SchoolArts Magazine

March 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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32 MARCH 2018 SchoolArts L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G ARTIST Q&A SchoolArts: When did you first realize that art was what you were born to do? Diana Scherer: I realized that I wanted to be an artist when I was twenty-two. SA: What are some of the biggest influences on your work, including other artists, events, or things outside of the arts? DS: Biology, botany, and science. Also, I am a big fan of the artist Mark Dion. SA: Were you always interested in science as well as art, or did something happen that sparked your interest in scientific exploration? DS: My interest in science actually started with the beginning of my plant root research. SA: Can you share some of your process with us? How are you able to manipulate the root structures? DS: I developed a technique with templates below ground. The plant roots grow into my designed templates. After the growing process, I can turn the grain piece [containing] soil and roots and harvest the roots. The exact technique I keep a secret; I work with grain like oats. SA: How long does it take you to complete one of the Rootbound pieces? DS: A Rootbound piece can take four weeks. SA: What is a typical work day like for you? DS: Sometimes I work the whole day designing my tem- plates. Sometimes I spend my day creating templates. On other days, I sow, nurture, or harvest my pieces. Depend - ing on the season, I work in a greenhouse or in a garden. SA: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself as an emerging artist? DS: Follow your fascination and passion! DISCUSSION Show students a variety of artwork that interacts with nature, such as the work of Wolfgang Laib, Azuma Makoto, Christophe Guinet, and Andy Goldsworthy. Discuss each briefly with students before introducing Diana Scherer's work using this article and the video from the Resources section. Ask: • Why do you think artists are interested in nature? • What kinds of patterns do you see in Scherer's artwork? • What ideas or concepts can be associated with roots and patterns? • What do you think the relationship between plants and people will be in the future? STUDIO EXPLORATIONS • Create a collage from photographs of a variety of plants and other objects that combine nature and technology in interesting ways. Consider emphasizing pattern or symmetry in your design. • Work collaboratively to place a variety of plants into an interesting arrangement. Use unusual materials (string, cut paper, rubber bands, wire, etc.) to create an unconventional still-life relief. • Gather plant specimens such as leaves, branches, flower petals, roots, or stalks (be sure to get permission and obtain all of them through appropriate means). Use them to create an artwork in the media of your choice. You may wish to consider sculpture, installation, video, or combining elements of technology or science in your work. • Create an artwork that explores your ideas about the future interactions of plants, people, art, and science. Document your ideas and process in a journal, sketch - book, or video/audio diary as they develop. Written by Karl Cole, Art Historian and Curator of Images at Davis Publications and Robb Sandagata, Digital Curriculum Director and Editor at Davis Publications. RESOURCES Demeter's Playground: Interview: Artists who work with plants: flower-and-leaf-art Diana Scherer, Demeter's Dumm , 2016. Seed soil photography. Image courtesy of the artist.

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