SchoolArts Magazine

September 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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28 SEPTEMBER 2018 SchoolArts L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G ARTIST Q&A SchoolArts: When did you realize that art was what you were born to do? Bernard Pras: Around the age of fifteen, when I started making my first paintings. SA: What are the most important influences on your work, including other artists, events, or things outside of the arts? BP: Classical and Western artists inspired me a lot— Rembrandt, Soutine, and Velásquez. SA: What does a typical workday look like for you? BP: My workdays are very similar to those of a worker. I work from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., have a lunch/siesta, a nd then return to work from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. SA: How do the materials you use help to express your ideas? BP: The objects I use already have their own identity. I use this identity to build the installations. SA: Do you have specific strategies, rituals, or routines that help you work and/or generate ideas? BP: I do not have a particular strategy; the development is done naturally. SA: If you could go back in time, what would you like your art teacher to teach you? BP: That visual art is more about seeing than talking. That is the most valuable lesson I have learned. SA: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself as an emerging artist? BP: My advice is to go to the end of your dreams. SA: Do you stockpile materials ahead of time, or find them as you are working on a piece? BP: Both. I have a lot of things at my workshop. During an installation, I go out looking for objects that I miss and are related to the subject. DISCUSSION Begin by showing students La Pont Japonais (centerspread), Pras's recreation of Monet's The Japanese Bridge. Ask stu- dents if the image looks familiar and if they can identify the original artist. Next, explain that Pras's piece is made from found objects. Then compare Pras's piece to Monet's original painting, asking students to compare and contrast and identify the objects Pras used. Do the same with Pras's interpretation of Arcimboldo's Summer. Finally, reveal that Pras's works are actually anamor- phic sculptures by showing Pras's room-sized portrait of Malian actor Sotiqui Kouyaté from the French Institute in Ouadadougou (see link in Resources). Provide the defi- nition of anamorphic art as a lead-in to a discussion of Pras' s possible techniques and processes. Close by sharing additional examples from other artists, such as the ana- morphic shadow art of Red Hong Yi and Kumi Yamashita (see links in Resources). STUDIO EXPLORATIONS • In a large group, work collaboratively to create a found object artwork that can only be seen from a single viewpoint (anamorphic art). • In small groups, experiment with found objects and a light source to create anamorphic shadow ar t. • In a small group, create a 2D or 3D artwork that is designed to "fool the eye." Will you create an optical illu - sion, an anamorphic design, or something else? • Create an artwork or series of artworks that explores the concept of illusion. How are illusions created and decon- structed? How can art explore both figurative and literal illusions? How does the interaction between artist and viewer change when the artwork "fools" the eye? Written by Karl Cole, Art Historian and Curator of Images at Davis Publications and Robb Sandagata, Digital Curriculum Director and Editor at Davis Publications. RESOURCES Bernard Pras's portrait of Sotiqui Kouyaté: www.thisiscolossal.com/2013/04/this-anamorphic-portrait- by-bernard-pras-is-an-entire-room-full-of-objects Bernard Pras video: www.youtube.com/watch?time_ continue=179&v=s3x5fwv0UdU Red Hong Yi's Shadow Art: redhongyi.com/portfolio/the-art-of-fandom Kumi Yamashita's Shadow Art: www.kumiyamashita.com/light-and-shadow Bernard Pras, Guernica (detail). © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

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