Friday, September 10, 2010

From the archives, Panorama 7, Art projects

Panorama 7 - The Art of Art Projects

Who created the projects that you use in class?
What do you do when a project doesn't work?
How do you create a new project?
Here are some ideas to start you thinking...

Bakersfield College Art Department
Digital Arts Program
November 19, 2009
Starting at 5:30 in the Renegade Room for dinner…
Then we'll convene in FA9 at 7:00 to start the discussion…

Online Resources

Project ideas from Nancy Magner

1. Kinetic Mobile (Preble's Artforms)
Construct a kinetic mobile from objects that tell about you personally. The objects could represent your major in college, photos of your family, pets, or recent vacation, keys to your new car, objects that relate to your job, objects that express your hobbies [music, computers, sports, etc.] Any object that tells something about you personally. The sculpture must balance and move by either wind or electric [no water or heat powered sculptures, please].

2. Art Term Paper 
In art criticism, a Formalist Theory focuses attention on the composition of the art work and looks at how it may have been influenced by earlier works of art. Using this idea you are to visit one or more museums or art galleries and select an original work of art which you will analyze using all of the principles and elements we have discussed in class and that are listed in your text. Be sure to describe how each principle and element is used in the work. You may not simply look at a photographic image in your text or any other publication.

You should not select any prints in editions over 300 unless you have previously received approval from me. The paper should be in MLA or APA format, TYPED, DOUBLE-SPACED, AND PRESENTED IN A FOLDER. I WILL NOT ACCEPT LOOSE PAPERS! IT WILL BE DUE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PERIOD ON THE SCHEDULED DATE. DON’T FORGET, NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED!

In order to assist you in finding original works of art I suggest you might wish to try on or more of the following:
Wylie and May Louise Jones Art Gallery, BC Library Building
Madigan Art Gallery, CSUB
Bakersfield Museum of Art, 19th and R Sts.
Beale Library, Truxtun Ave.
Cezanne Gallery, H St.
Chris Vanderlei Gallery, H St. near Fox TheatreMetro Gallery, 19th St.
 ONE WORD OF CAUTION: DO NOT GO TO ART EXPRESS AT THE ICE HOUSE. In the past they have advised students that photographic poster prints were original works of art. Such works will not be accepted as topics for your paper and will result in a grade of F.

Elements to be discussed are:
1. Line
2. Shape
3. Space and Mass
4. Time and Motion
5. Light
6. Color

7. Texture

Principles to be discussed are:
1. Unity and Variety
2. Balance [Symmetrical or Asymmetrical?]
3. Emphasis and Subordination
4. Directional forces
5. Contrast
6. Repetition and Rhythm
7. Scale and Proportion

Don’t forget I will be happy to evaluate your summaries so that you may produce a paper of superior quality. No grades will be given for such evaluations.

3. Collage Project 
INSTRUCTIONS: Create a collage of either a landscape or a room interior with all objects in scale and proportion. It should be made of watercolor paper, a minimum of 8 ½” X 10” in size and mounted to a piece of mat board. Card Board is not a suitable support.


• Gel Medium [Polymer Medium]: a protective acrylic liquid used as a finish varnish and as an adhesive for light to middle weight papers. Do not mix with white glue as it will clump.OR
• White Glue [i.e. Elmer’s]
• Brush
• Plastic containers for adhesives, water
• Various types of paper: You must use watercolor paper as your ground and a mat board for mounting.

Suggested papers:
1. Marbled papers
2. Oriental or rice papers
3. Photographs
4. Gift cards, wallpaper
5. Greeting cards
6. Postcards
7. Magazine photographs

1. String
2. Threads
3. Yarn
4. Fabric scraps
5. Feathers
6. Watercolor or tempera paint
7. Pencil, eraser, ruler

Project ideas from Laura Borneman

1. Draw, Build, Draw

This semester, we have been studying various drawing techniques and applications which develop both technical skill, and the use of the imagination. This next project requires you to:

1. Use your technical drawing skills to invent your own object, or use an object you are already familiar with, but change its function or basic structure somehow.

a. You may use the object you are drawing for your "50 pages in the sketchbook" assignment, but you must change its function or basic structure somehow, and make a separate drawing of it showing its new function/structure. You can also invent a completely new object.

