SchoolArts Magazine

January 2017

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? Pichi & Avo: We are influenced by everything that sur- rounds us. You can see a direct influence from graffiti and classical art in our murals, but we think that everything can give you ideas and inspiration. We learn a lot from our travels and from new cultures, so we can never give spe- cific influences. SA: Do you have specific strategies, rituals, or routines that help you generate ideas or create your work? P&A: We normally start from something we have drafted on paper or on the whiteboards we have in the studio— normally words or concepts—and then we start thinking of the best way to express that. Our strategy is to work as much as we can in the studio, trying new things and studying art. Also, in our case it's important to share ideas—we have two different brains, and we see that as an advantage for finding the best ideas. SA: How long does it take to create one of your building- sized murals? P&A: That's difficult to say. We always work with a tight schedule as most of the murals are part of festivals which have specific dates. But we normally need about five to seven days to finish something. SA: A lot of your work combines classical art with graffiti. How did you develop this style, and why do you think it is so compelling? P&A: It's part of a studio process we developed about three or four years ago. At the time, we were focusing our work on realistic paintings, where the technique is important. We think that process is necessary to understand art (you need to be able to work in different styles). We started to get bored with what we were doing, and wanted to give people something new. We were working with spray cans doing graffiti, but in the focus on realism, we had lost the essence of graffiti. Our work was closer to mural art than graffiti, but we always wanted to express the graffiti part. We started to begin all of our pieces with graffiti and classical art, and by working in the studio, we found that mixing both could reflect what we wanted. Giving the viewer something pow- erful and working with mythology in a new way makes us really comfortable, and that's the most important part. SA: How did you transform your passion for graffiti art into a career? P&A: We started with graffiti for fun because it was a way to express ourselves, and everything got bigger and bigger. People started to ask for more paintings in shops, houses... and that gives you more energy and motivation to do more. Mixing that with our passion, it was easy to transform that into a way of living. SA: What visual art concepts and skills did you learn while in school that are most helpful to you now? P&A: In school, we learned to be confident in what we like, to never be scared of something. We were always trying new things and experimenting so we could learn more and more, and with what we could apply to other things that we wanted. We always tried to learn as much as we could about art history and art—color, composition, and different tech- niques. Everything that we learned we try to apply now. SA: What advice would you give young students who might want to become professional artists? P&A: What we always say is that you need to love it and be happy, and then work a lot so you can be really good in art. But if you don't work hard, you will never get there. And always study; we are always learning new things. Never stop learning! DISCUSSION Show students examples of classical Greek and Roman fig- ure sculptures, followed by examples of a few street art and graffiti murals. Discuss the materials and processes used in each art form. Then ask students to imagine how they might be combined. You might ask them to sketch some ideas for what the combinations might look like. Next, introduce them to Pichi & Avo's mural work. Ask: • What might it feel like to stand near one of these murals? • How are these paintings similar to other murals that you have seen? How are they different? • How would you classify this artwork? What name would you give it? • Why do you think the ar tists would combine such differ- ent styles of artwork? What might they have been trying to accomplish? STUDIO EXPERIENCES Design a collaborative mural that combines elements of historical ar t with contemporary ar t, design, or media. If possible, paint the mural somewhere on your school campus. Create a collage (traditional or digital) that adds an element of classical figure sculpture to a contemporary image such as an advertisement, album cover, or movie poster. How will you change the meaning of the original image? Create a mural design for a specific building in your community. Use photos or architectural references to make a realistic mockup. Use imagery that com- ments on the history of your community. Create a new work of art that combines two "oppo- site" styles of art. What kind of statement will your juxtaposition create? Written by Karl Cole, curator of images at Davis Publications and Robb Sandagata, digital product manager at Davis Publications. ADVANCED INTERMEDIATE BEGINNER 24 JANUARY 2017 SchoolArts

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