Displacement Hope

Marilyn celebrates the oasis of her garden and pines for a time of travel.

Marilyn August, Private Displacement In the Garden

August tells us:My inspiration for the drawings was the talk about spirit animals mixed with satire and the sensation of seeing people a year later.”

August Levenson, Private Displacement Spirit Animals
August Levenson, Private Displacement Chicken for President

Zeke and I both used our phones to reference displacement:

Zeke Brokow, Private Displacement The Phone, 4 studies
Meridith McNeal, Private Displacement Phone on Mailed Envelope

Ed’s visually striking image of working under social distance measures reminded some of us of the game Twister.

Ed Rath, Private Displacement Social Isolation at Work

Sigrid depicts the new normal of social distance friendships taking place in the park.

Sigrid Dolan, Private Displacement Friends in the Park

Ardelia’s striking montage drawing is layered in multiple narratives clearly addressing our topic of Private Displacement.

Ardelia Lovelace, Private Displacement

It was another fantastic week for ART YARD Art Matters at PS 282. It is remarkable to watch our very young artists so deeply focused and successful in their artmaking. They are recalling techniques from week-to-week and employing their skills to new lessons.

Teaching Artist Jane Huntington was back for the second part of our stencil series inspired by the work of Maraya Lopez. Jane’s power point included superb examples of artwork made with stencils work including a glittery rainbow unicorn, a mysterious forest with beautiful layered colors and examples created in Jane’s ART YARD Advanced Studio Session earlier in the week.

Jane presenting on Zoom (with glittery unicorn stencil art)

Jane prepared this excellent how-to presentation:

Jane Huntington, How To Work with a Stencil PowerPoint

Students worked hard, some making more than one piece, others creating saturated colorful paintings that cover the entire paper. We were excited to see how overlapping stencils created new colors in the overlapped area.

Taylor, PS 282 Stencil Artwork
Avery, PS 282 Stencil Artwork
Aria, PS 282 Stencil Artwork
Noelle, PS 282 Stencil Artwork
Anna, PS 282 Stencil Artwork
Conor at work
Emma displays her work

Some students made narrative images while others worked abstractly. Rhys’ mother tells us that he enjoyed the process so much that he spent the time after the class making another one, pointing out to his mother that he was using overlapping.

Rhys, PS 282 Stencil Artwork (and stencils)
Juliet, PS 282 Stencil Artwork
June, PS 282 Stencil Artwork
Sakura, PS 282 Stencil Artwork
Max PS 282 proudly shares his Stencil Artwork
Lola PS 282 Stencil Artwork
Lucas PS 282 Stencil Artwork
Logan PS 282 Stencil Artwork
Lucy PS 282 Stencil Artwork
Jack PS 282 Stencil Artwork

As Lucy exclaimed during critique – “I like them ALL, because they are all great!”

Take a look at our weekly video recap for more step-by-step instructions. PS 282 students who create work on their own using these instructions, are encouraged to send us their artwork for possible inclusion in our end of year exhibition!

Vera Tineo, ART YARD Art Matters at PS 282 on Zoom, digital drawing

At ART YARD Art Matters at PS 6 Teaching Artist Iviva Olenick along with Dennis and Sarah were back with classes exploring Memory Maps.

Iviva recaps today's sessions: “This week, we looked at abstract imaginary maps by Julie Mehretu and Emily Garfield. Students noted the black and white palette in Mehretu's work, and the color in Garfield's work. They interpreted these imaginary maps as landscapes with trees, or aerial views of cities. Students then made their own drawings of imaginary places they would most want to visit. These included chocolate rivers, candy lands, waterfalls and more”.

Emily Garfield Pattern Recognition, (Quadrants series # 5), 2019, pen and watercolor

Dennis adds: “The vocabulary words for today were: abstract, Utopia, psychogeography. (Wow, I need to add that last one to my daily lexicon.)

Sarah Gumgumji (PS 6 Program Assistant), Student at work on Google Classroom Session
Swara PS 6 Imaginary Map
Swara PS6 triptych
Roshan PS 6 Imaginary map
Yashas PS 6 imaginary map quartet
Yashas PS 6 imaginary map
Pavan PS6 Imaginary Map
Harashita, PS 6 Imaginary Map
Harishita, PS 6 Map Tryptych (quartet)
Sarah Gumgumji, Critique photo from Google Classroom at PS 6
Malissia, PS 6 Imaginary Map Diptych
Avi, PS 6 Imaginary Map
Avi, PS 6 Imaginary Map Triptych
Atharva, PS 6 Imaginary Map
Aarna, PS 6 Imaginary Map Triptych
Aarna PS6 Imaginary Map
Atharva PS6 Map triptych
Ainsworth PS6 Imaginary Map

And, we had Julian R. in class today - brother of Ashley (a STAR intern from the early days of this collaboration). Can you believe that he is in 5th grade already?”

While it can be a bit shocking to see our students grow up, I am so proud of the people they are becoming! Truly, it gives me hope for the future to see these intelligent and spirited artists mature as we have the privilege of working with them.

Harini PS6 Map Triptych

I would like to express my gratitude to PS 6 classroom teacher Maria Tolentino who in addition to overseeing her brilliant students with great skill during our Google Classroom sessions, has consistently insured that we get excellent images of student work to share in this recap.


Other art news:

Congratulations to Jacob Rath whose piece Goy Division is cited in a review of the exhibition Authenticity and Identity in the Washington CITYPAPER.


I am really impressed that kindergartner Lorenzo who participates in ART YARD Art Matters at PS 282 becomes so engrossed in learning new art techniques. You may recall that I mentioned his focus earlier in the season on Sumi ink drawing. His latest obsession is paper sculpture. Take a look at this fabulous piece, which he insisted be photographed from more than one angle!

Lorenzo, PS 282 paper flowers

Posting this week has been a technological train wreck. If I missed posting your image, I apologize. I'll blame it on that rather rough Pink Moon.

PS: Did you know YOU can donate to ART YARD through PayPal? We truly appreciate your support.

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