SchoolArts Magazine

December 2016

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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L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G ARTIST Q&A SchoolArts: What are some of the biggest influences on your work, including other artists and things outside of the arts? Angela Haseltine Pozzi: The ocean has been the biggest influence on this group of work I've done. I care deeply about the environment and the ocean, and I saw what was happening on the beaches with plastic being scattered all over it. I thought, I have to save the ocean, so what am I going to do about it? I'm going to use the power of the arts as a language to get people to see it in a way they can't ignore. SA: How has working with groups of collaborators changed your work? AHP: It's actually a wonderful thing because you get all of the energy from all of the people. That's what this project is all about—everybody working together to make things happen, and I love that. That is more exciting to me than saying, "I made this sculpture all by myself." I couldn't do this all by myself; it has to be done with a lot of people. The finished product has to be excellent though—we do quality checks, and we really instruct people on crafts- manship, and we have very specific design criteria. When we get all of the final pieces, I select which pieces go where and how we put it all together. SA: How long does it take to plan and execute one of the installations? AHP: We have a parrotfish sculpture that's fourteen feet long and ten feet tall, and something like that can take about six months to go through the process. We collect garbage and sort it by color, type, and shape. And sometimes it takes you three years to get enough of one color to create an animal of that color. It's a constant process, and we've processed about twenty tons of garbage in about sixty-five sculptures in the past six and a half years, and we're still making more. SA: What is a typical workday like for you? AHP: When I started this project, I did every single part of it, including picking up the garbage, but now I have ten employees. We are a nonprofit organization, and we have about 10,000 volunteers who have worked with us over the past year. I'm the executive director right now and artis- tic director and lead artist, so I basically have three jobs. I typically work every day, seven days a week, anywhere from eight to twelve, sometimes fourteen hours a day. That's because it's my passion. This is what I live for, what I love. I tend to do my administration and computer work in the morning at home when I wake up, as well as confer- ences and interviews. In the afternoon, I manage my crew at one of my facilities where we process all the garbage and debris. In the evenings, I tend to make the sculptures. Sometimes I work till ten at night, or midnight. SA: What would you advise young artists and students to do in order to ensure a successful, collaborative project? AHP: Let go of your ego. It can't be all about you, and how amazing or talented you are. It has to be about the end product. You have to look at the skills of who you have, and not be frustrated with it. If you have someone who just can't twist wires, you have them thread something. You have to accept the skills of the people you have and work with it. And that's the hardest thing for artists to do, because they're like, "Why can't you do this? I can do this." You have to really work side by side with people, be encouraging to each other, and not be critical all the time. SA: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself as an emerging artist? AHP: I think the main thing is, just believe in yourself. When you find something you love, don't let anyone stop you. If you know deep down that this is what you love and care about, just do it and give it everything, and it will reward you in the end. DISCUSSION Introduce students to examples of environmental artists including Andy Goldsworthy, Sarah Sze, Robert Smithson, and Aviva Rahmani. Then introduce the Washed Ashore Project. Ask: • What are these sculptures made out of? Can you identify some of the objects? • Why do you think the artist chooses to sculpt creatures that live in or near the ocean? • How does the subject of each sculpture provide clues about the meaning of the artwork? What clues does the choice of materials provide? • How does working collaboratively affect the creative process? How different might these sculptures be if they were created by one person? STUDIO EXPERIENCES Work collaboratively (in small groups or as a class) to create a sculpture from recycled materials. Place students in small groups and send them around the school (or community) to collect discarded items and trash that might be used as art materials. Each group should then create a 2D or 3D artwork from the materials they collected. In small groups, create a sculpture using multiples of a single found object, such as water bottles, bottle caps, or plastic bags. Design an artwork that makes a statement by using a single discarded material. Choose materials and subjects that will work together to create a statement of some kind (political, social, environmental). After brainstorming ideas, construct your artwork. Have in- progress critiques with your peers and teacher to deter- mine if your message is being delivered clearly. Share your finished art in a group show or school display. Written by Karl Cole, curator of images at Davis Publications and Robb Sandagata, digital product manager at Davis Publications. ADVANCED INTERMEDIATE BEGINNER 26 DECEMBER 2016 SchoolArts

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