SchoolArts Magazine

MAY 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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26 MAY 2018 SchoolArts L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G ARTIST Q&A SchoolArts: How many people are involved in Kaiju Big Battel? Randy: Right now, the Kaiju crew is made up of two visual artists, a director of video, and a host of trained profes - sional wrestlers and personalities. There must be fifteen to twenty of us working on the project regularly. Everyone has a creative voice on each and every project, and we are in regular daily communication over the internet. SA: How do you divide up the many tasks involved in planning a Kaiju event? Andy: Randy is the creative director, planning most of the daily business and creative decisions. I joined as his assistant back in 2003 or so, and have done just about every job since signing on, from costuming to produc - ing on set video to driving the van. I think the most fun parts are designing and sculpting a character's head. SA: What are some of the biggest influences on your work, including other artists, events, or things outside of the arts? Randy: 1970s Japanese television—Ultraman, Godzilla; any Japanese superhero show, such as Go Rangers [also known as Gorengers]; The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; and also Monty Python are pretty big influences, and you can see bits of them in our humor and camerawork. SA: What materials do you use for your sets and costumes? Andy: All of our cardboard cityscapes are made from up-cycled post-consumer waste. We take donations from frame shops, boxes from recycling bins, and Styrofoam from furniture stores. Most of our sets are recycled after - wards, or reused if possible. Sometimes you just can't leave that Styrofoam in the trash. SA: Your sets are destroyed during performances. How do you feel about that? Andy: Our set pieces are made to be destroyed, in as exciting a way as possible. We once spent an entire sum - mer making a sixteen-foot scale model of the Empire State Building. There was a ladder inside, and ape-like monsters had to wrestle to the top to get the flag. It was destroyed in ten minutes. People expect that that would feel terrible, but it was one of the best moments of my life. It's all about the process, of building it up and destroying it. It's okay that the product in the end is a pile of trash (which I often have to sweep up). SA: What are the most important things to remember when planning a large collaborative performance? Randy: It's best to listen to everyone. Even the people who usually have no ideas, have a good idea once in a while. You have to be ready for it. People feed off of each other, and the ideas bounce around and get better and better. They snowball. SA: What are your future goals for Kaiju Big Battel? Andy: All I want is to do this show in Japan. That's it! I'm pretty sure this show would be a hit there. SA: What advice do you have for younger monster enthusiasts who are interested in a future in the arts? Randy: Don't copy me [laughs]. Just kidding. Try things. Do things. Sometimes just don't think—just do things… that's how some of our best costumes have come together. I was just putting together interesting shapes. Sometimes I don't think about anything—I just put shapes together. Work it until it becomes something. Andy: Draw fifteen minutes a day, and be sure to enjoy your influences as often as possible. Don't be afraid to like things outside of your absolute favorites! DISCUSSION Ask students about their familiarity with classic monster and science fiction movies, as well as their contemporary counterparts (Godzilla, etc.). Then ask them about their knowledge of wrestling, including professional wrestling (e.g, Lucha Libre). Then ask, "How do you think monsters and wrestling might connect with visual art?" After some discussion, introduce students to Kaiju Big Battel. Ask: • What elements and principles of art do you see in the characters, costumes, and set designs? • What other artistic strategies do you see (parody, appro- priation, etc.)? • Do you think Kaiju Big Battel should be considered art? Why or why not? STUDIO EXPLORATIONS • Design two to three interesting characters or monsters that might appear in a multimedia art experience using two-dimensional materials. Create a soft sculpture, mask, or three-dimensional prop for one of your characters. • In small groups, plan an interactive art experience that includes costumes, aspects of pop culture or internet culture, and sculpture. Design characters, a set, and create a storyline or script. Bring your art experience to life and document it with photography and video. • Create an artwork in response to one of your greatest inspirations. How can you transform it into a work of art? How will you change the context or meaning? What media and artistic strategies will you use? Record your process in a sketchbook, blog, or video. 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 Facebook: Kaiju Big Battel Instagram: @kaijubigbattel

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