The object cannot be flat! It must have a clear sense of structure, form and volume.

b. You must draw 3 different views of the object, example: front, back, side, top, bottom and consider that you will be building a 3-D object based on this drawing, so it must illustrate your idea and the structure of the object as clearly as possible.

c. The first drawings can be done in your sketchbook, or on newsprint.
You must have a title for the object!

2.  Use commonplace, inexpensive materials to build a 3-dimensional model of your object, based on your beginning studies/sketches.

Materials to use: glue, tape, cardboard, construction paper, popsicle sticks, tin foil, clay, cloth, string, wire, newspaper, cans, etc…please try not to spend money- use what you have lying around your house.

Size: Your model should basically fit into the palm of your hand (or both hands), and/or on top of your drawing table.

Weight: It must be lightweight and easy for you to carry back and forth from class.

3.  Do a final, interpretive drawing from the 3-D object you made. You may use color for this interpretive drawing of your 3-D object, but color is not required.  This drawing may also be in pencil, charcoal or conte crayon, or a combination of all those materials.

The final drawing will be on good paper. Consider the following:
a. How will the object be lit in the final drawing? (shadow and light)
b. Will it be necessary to label the parts of the drawing?
c. Will one view be enough to get across the function and look of the object in your final drawing, or do you want to include more than one view?
d. The final drawing should at least fill the space of your good paper, but will you need to make an even larger drawing? (If so, please see me for large drawing boards.)

Grades will be based on:
1. Preparatory drawings- at least 3 views.
2. The inventiveness/interest of your idea and its function.
3. Title
4. Completion of all three stages of the project.
5. The quality of the final drawing (consider all the elements of drawing we have used so far this semester, such as use of line and/or tone to describe form and volume, overall composition/design of the picture plane, use of appropriate materials to express  the nature of the object)

Due dates:
Monday, October 26th: Preparatory drawings must be finished by the end of class (if you finish before that, you may start to make your 3-D model, or gather materials)

Wednesday, October 28th & Monday, November 2nd: Class-time used to make 3-D models. Be sure to have all materials you need with you in class! (if you finish early, you may start your final drawing of your 3-D model, or work on your sketchbook assignment).

Wednesday, November 4th: Class-time used for final drawings on good paper of 3-D models. (hand in if completed)
Monday, November 9th: Critique!! all parts of project due at the beginning of class and turned in for grade.

Some Related Artists & Websites:
Claes Oldenburg
Tim Hawkinson
Lee Bontecue
Martin Puryear
Robert Stackhouse
Marcel Duchamp
Red Grooms
History of Useless Inventions -

2. Imagined & Remembered Cityscapes: Using Line to Create Space - Ink Drawings
We have been practicing various uses of line through Still Life drawing. In this project, we will continue to explore the expression of shape and space through line, though in a slightly different manner. By using a black ball point pen and creating imaginary or remembered cityscapes, we will use the 2 dimensional space of the picture plane to express space we live, work and play in- rather than the space between objects or the volume of a particular form in a still life.

Since we have not yet discussed Perspective, these drawings are NOT meant to be architecturally correct. Instead, they are to rely on imagination and the playful, expressive use of line.

Choose ONE option below:

Option 1: Re-creating Your World & Experiences
The subject matter for this drawing is based on your personal experience and memories. It is like a visual map, recording things you see, hear, pass by or take part in on a daily basis. You can choose places and events of one particular day, or you may jumble up places and events from all different times in your life.

Option 2: Imaginary Landscape
The subject matter for this drawing may begin with memories and experiences from your life, but relies more heavily on imagination. Create a completely imagined, fantastic world. This world can be futuristic or may have existed in the remote past. It may have been created by humans, or some other invented type of life form. Think of Science Fiction/Fantasy, worlds creating in video games, comic books & graphic novels, etc...

Sources: What will you include?
Childhood & adult memories associated with a place, places that remind you of people in your past or present, places where you’ve had life altering experiences, sports/activity related places, places that show your daily routine and interests (places often visited), unusual building styles, unusual points of view, automobiles or other vehicles used for transportation, machinery, boats and recreational vehicles, etc...

Details: Recall as many details as possible about each particular place.
For example:
- Is it crowded with many people and buildings, or is it a less populated area with vast, open space?
- If there are many people, what are they doing?
- Are there animals present? How many? What kind?
- Is the place dirty or clean? Do you see litter and refuse lying around, or is it clean and well maintained?
- What size are the buildings? What shape? Are there interestingly shaped signs to mark a place?
- How wide or narrow are the streets?

