I Spy...

“Eyes are both subtle and strong - they engage passing individuals, allowing for meditation or inviting dialogue." - artists Andrew Ginzel and Kristin Jones


Roman Street Mural, photographed by Meridith McNeal June 2019

This was an exciting week at ART YARD as we began our new collaboration ART YARD Art Matters with PS 282 in Brooklyn. Our programs take place on Zoom every Wednesday and are open to all students in the school, PreK-5th graders on a first-come-first serve basis. There are three groups organized by age -- PreK & kindergarteners, 1st & 2nd graders, and 3rd, 4th & 5th graders.


I was the Teaching Artist with Dennis serving as administrator, assisted by Vera for I Spy With My Eye art making sessions inspired by Andrew Ginzel and Kristin Jones’ MTA Arts for Transit installation Oculus at the Chamber Street subway station. Through a screen shared PowerPoint we viewed several photos of the Oculus installation, a diagram of an eye and its parts, a beautiful eye mural I photographed on the street in Rome and several sample eye paintings by children and adults.


Andrew Ginzel and Kristin Jones’ MTA Arts for Transit installation Oculus at the Chamber Street subway station
Andrew Ginzel and Kristin Jones, (detail) MTA Arts for Transit installation Oculus at the Chamber Street subway station
Andrew Ginzel and Kristin Jones, (detail) MTA Arts for Transit installation Oculus at the Chamber Street subway station

After a lively dialogue and instructions we got to work! Students used a small mirror for reference to carefully depict a larger-than-life portrait of their own eye from observation using watercolors.


PS 282 1st graders at work
PS 282 student at work on I Spy With My Eye
Sabrina, I Spy Eye, watercolor on paper
Lucy, I Spy Eye, watercolor on paper
Mark, I Spy Eye, watercolor on paper
Lola, I Spy Eye, watercolor on paper
Conor, I Spy Eye, watercolor on paper
Aysia, I Spy Eye, watercolor on paper
Coco, I Spy Eye, watercolor on paper
Dylan, I Spy Eye, watercolor on paper

Our second project was a drawing game I Spy... in which I carefully described an item while the students listened. I repeated the description adding details then again as the students drew from my description. This exercise takes skill and patience and is lots of fun! After they’d completed their drawings I held up the mysterious objects ... a small stone sculpture of a face representing the wind and a tomato-shaped pin cushion.


Kylar, I Spy Pin Cushion & photo of the pincusion I described
Ella, I Spy Sculpture & photo of the sculpture I described

We shared the finished pieces holding our paintings up to the screen. For our critique students complemented each other’s work. Lucas enthused: "Chloe's work looks fantastic!" Tristan exclaimed: "I love the design of Luke's eye because it looks identical to his real eye!" and Kylar complimented "I loved Chiara's eye and she really made a great choice of colors.".


Screen shot of critique from session 2 (detail)

Looking at these excellent student paintings I must agree with artists Andrew Ginzel and Kristin Jones in their assessment: “Eyes are both subtle and strong - they engage passing individuals, allowing for meditation or inviting dialogue."


As part of this program Vera and I will create a short recap video each week that can be seen on our new YouTube channel. Check it out!




This week in ART YARD Advanced Studio Teaching Artist Quentin Williamston brought us on a guided visualization into the artwork of Yayoi Kusama.


Yayoi Kusama with her artwork

Quentin describes the session: “I introduced Yayoi Kusama with references from her latest show entitled, “To infinity(rooms) and beyond” 2019-2020, revealing a world of psychedelics, patterns, and bold color in large scale environments.

We watched a short video on Kusama and her story as an artist which prompted discussion about Kusama’s artwork and the various styles that she uses. We discussed her reasoning behind some of these works and what her inspiration was based on the video. We even discussed the many techniques used and the way in which she uses them to create a continuous infinity effect. Participating artists were then given instructions on how to complete the anticipated piece(s).


I then carefully described what I saw in an image of one of Kusama’s latest installations. (Image at the bottom of this segment of the recap!). Materials were left up to the artist. The image was described for 5 minutes giving students the choice to create during or after the description. After the first 10 minutes, students asked questions and the image was described for a second time.


Nayarit Tineo, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing
Quentin Williamston, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing
Zeke Brokaw, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing
TJ Edgar, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing
Marilyn August, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing
Meridith McNeal, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing
Ed Rath, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing
Assata Benoit, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing
Eden Moore, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing
Halli Beaudoin, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing

At critique we displayed our work, compared/contrasted and gave compliments. Everyone produced work that captured the infinite aspect of the lesson. I loved Vera’s description of her process as “Seeing things from Kusama point of view.” And Ed got a chuckle out of the group when he pointed out that Jane and August creating images without linear drawings first were truly able to “connect the dots.” (Reg Lewis Award to Ed for that comment!) Each student had a different perspective which in turn created a palette of our own connected infinite ideas.”


Vera Tineo, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing
Jane Huntingto, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing
August Levenson, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing

Jacob (dressed as Yayoi Kusama and donning a blue wig for the session!) explains “I made one drawing of a plant out of lipstick. I made another drawing of a plant, and smashed blueberries onto the page as polka dots. I wanted to smash blueberries onto my drawing because I wanted to have an element of randomness in my piece.”


Jacob Rath, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing

Sarah says of the lesson: “When we were last in person at our partnership school PS 6, Dennis and I taught a lesson inspired by the work of Yayoi Kusama. I enjoyed Quentin’s session based on Kasuma’s artwork, which took a totally different path than our PS 6 lessons.”

Sarah Gumgumji, Yayoi Kusama Guided Visualization Drawing

Wayne joined us for the first few minutes of the session and was able to watch Quentin’s PowerPoint and the video about Yayoi Kusama but then he had to sign off unexpectedly early. Inspired by the discussion and video of Yayoi Kusama and her work. Wayne responded with a drawing inspired by Yayoi’s circle motifs and use of red.

Wayne Gross, Yayoi Kusama inspired Drawing

And now the big reveal.... here is the image Quentin described for us!

Yayoi Kusama, obliteration room 2011

ART YARD CREATE Project Manager Sarah Gumgumji has posted the latest interview with ART YARD Board Member Cecile Chong. Check it out to find out more about Cecile’s beautiful artwork and see what advice she has for us!


Screen shot from CREATE Interview with Cecile Chong

Congratulations to Teaching Artist Candy Heiland who has work included in "NEUTRAL NATION" A Virtual Art Exhibit at ARTFRONT GALLERIES in Collaboration With

RESEARCH WITH A HEART


Thanks so much for taking the time to read this weeks ART YARD Recap!



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