SchoolArts Magazine

January 2018

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 45 of 54

vey. Mostly, this happened because the photos they brought missed the mark, but I didn't want them to be delayed by a whole class or more in getting started. Students who had difficulty grasping the concept gener - ally also struggled a bit more techni- cally and compositionally as well. Successes At the opposite end of the contin- uum, those students who attained the highest levels of achievement completed work that was not only technically and compositionally superior, but effectively expressed, with subtlety and sophistication, some aspect of the multifaceted teen experience: zany joy, boredom, uncertainty, daydreaming, defi - ance, losing themselves in music, and more. These perceptive young artists were able to walk a fine line between merely smiling for the camera and "acting out" a moment from their lives, neither of which we sought. The ambiguous sweet spot was somewhere in between the two; a place difficult to articu - late, but absolutely possible—albeit challenging—to achieve. Betsy DiJulio is a National Board Certified art teacher at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach where she was the 2010 Citywide Teacher of the Year. She is also an artist and a freelance writer and art reviewer. betsy.dijulio N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Creating: Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K rary-realism/an-interview-with-david- kassan CONTINUED FROM PAGE 36. Teen Spirit," I challenged students to capture the essence of being a teenager—however they each define that—through expression, gesture, and, in some cases, setting. Drawing Preparation In terms of preparation for realistic drawing, as artists, we know that there is really only one thing that students need to know: to draw what they see. But, as teachers, we also know that doesn't always quite do the trick. So, the mini-lessons that provided the nec - essary scaffolding for success included short YouTube tutorials, classroom practice, modeling, daily journal prompts focusing on portraits to sketch with related questions to discuss, and thumbnail sketches. Challenges Was I 100 percent successful in steer- ing students away from the pitfalls I had observed in too many teenage self-portraits? No. Admittedly, there were a few of my sixty-some stu - dents who proceeded without really knowing what they wanted to con- vey. Mostly, this happened because the photos they brought missed the T he motivation for the project Smells Like Teen Spirit was my desire to give my three classes of intermediate drawing and painting students a self-portrait drawing experience that would result in something more than a mere phys - ical likeness or contrived portrait. All of us have seen those shal- low, mid-toned, "frozen" graphite portraits—often shiny from blend- ing—that shout "high-school class assignment," and that was precisely what I wanted to avoid. Working with charcoal helped ensure that students were more likely to achieve deep, rich values. Although I allowed them to work from photographs, I insisted that they work from a two- thirds or three-quarter views to establish a greater sense of depth. Working from Photos While I continue to be a proponent of working from observation, I am a fan of what artist David Kassan has to say about contemporary realism and the benefits of working both from life and from one's own photos: "My effort to constantly learn to document reality with a naturalistic, representational painting technique allows for pieces to be inherent contradictions; paintings that are both real and abstract." Inspiration In terms of content, I didn't want students making silly expressions or extreme faces, though I did want to combat the static, emotionless qual - ity of so many portraits. Inspired by the Nirvana song, "Smells Like Smells Like Betsy DiJulio Inspired the Nirvana song, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," I challenged students to capture the essence of being a teenager. TEEN Spirit CONTINUED ON PAGE XX. H I G H S C H O O L 36 JANUARY 2018 SchoolArts Advertiser Index Advertiser Page AMACO 48, CIII Bailey 4 Blick Art Materials CIV Davis Publications CII, 7, 16, 46 General Pencil 42 I Am A Witness 11 Kiss-Off 41 L&L Kilns 2 NAEA 13 Skutt 1 The SHOP Curator's Corner 43 Documenting Children's Meaning 43 Envisioning Writing 43 The Open Art Room 43 Pedro de Lemos, Lasting Impressions: Works on Paper 44 Royalwood 44 SchoolArtsRoom 44 Youth Art Month 44 THE ORIGINAL K iSS-OFF ® Stain Remover Before you throw it away... try Kiss-Off! "I had gotten blue oil paint on one of my fall coats... I felt like I should give Kiss-Off ® a try and lo and behold no more dried on oil paint! My jacket was saved." ~Malissa Removes: Ink · Oil Paint · Grease · Makeup · Blood · Lipstick · Coffee · Red Wine · Grass Stains & More Ideal for Classroom, Travel & Art Studio MADE IN THE USA way of discussing process, mindset, and