Unusual Juxtapositions:
Since this is a remembered and/or imagined landscape, the more places you “take the viewer to”, the more interesting it will be. Juxtapose, or place closely together, different places that may  seem odd to see near one another, or do not exist that way in reality..For example, a river or lake next to a shopping center, an amusement park by a quiet, suburban neighborhood.


1.Brainstorm: Use your sketchbook to brainstorm ideas in the form of words (lists of places, descriptions, details, etc...) and in the form of simple, preparatory sketches.

2. Materials: Use your good paper and a pen or sharpie. You may attach small pieces of old drawings or photos with glue to use as a starting point, or to emphasize areas of the drawing, but the majority of the drawing should be done in black in or Sharpie. 

3. Consider your use of LINE to create depth and space, or to emphasize some areas of the drawing over others. Shading/tone is not used, or used very little.

Emphasis on LINE. Fill the space of the paper.

4. Placement: Consider how children often arrange places in their drawings to tell a story, rather than to make a logical, realistic portrayal. Think of your drawings as visual stories instead of architectural renderings.
Most importantly, allow yourself to be playful and imaginative.

Research/Reference: for further ideas, do a GOOGLE Image Search using the following terms:
Contemporary Drawing, Cityscape, Imaginary Cityscape, Landscape, Imaginary Landscape, Surreal Landscape

Some Related Artists:
Ceren Oykut
Red Grooms
Salvador Dali
Yves Tanguey
Francisco Goya
Hieronymous Bosch
Pieter Brueghel

3. Art Critique Questions
1. What do you see?
2. Why do you notice it?
3. What else do you see?
4. Why?
5.What is the most original or creative thing you see?
6. How would you guess it happened or how would you explain that?
7. What do you think it means? (If applicable to assignment).
8. Why do you think so?
9. How does it make you feel?
10. Why does it do that?
11. What open question does the work suggest to you? (state it in positive or neutral terms - no negatives) 
12. What do you wonder about? (state it in positive or neutral terms - no negatives)

QUESTIONS for Art Critique 
Write your ideas here. Give first impressions. Make guesses. Say what you see, do not say what you like, or don't like. Do not judge. Instead- Describe, analyze, and interpret.

l.  What stands out the most when you first see it?  
2.  Explain the reason you notice the thing you mention in number 1.
3.  As you keep looking, what else seems important?  
4.  Why does the thing you mention in number 3 seem important.  
5.  How has contrast been used.
6.  What leads your eye around from place to place? 
7.  What tells you about the style used by this artist?
8. What seems to be hiding in this composition?  
9.  Why do you think this was partially hidden?  
10. Imagine the feelings and meanings this artwork represents?  
11. What titles could you give this artwork? 
12. What other things interest you about this artwork? 

Notes for Artwork Critique Form

TALKING and WRITING about art - Artwork often has Subject Matter like a face, a dog, flowers, trees, an airplane, etc.  It is common for the subject matter to get our attention.  All artwork has elements and principles.  The Visual Elements are Line, Color, Shape, Form (volume), Texture, Value (tone).

Elements (often together with subject matter) create visual effects.  When you see a visual effect it means that some sort of organizing Principle is working.  By looking at artwork and responding in writing, you are discovering principles that were used by the artist.  The Visual Elements and Subject Matter are used separately and together to create all kinds of relationships, motion, transition, contrasts, conflicts, variations, themes, feelings, meanings, depth effects, space effects, and so on.  If you can find a relationship that creates a visual effect, you have discovered a principle.  For example, repetition (repeating something) tends to insist on being seen and it can give the effect of motion.

When you discover principles, you can use them and you will understand how to make and understand artwork better.  For example, a combination of red and orange has a different effect than a combination of red and green. By looking at these color combinations next to each other, you might discover a principle of design. When you see a big shape combined with another big shape it has a different effect than combining a small shape with a big shape.  By looking at size examples, you might see another principle of design suggested. There are many general principles that work to produce effects, feelings, and meanings.  There is an unlimited number of ways to use the elements, subject matter, and design principles to produce effects, feelings, and meanings.  This is why, when we solve problems in art, we are not looking for one correct answer, but we are looking one or more solutions out of many unknown possible solutions.


CONTRAST  Artists can contrast color, value, texture, line quality, shape character, size, type of subject matter, and other things. Can you figure out what is being contrasted to get your attention?

