SchoolArts Magazine

MAR 2013

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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Page 29 of 64

Looking & Learning Creating Community Pull-out resource For artists, the concept of community can be an endless source of ideas and inspiration. C ommunity can mean many different things: it might refer to a group of people united by an idea or interest; a group of people living in a town or city; a group of people with the same ethnic and cultural background; or it could be a general term referring to a group or place. For artists, the concept of community can be an endless source of ideas and inspiration. Some artists create work about the communities they grew up in and that have nurtured and inspired them throughout their lives. Artists often support each other by working together or collaborating with members of a community. Connecting to Community R Artists Roxanne Swenmo oxa n d n 32 el fo e Sw tzell and Shepard Fairey x 3 r a en 1" m t create work that honors (81 u ra zell, .28 l, 2 Fa their particular communities x 7 0 0 mil 8.7 9. C y, by focusing on important histori5 c lay m) , cal practices and figures while con. necting them to the present. Swentzell focuses on her Pueblo heritage, which laid the cultural foundation for a community that continues to grow and thrive today. Fairey often honors communities all over the country by creating beautiful murals with positive messages in neighborhoods in need of revitalization. Roxanne Swentzell's Family is a study for a mural on the Civic Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Swentzell is always About the Artists/Artworks roxanne Swentzell (b. 1962) Roxanne Swentzell was born in Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. Her family were potters and ceramic sculptors. She studied at the Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and then at the Portland Museum Art School. While her work might explore such universal themes as the female nude or community, her art is grounded in a search for her identity as a centered Native American—an identity that can easily be lost in the financial emphasis of the contemporary art market. While emphasizing Pueblo ceramic tradition and Native forms, her art transcends regionalism by addressing the universal themes of family and community. conscious of the thriving Santa Fe artistic community due to its connection with the historic Pueblo cultures of New Mexico and Arizona. Her conception of the mural was based on the word community. In this piece, she shows multiple generations of native cultures that formed the backbone of Santa Fe more than 500 years ago. While her clay sculptures describe the whole spectrum of human experience, they connect her work strongly with the ceramic tradition of the Pueblo cultures of the Southwest. Shepard Fairey and his assistants, the Obey Crew, executed Rise Above in February of 2012, coinciding with the push to rejuvenate West Dallas, Texas. In the mural, the mostly industrial and mom-and-pop business neighborhood of Dallas is represented by a woman with an upward gaze, apparently looking to a better future. The female figure may be a personification of the city of Dallas (the word city in most romance languages is feminine in gender). The phrase "rise above" can be interpreted as an uplifting statement, but might also reference the song with the same title by the seminal hardcore punk band Black Flag. Shepard Fairey (b. 1970) Shepard Fairey was born in Charleston, South Carolina and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1992. During college he created his first sticker series, featuring the famous wrestler, Andre the Giant. He is probably most famous for his poster celebrating the first presidential campaign of Barack Obama. Fairey embraces street art culture, which emphasizes a thoughtful analysis and questioning of subliminal commercialism, advertisements, and politics. His influences include Hispanic poster art, Soviet propaganda posters, 1960s psychedelic poster art, and punk rock music and culture. 27

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