materials, I look to my students as artists I can use as examples. My students and the work they create are important touchstones of what is both relevant and important to study in contemporary art because they are setting the agenda for the future. One of my favorite things about showcasing work created within my classroom is that I can use years of examples to demonstrate how an art - ist grows over time. It offers students more than just a snapshot of the end product, once an artist has been discovered or has become famous; instead, it shows that in order to grow in skill and ideas, both have to be exercised and used to gain strength. It also offers students a chance to see themselves as authentic artists and to feel that their work is meaningful beyond the assignment. Further Thoughts Connecting art curriculum to con- temporary artists should be a prior- ity for all teachers who are trying to get their students to view them - selves as artists. By introducing artists into the classroom who may or may not stand the test of time, I have found that I give students the opportunity to form and defend their opinions of the work, learn from it, and apply concepts and processes they find useful in making their own pathway as an artist. Janine Campbell is a visual arts teacher at Byron Center West Middle School in Byron Center, Michigan. jcampbell@ W E B L I N K campbell-s-art-soup/ M A N A G I N G T H E A R T R O O M CONTINUED ON PAGE XX. Our student collaboration for ArtPrize Nine titled Painting Under Paper Cuts. You can find more info at M y classroom approach involves a thematically driven curricu- lum. I select a theme, such as Identity or Environments, and students use the materials and methods of their choosing to respond. Since transitioning into this approach, I have found it increasingly important to focus on contemporary artists. If I want my students to think of them - selves as artists, it is important to use artists currently working in the field as models both in process and product. At first, this was difficult for me to wrap my head around. As an art history buff, I knew which artists from the past were influential to include in my curriculum, but how would I know which artists work - ing today I should expose students to, and who to leave by the wayside? It was not until I dove into the fol- lowing resources that I discovered how easy it could be. I'm happy to share my recommendations. Art Nearby First, I would recommend taking a tour of local museums, galleries, and festivals. I live in the Midwest, and it can seem like the "art world" is somewhere on the East or West coast, far from my students and me. That is not the case. Last year alone, I went to exhibitions that featured the work of Ai Weiwei at the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park; Kehinde Wiley and Nick Cave, along with many others at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids; and the tattoo art of Leo Zulueta at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. By searching nearby spaces showcasing contemporary artists, I found work that deals with vari- ous approaches to identity, politics, culture, and other issues that I could connect to my curriculum. In addition to more formal exhibi- tions in museums or gallery spaces, there are local festivals in my area. Here, I can view work, talk with artists about their process, and direct students to those artists. I also share the experience with my students so they know that these opportunities may only be a few miles away from where they live. Art Online The next place I turn to look for new and emerging artists is online. One of my favorite websites to visit is This is Colossal ( because of the visuals they select and the brev - ity of the description with links to more information. I use this site often with my students because the content is interesting and resonates with them. It allows me to give real-world exam - ples of creative people working and thriving through the art they make. There are plenty of other sites to visit as well, such as Bored Panda (bored - and Artsy ( Art Within It is sometimes hard for me to remember that I am also an artist. I became a teacher because of my pas- sion for showing others what is pos- sible when taking creative risks. In addition to using my own work as a way of discussing process, mindset, and materials, I look to my students as artists I can use as examples. My students and the work they create are important touchstones of what is both relevant and important to study in contemporary art because they are setting the agenda for the future. Art Right Now Janine Campbell Connecting art curriculum to contemporar rtists should be a priorit or all teachers who are tr ing to get their students to view themselves as artists. 14 JANUARY 2018 SchoolArts CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14. SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 41

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