CONNECTIONS and MOVEMENT  Artists connect things and move the viewer eye with repetition. Interest and motion is added to artwork by repeating things like shape, color, line type, value, subject matter, size, and so on.  If a color is repeated in different size or shape it may more interesting than if it is repeated in the same size or shape. If a tree and face are both green, they are connected by the green color.  At the same time they are different (unconnected) because of subject and shape, and maybe because of size.

Repetition can also be used to get attention.  It is insistent.  Did you ever repeat a word word to be sure to be heard heard?  I almost missed a stop sign, but my passenger said, "Stop! Stop!" for emphasis. We lived to tell about it.

There are many other ways to get movement. Does a diagonal line indicate more or less motion than a vertical or horizontal line? Does a curved or jagged line suggest something about motion that is different than a straight line?  How does a continuous line compare with a segmented line or a thinning and thickening line?

Some artwork pulls you back into the work or holds you away from the work. Wow! How? How do they make the feeling of depth.  Is it with size or linear perspective? Is it with color brightness and dullness? Is it with color warmth and coolness? Is it with sharpness and blurryness?  Is it with overlapping? Is it with placement higher and lower in the picture? Is it with framing, or what?  When you feel depth, can you figure out why you feel it?  Looking for evidences of depth helps you master the skill of creating the effects you want in your own work. A Secret: Some artists add mystery and magic by intentionally making their artwork look very flat.

STYLE  Style is both general and very individual. Just as every person has a unique handwriting, every person's art has a unique style. Some big general categories are Realistic (photographic), Expressive (less realistic with lots feeling), Fantastic (surrealistic) (real but impossible - as in a dream), Formal (very orderly and controlled), Nonobjective (without subject matter), Abstract (not realistic). Of course since every individual is unique, these are often combined and there are many sub categories as well.

©  Marvin Bartel, 2002   May be copied and printed for non profit classroom use.

4. Gridded Portraits - Student Samples 

Ideas from David Koeth

1. Digital Dada - Digital Imaging

I used this project  in 2004 or 05. I was in search of an idea which would introduce form AND strong content to the students.

They were each given the following items in a plastic bag:
- a marble
- a fragment of a book page
- a plastic toy soldier
- a puzzle piece
- a few "Nerds" candies
- a few dry red beans

The instructions were simple: create a poster which includes the elements in the plastic bag, and celebrate the 90th anniversary of Dada in 2006.

2. The Fortune Cookie (Digital Illustration)
Each student is supplied with a fortune cookie, and given these instruction: Open a fortune cookie and let the wisdom be your guide

This project is:
1. another place to use the modernist problem-solving method.
2. an exercise in ambiguity.
3. an opportunity to explore other software
4. a chance to plan and make an extraordinary illustration

How about trying an Idea Matrix? If your fortune says something like: "Whoever said money can't buy happiness, didn't know where to shop" try this: combine "happiness" and "know".  What does that suggest to you? Then try "happiness" and "where" - what does that suggest? Lather, rinse, repeat.

Project idea from Emily Maddigan

1. Colossal Head (Ceramics)
Figural work is by nature narrative, as is much of the content in contemporary sculpture painting, and photography. It is common for contemporary artists to present an extreme viewpoint. Extremes of anatomy are more common than accurate physical representations. The work is not always pretty or pleasant to look at sometimes “beauty” is sacrificed entirely and commentary on race, sex, religion, physical health, or politics is the “goal” which captivated viewers to a piece of art.

You will pick a topic from a hat and interpret it any way you find fitting. Take the topic and make it your own. Explore (meaning sketch, write a list, look at images, look online) as many ideas as possible from the symbolic, literal to the surreal.

- Larger than life size
- Utilize any ceramic technique you need in order to build your vision (coil, slab, armature, pinching, extruding).
- Demonstrate your abilities to truly explore an idea in a piece of ceramic art through the use of symbol and unique imagery, use your own personal voice.

Helpful Sculpture Tips
- Keep in mind that the bottom of the piece will be slightly thicker.
- Mid way through, the work will need to stiffen up to allow the rest of the weight to balance. We are dealing with gravity!
- No solid clay…..unless you build and then hollow it out to an inch.
- Exercise your patience, timing, and persistence. 

Sketch and research at least three different approaches you are interested in taking the piece. Bring them to the next class.

Consider, how the piece meets the table? What textures are needed? Alternative materials? Is the piece sitting on something? Are you going to incorporate torso/shoulders? Keep in mind that every decision you make will aid or alter the content of the work.

