SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.
Issue link: http://www.schoolartsdigital.com/i/808215
30 MAY 2017 SchoolArts M any artists express their cre- ativity within the boundar- ies of the landscape around their homes and property. Their yearning to make something often results in clever, functional, and unique works of art, usually made from materials readily avail - able to them. The Nature Sculptor Pearl Fryar, an African-American self-taught artist, uses his lawn as his canvas for expressing his creativ - ity. His artwork is unique because he shapes plants and shrubs to create living sculptures. After moving into his house in a new neighborhood, Fryar decided that Minuette Floyd PEARL FRYAR: TOPIARY ARTIST he wanted to win his neighborhood's "yard of the month" award. Little did he know that after his visit to a plant nursery and a three-minute les - son on how to take care of the plants, he would become known across the United States and beyond for his topi - ary garden. Some of the plants in his magical garden include juniper, holly bush, Leyland cypress, oaks, and pine. I introduced Fryar to my students, not only because of his unique way of shaping plants and constructing metal sculptures, but because of his morals, values, and work ethic. According to Fryar, success is deter- mined by work. He is dedicated to seeing students excel in school and has even created a scholarship. Putting a Face With the Name As I displayed a photograph of Fryar and some of his works on the board, students made a personal connection by putting a face with the name. After showing images of Fryar's sculptures, I asked students if they believed art could be made from nature, and if something that is living such as a plant or tree could be considered a work of art. Students thought critically about these questions and were excited by the works they saw. I showed them several views of Fryar's yard and placed special emphasis on specific living sculptures. Junk Sculptures Fryar also creates nonliving sculp- tures for his garden and refers to them E L E M E N T A R Y