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Super Fine & Super Fun

Updated: May 29, 2021

In a session titled The Gods In Print Teaching Artist Jane Huntington introduced ART YARD Advanced Studio to a brilliantly colorful symbolic and iconographic gods and goddesses of India.

Raja Ravi Varma, Kali
Narattam Naraith Nathdwary, Murli Manohar

Jane enthuses: “This week Advanced Studio artists really outdid themselves! August’s pen and ink work of Vishnu trying to catch a cab in NYC was especially popular, and for good reason. Zeke’s take on having multiple body parts (also in pen and ink) was reminiscent of Phillip Guston while clearly his own.

August Levenson, Modern Vishnu
Zeke Brokow, Modern Mythologies

Ed did a cut out of Krishna in Battled in a horse drawn chariot. We all loved the details on Ed’s exquisite collage!

Ed Rath, Krishna in Battle

Both Meridith and Rachael created Gods/Goddess with their cats as an inspiration for their comical works.

The ashes of my cat Elephi are buried in my back yard under a rose bush. This year the squirrels decimated the other rose bush breaking off buds on branches and munching on them as if a big cotton candy from Coney Island. They never touched the Elephi Rose. I jokingly said to friends the ghost of Elephi must have been up to his usual biting and scratching keeping those squirrels away. When Jane asked us to create a personal myth referencing these great Indian Gods and Goddess posters, Elephi as Kali Squirrel Destroyer was an obvious choice!

Meridith McNeal, Elephi Kali Squirrel Destroyer of the Don Juan Rose

Rachel tells us: "I was inspired by images of Ganesh and Kali to create my cat, Lil Mama as a goddess. Like Kali, she often has her tongue out, although in a much less menacing way. The gods and goddesses all have positives and negatives - a true duality of self. Lil Mama is the goddess of loyalty and gluttony. In one hand she carries her favorite toy, which she's had since she was a baby. She drags this toy all over the house and provides him with food, bedding, and even sometimes her litter box. Another hand holds Friskies Temptations, her favorite treat. The source image I used had a goddess standing in a giant lotus leaf - something I replaced with something more Lil Mama's speed, a cardboard box. I intend on making the background the kitchen, her favorite room."

Rachel Rath, Lil Mama Goddess of Loyalty and Gluttony
Lil Mama as Muse during Advanced Studio

Robin our newest ART YARD Artist created a fantastically positive Sun Flower Goddess who is spreading powerful energy to the world. During critique we discussed the human presence sunflowers in their majestic height. Marilyn shared that in Italian sunflower is “girasole”—from: to turn (girare) and sun. And sunflowers do turn with the sun—follow the sun from dawn to dusk!

Robin Grant, The Sun Goddess

Sarah started a water color using pomegranates, which is of personal meaning, and Marilyn’s piece was a water color featuring many symbolic elements from the work I shared in my presentation.

Sarah Gumgumji, Modern Mythologies (in progress)
Marilyn August, Modern Mythologies (in progress)

Pat explains: "This could be called "Elk Trivia Draft Palimpsest," or just "Mixed Media Study." It's not a narrative myth, but it is mythological. The image of an elk has been recurring in my life over the last week or two, so I decided to explore the image of an elk instead of an anthropomorphic deity. I got the sense that the elk was going to show me the way. I overlaid the elk on a map of the Tiber River in Rome, and, indeed, that showed the way: the elk's antlers frame Tiber Island, home to a temple to Aesculapius, god of healing. This piece is a meditation on community, health, and the relationship between nature and humans--themes that have been on my mind a lot over the last year or so, for obvious reasons. Tiber Island is in the middle of a communal project, the city of Rome, which has been a shared, constantly evolving collective project for the better part of three millennia, layers upon layers upon layers; sometimes layers are hidden, sometimes unearthed. Is the elk displaced from his natural habitat? Maybe he knows his way around the human-built landscape more than we think; his mouth coincides with the "Bocca della Verità" or "Mouth of Truth," a marble face carved on a disk. If you stick your hand in the face's mouth, it will bite your hand if you are lying. Maybe the elk will too. The layers of tracing paper represent the layers of history, partially but not completely obscured. The bottom layer is something I found when I was looking for scrap paper--a printout of a floor plan from last summer for the classroom where I'd be teaching this year, with distancing and ventilation all figured out (Reminiscent of some of Karla's architectural diagrams?) The moon-horned tripartite tree goddesses are Trivia at different times as she walks around the city. She is a threefold goddess (maybe Diana the huntress, Luna the moon, and Hekate a goddess of the underworld), called "Trivia" ("three roads") because she guarded junctions, especially Y-forks. I have decided to merge her, subtly, with Daphne the nymph who was turned into a laurel tree."

Pat Larash, Elk Trivia Draft Palimpsest

Karla explains her work: “Face card decals from my studio stash came to mind when looking at the lesson examples. Symmetry in some presented a background challenge. A page of line drawings of bugs seemed appealing as I was always fearful as a kid of what I call “crunchy bugs.” Suddenly it made sense the card figures could guard against bugs of various kinds!! The phrases “don’t bug me,” bug off, things like flu and virus bugs, a plague of locusts, pandemic, etc. Used colored pencil, pastel pencil, paper, marker.”

Karla Prickett, Bug Gods and Goddesses

Jane portrayed herself, flying up to the sun, like Hanuman, who thought the sun was a piece of fruit.”