Project ideas from Kristopher Stallworth

1. 20 Images (Digital Photography) 

Pick an object to photograph and make at least 40 images of it.

The idea of the project is for you to explore the photographic possibilities when your subject matter is limited. On the last assignment you collected a wide range of image types. This time you have to limit yourself to one object, but remember all of the elements from the previous assignment. Look up, down, use texture, line, shadow, light…

A portable object will allow you to place it in different locations and lighting situations. If you choose something stationary try to photograph it at different times of the day and from various distances. Stationary objects present a bigger challenge because you cannot alter the surroundings.If you choose something stationary it should not be bigger than a car. The object should also be non figurative, so no action figures, dolls, stuffed animals…  In short nothing with a face.

Each image should be distinctively different from the previous one.

All images should be color corrected and sized to ~11x14 @ 72dpi and saved as a jpeg file. Be sure to keep a full size version of our images as well.

We will project your selection of the 20 best images for the critique.

1. 20 Images about one thing (Digital Photography) 

For the last assignment you had to photograph one object twenty different ways, for this one you will make twenty photographs that are all about the same thing. The difference between the two is something that all photographers have to think about when making images.

Photographs have a literal content (the objects, people, scenes…) that are present in the image, but most also have a second layer in them as well. This is the harder to define element; what is the photograph about? how does it make you or the viewer feel? Good photographs capture the subject well, but also have a deeper meaning that the photographer tries to convey to the viewer.

For the assignment, choose a feeling or emotion that you want to elicit from the viewer and make at least 40-100 images (the more the better) and then edit them down to your 20 most successful. The subject matter is up to you, but make sure that you clearly define what you are after for yourself before you make images.

We will take a look at some photographs by well-known artist next time that have these qualities. An example I can think of is to show happiness by photographing cakes and candies (if course now you can’t use that one). If you are having trouble coming up with an idea make sure to talk to me about it during the next class.

This will be the first printed assignment and you will lay the images out in a grid to be printed. I will show you how to make this, but to get started you will make a 16x20 blank image @240ppi and you will then make small versions of your images to fit on the canvas. Make sure to put them in a specific order.

3. Modern Myth (Digital Imaging) 

Pick a fairy tale, fable, myth, nursery rhyme or short story to use as source material to create a photographic illustration. This should be a modern update on a classic story.

For next class research and pick the story you will work on and write a brief paragraph on the concept of your image. This image should evolve as you continue to work on it, but starting with a written outline and some sketches will give you a foundation and help me see the evolution of your image.

Image requirements: This will be a printed image so make sure that your resolution is 300 dpi regardless of the dimension of the image. We will print on the Epson printer so you can make the image up to 16 inches in one direction. If you are interested in making a big image let me know so that we can set up the file for you to have enough pixels. Be aware that the file sizes increase dramatically with such a large image.

The project should be photographically based, but you can use Illustrator to enhance the image if there are parts that you can’t achieve with a photograph. You can also use to find images that you can’t create yourself.

Project idea from Adel Shafik

1. The Critique Process

The critique is a process I use not only to evaluate students work, but also as a way of developing problem solving skills and learning the use of visual vocabulary. It is a positive learning experience for our students as each of them not only talk about their work but also share ideas and solutions with each other.

When I give an assignment, I explain the reason for it and what we are going to learn by doing the assignment. I go through a demo if needed or show examples and I ask questions to make sure that no one is left behind.

Students are required to sketch their ideas before working on the computer.

After I discuss with each of them their ideas, we select the best one for the assignment and student then is allowed to use the computer to work on the assignment.

During the process of working on the computer, I make sure that each student is on the right track to fulfill the assignment requirements and answer their questions if they still have any.

I set up a day and a time when students need to print a copy of their assignment for the first critique (preliminary critique). I put all the work up and share with my students about how wonderful it is to have more than 25 different solutions/ideas for each assignment. I always let my students know that critique is not about criticizing ideas, but to improve them to become more effective.

I review again what the assignment is about, using art vocabulary and review the design principles such as emphasis, direction, balance… and the role they play in creating effective work of art. I ask everyone to come up and look at the work on the board so that they can see how each of them solved the problem.

I ask questions when I do not hear any comments to get them to talk!

On the final critique, we put all the mounted projects up and talk about all the positive changes for each of them.

At the end of the final critique, I take few minutes to reflect and praise all the positive suggestions, the improvements they made to their projects.