SchoolArts Magazine

Summer 2019

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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26 SUMMER 2019 SchoolArts L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G ARTIST Q&A What are some of the biggest influences on your work, including other artists, events, or things outside of the arts? Charles Clough: A wise college teacher offered invalu- able advice to me as a young artist. He demonstrated the f our steps to the formulation of life as an artist: attend- ing art exhibitions, exchanging studio visits, studying all i maginably related literature, and discerning your path as an artist. This road map was so meaningful for me that I came to refer to it as "the four keys to the kingdom of artist-hood." Following this advice widened my contact with artists, collectors, critics, and museum curators, all of whom influenced my participation in the world of art. What is a typical workday like for you? CC: My work as an artist flows into all the hours and days of my life interrupted only by family commitments and practical necessities. That is to say that I am driven and energized by the compelling nature of art. A typical day includes substantial time for reading and writing, making books, developing ideas for talks, hosting studio visitors, managing my archive, and offering my current collabora- tive public painting project I call Clufffalo: Seasons. Do you have specific strategies, rituals, or routines that help you work and/or generate ideas? CC: Looking at art constantly, in print or in exhibitions, underlies all of what I do and is central to every day of my life. Making art fills my available hours. I fantasize about what would be the circumstances for optimal productivity: a huge space, abundant materials, and a staff for support and management. What is the role of your support community? Assistants, art dealers, collectors, art critics/journalists? How do you develop this network of support? CC: Just as the artist is bound to the culture, there is also an essential connection to the people who make the art world go around. These players provide stimulation, critique, opportunity, support, and friendship. I was involved in the founding of an alternative art space in Buffalo, New York, known as Hallwalls. We modeled our experiment on similar ventures in New York City, Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Hallwalls survives today. In its forty-five year history, the art space has presented more than 6,000 events including some 8,000 artists. We called our program model "export/ import." We invited many emerging artists to exhibit and present from the art centers of the world importing ideas and creative artists to us. As we established relationships with these talented people, we found a ready network to welcome us into the art world as we "exported" ourselves into places like New York City. Why is collaboration essential to your artwork? CC: I am interested in offering a radical welcome that draws others into the creative process and challenges notions of authorship. In my current collaborative project, Clufffalo: Seasons, one painting is collaboratively pro- duced each season. Since the autumn of 2015, more than 450 people from around the world, ages one to ninety-two, have donned a smock and applied paint—usually with visible delight. Layer upon layer of color dries, and at the conclusion of each season, I grind and gouge through those layers to achieve the final appearance. I document the entire process by video and I photograph the participants. A book is made for each painting that includes portraits of the participants and a photo of each successive stage of the painting itself. The co-creators become themselves a part of art history with the work of their hands embedded in the painting and the record of their participation docu- mented in the corresponding book. DISCUSSION To begin, ask students what it means to collaborate. Ask them to share some of their experiences working as a team, both positive and negative. Then ask them if they have collaborated on an artwork. If so, what was it like? Was it harder or easier than collaborating on a sports team or multi - player videogame? Next, show them Charles Clough's Octo- ber 2017 Clufffalo painting (see centerspread, pp. 24–25). A sk, "How many people do you think may have worked on this painting?" After some discussion, read Clough's descrip- tion of the Clufffalo project paintings (see above). STUDIO EXPERIENCES • Move your art studio's tables and chairs to the sides of the room and unroll a large canvas. As a class, work together to create a background color. Return the following class and add more layers of color , marks, patterns, and shapes. Continue adding layers until the painting is completed. (Your teacher will help you make this decision.) • Work with a partner on a single piece of paper and col- ored media such as chalk pastels, oil pastels, or wide markers. Take turns making marks. Respond to your partner's marks quickly and instinctively. Continue for at least five minutes or until the paper is filled. • As a class, decide on a collaborative art-making project that might involve your entire school community, such as a large painting, outdoor mural, mosaic, video, or "flash mob" per formance. Choose roles and tasks for each person in your class. Create fliers, posters, and social media posts to let your classmates and teachers know about the proj - ect. Document your planning process and the ar t-making project through paper or video journals. Written by Karl Cole, Art Historian and Curator of Images at Davis Publications and Robb Sandagata, Digital Curriculum Director and Editor at Davis Publications. RESOURCE Official Website: www.Clufff.com Video Portrait: www.Vimeo.com/144974055

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