Jane Huntington, Modern Mythologies

For his third session of ART YARD ART MATTERS at PS282 Claude Viaud Peralta had us working in collage. Students came to our Zoom class prepared with a all sorts of papers including recycled cards, catalogues, magazines, construction paper in a variety of colors, scissors and glue.

We looked at collages by Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Cey Adams, Hanne Hoch and Michael Schuwerk (with whom Claude studied!). We noticed that some these artists combined drawing materials with collage for a mixed final piece. All of them used overlapping. And some of them worked with negative space (or the space between objects).

George Braque Bottle and Musical Instruments, 1918
Pablo Picasso, The Guitar ,1913
Hannah Höch Collage II ,1925
Cey Adams, Hot Wheels, 2014

Claude suggested that we go back to our dream imagery for this collage and emphasized that he wanted everyone to have fun!

Lucy's explains her collage: "It's a dream, and part of it is Mr. Potato Head and Pegasus who are brother and sister, and they are friends with the polar bears. On the left there's a tunnel, a slide, and two giant jellybeans." (I think I recognize a tempting jellybean from the stencil session with Jane Huntington.)

Lucy, PS 282 Dream Collage

Connor depicted a bowl of potato chips near a pop up style open window.

Connor, PS 282 Dream Collage

June chose to work in mixed media.

June, PS 282 Dream Collage

Emma made a heart on a hand drawn cheetah background. She pointed out during critique that the cheetah print employs the concept of negative space.

Emma, PS 282 Dream Collage

Lola created a very Matisse-like “starry night” collage.

Lola, PS 282 Dream Collage
Henri Matisse, Icarus, 1946

Coco is still at work on her collage which will depict a Queen of Hearts. Inspired by the composition of a playing card, she has carefully placed a heart in each corner of her paper.

Coco, PS 282 Dream Collage

Juliet recycled a glittery star that worked well as a pop-up element. In the upper left is Pigeon from the Mo Willems books Pigeon Presents.

Juliet, PS 282 Dream Collage

Logan created what Juliet deemed a weather-themed mixed media collage with paint.

Logan, PS 282 Dream Collage

Our students definitely fulfilled Claude's suggestion and had SUPER FUN!

Lucy at work!
Pointing out the potato chips on Connor's collage!

Check out this weeks Video Recap:


As 3rd graders at ART YARD Art Matters at PS 6 in Jersey City prepare for the Memorial Day weekend, Teaching Artist Sarah Gumgumji introduced them to the works of artist Jasper Johns and his various versions of the American flag, both traditional and abstract. Her slide show presentation also included artist Aaron Fowler's flags indicating representations of family and Keith Haring's flag designed for a music festival depicting exuberance and joy.

Keith Haring, Le Drapeau, 1988

A group discussion about UNITY (PS 6's theme for this year - very closely associated with our theme of COMMUNITY) led students to compare flags from different nations, states and cities - and to understand the symbols connected.

Today's work will serve as the background for future classes where symbols and/or images of flags (whether imaginary places or their school flag or flags from lands where their grandparents may have come from) will be used for collage. Or, maybe just overlapped flags in the style of Johns' 1958 painting "Three Flags".

Jasper Johns, Three Flags, 1958

Using a variety of materials and techniques, students developed contemporary versions of the flag - some used circles instead of stars; green instead of red; incorporated features of flags from other countries into the American flag; the wheel from the flag of India in place of stars, and some simply followed the look of the traditional flag itself. Soryn drew and painted on many post-it notes and will attach them to one large sheet. Megha and Cailey each had 5 stars on their flags representing members of their families and pets. Hazel's flag shows 3 big hearts with her name and the names of her mother and father in each. Prateek's symbols illustrate peace and non-violence.

Mayank, PS 6 Flag for Unity
David, PS 6 Flag for Unity
Prateek, PS 6 Flag for Unity
Detail: Prateek, PS 6 Flag for Unity
Dayanni, PS 6 Flag for Unity

These 3rd graders were gigantically observant, too. John noticed that Jasper Johns' work only included 48 stars - and rightfully so as he painted them in the 1950's before Alaska and Hawaii were states!

Camila, PS 6 Flag for Unity
Sultan, PS 6 Flag for Unity
Lindsay, PS 6 Flag for Unity
Christian, PS 6 Flag for Unity

While students were given the liberty to use rulers, if need be, most everyone drew freehand straight lines with great success.

Rayansh, PS 6 Flag for Unity
Adriana, PS 6 Flag for Unity

Sarah adds: Some students used different shapes than the stars in the American flag, including hearts, rocks, happy faces, emojis, shaking hands, and crescents to express things they love. Some students added text and the White House. Students changed the stripe's colors into different colors; they incorporated different colors from another flag into the American flag. Students gave examples of the chosen colors as orange for good health, blue for united, and white for thinking of the homeless in India.”

Tania, PS 6 Flag for Unity

Dennis gives enthusiastic thanks to the teachers at PS 6 who offered to make extra time for students to complete these pieces prior to next week's lesson.


In other ART NEWS:

ART YARD Artist Ed Rath has an exhibition up at SUPERFINE in DUMBO. You can join Ed for the opening on Thursday, June 3, 6-8pm.

I hope you are able to see Ed Rath's exhibition in person! If not, I plan to make our last ART YARD Virtual Field Trip for Art Matters at PS 282 students and will include it in next weeks' recap.


The same evening is the benefit for Brooklyn Arts Council, who have generously funded part of our upcoming exhibition The Way We See It at FiveMyles. Both Teaching Artist Iviva Olenick and I have donated work to BAC for the benefit.


Stay super fine and have super fun!

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