Welcome to Art Room 161

This blog was created as an extension of the dialogue that began in our classroom and the purpose is to share creative ideas, images, and critiscm. All posts should be appropriate for the high school classroom and critiscm should be helpful and positive.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The First Day of School

Welcome to the first day of school at Smithtown East High School.  We'll begin with a piece of advice from author Dan Pink.  Today we'll start with a short fun collaborative art activity and go over some of the basics of class.  Below are the supplies you'll need for class:

Studio Art:
- A 8 1/2" x 11" Sketchbook
- Pencils/ Colored Pencils
- A Folder

Digital Media Art:
- A USB digital drive (1 GB minimum)

AP Studio Art: (Depending on which AP test you are taking
- A 8 1/2" x 11" Sketchbook
- Pencils/ Colored Pencils/ Paints/ ect.
- A USB digital drive (3 GB minimum)

- A 8 1/2" x 11" Sketchbook
- Pencils/ Colored Pencils
- A Folder

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Everyday Renaissance Project- a daily creative art challenge

This summer I'm launching The Everyday Renaissance Project- a creative arts podcast and to celebrate I'll be hosting a daily creative art challenge every day in the month of July using the hashtag #TERPart. The challenges are open to everyone so take a look on the theeverydayrenaissance.com website and share your work on any social media using the hashtag above!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

CTCart: Hacking Technology for the Classroom

Last week I was honored to be invited to speak at the Creative Technologies Symposium for art and education at Columbia University Teachers College.  The event was inspiring and informative with great speakers that range the gamut from curators to designers to educators.

I wrote a short synopsis of the concept behind my presentation for Education Closet's Coaching Calls blog on which I regularly contribute here:

Hacking Technology for the Classroom

I'll also be writing up a full paper on the subject for the University Press later this summer.  Below is a short Vine video that gives a flavor of the terrific event!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Last Day of Classes

Today is the Last Day of Class which is exciting but bittersweet.  I hope everyone has a fun and safe summer and remember to keep the creativity flowing!  It was fun working with all of you this year and best of luck to all the seniors who are graduating!  The Vine above will help you remember what this year was like with Mr. Needles in art room 161

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Art Honor Society: Student Interview with artist Heather Sinclair

This month the studio art classes and the Art Honor Society had a chance to do a video interview with artist Heather Sinclair after we worked on a drawing assignment based on her inspiring works in the Sketchbook Project some of which is shown in the video above.  Below is the results of the interview

Question 1:

Question 2 & 3:

Question 4:

Question 5:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Media Arts: Final Projects Due Today

In  Media Arts and Advanced Media Arts the Final Film Projects are due today via You Tube, Vimeo, the public or google drive.  Be sure to get your film in as it is a very large grade for the quarter!  Tomorrow we will begin sharing and viewing some of the films and critiquing them-we'll start with Emily and Jenna's doc about this year's prom!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Extra Credit: 7 Days with the Journal Fodder Junkies Sketchbook Challenge

The final Extra Credit for Studio Art classes this year to to work along with Journal fodder Junkies's 30 day sketchbook challenge.  The challenge is to work 15 minutes a day on sketchbook art with the daily theme for the month of June but being that school ends this week you can choose 7 Days and participate.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Advanced Media Art: Film Festivals

In our Media Art and Advanced Media Art classes we are working on our final film projects which are due Tuesday so it's a perfect time to talk about submitting to Film Festivals.

Many film festivals have student categories such as the Lighthouse Film Festival in New Jersey where Max from our Advanced Film class recently entered and will have his film "House of Memory" shown in this weekend.  As a reminder, here are the basic rules for the final project once again
Final Project Basics: The content is up to you as long as it is school appropriate and has the basic structure of a film which we learned in class (if you have a question see me).  The basic time minimums are below: 
Drawn animation- 30 seconds minutes
Pixilation Animation- 1 min minutes
Live Action- 3 minutes
Collaborations- Add time for each class member working on a project
Most festivals have online entry via withoutabox these days so submitting has become mush easier than in the past.  Here are links to a few film festivals and competitions which students have had success with:

Hamptons Film Festival

Young Arts

Long Island Film Expo

there are many festivals with student categories, check out this film festival list for more opportunities!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

AP Art: 2015-2016 Summer Assignments

The 2015-2016 AP Art class will have a short meeting today Wednesday June 10 at 2:05pm in room 161 to discuss the schedule and summer assignments which are posted below. If you cannot attend for any reason make sure you see Mr.Needles and complete the 26 assignments by the first week of class because they are a large part of the first quarter grade and the AP test itself.

As an example of what a finished work should look like in terms of the art/design principals above is an example of the first assignment (listed below) by Shelby and below are examples of Clay's concentration pieces and some of the finalists for the Shanti Peace Posters by Lisa and others from the AP Art class a from earlier this year. If you have any questions about the assignments feel free to email me or come speak with me, other than that remember to enjoy the work and don't stress out because it usually means death to creativity!

Summer Assignments:
All assignments can be done in any medium, technique and style you desire but should be 2-Dimensional work (flat) not 3-Dimensional (sculpture) work in any media that is 18”x24” or smaller and should be entirely original (do not use other people’s pictures, characters, or content in any way).
Part I: Breadth Assignments:
(these 5 assignments should be sent to me via twitter or  instagram- @timneedles with the #needlesclass or mail tneedles@smithtown.k12.ny.us by August 1 for feedback. These works will also count towards your 1st Quarter grade and will be critiqued during the first week of classes.)

Assignment #1: Inspiration- Take a look at this list of 100 Artists from Art 21, choose any artist and create a piece responding to (not copying or in their style) their work. The list includes everyone from artist who use traditional media such as: Cindy Sherman and Richard Serra to artist like: Ai Weiwei, Marina Abramović, and Laurie Anderson who do performance pieces. Video clips are available for each artist on the website so do a bit of research, find something in one of the artists that you connect to and create a piece on it.

Assignment #2: Design with TextureCreate a piece that incorporates elements of design and features texture in an important way.  It can be any 2D media but make sure the composition and rhythm of the piece stands out and draws the eye.

Assignment #3: A mixed-media portrait – Create a portrait using various media in monochrome or in color. Feel free to use any medium you desire (ink, collage, newspaper, paint, & other mixed media) and as many media as you like. The style may be handled in any way you wish: realistic, abstract, expressive, impressionistic or cubistic, etc. This portrait should reveal something significant about the model. Hands, torso and face are important features and should be included in the work. Try an unusual surface. The portrait may be done on any flat smooth unbreakable surface such as cardboard, mural paper, plywood, masonite, plexiglass, homasote board, etc.

Assignment #4 -Intransigent - Create a piece based on interpreting the following term:

(adj.) refusing to compromise, often on an extreme opinion (The intransigent child said he would have 12 scoops of ice cream or he would bang his head against the wall until his mother fainted from fear.)

Assignment #5: A Day In Your LifeChoose a moment from your everyday life and express it visually using any media. This can be a moment that’s memorable or very average, reoccurring or just a moment you remember. Try to use media that helps illustrate the moment and think about your perspective vs. others when creating the imagery.
Part II: Shanti Peace Poster

Create a 8"x10' poster for the Shanti Peace Poster Contest, the theme is peace and you are free to use quotes from Gandhi and/or Martin Luther King if you wish. Here's a link to the some winning Smithtown designs from past year's: 2011 Peace Poster

Part III: Process Assignments:

Create new 20 pages in your sketchbook or a series of 20 photographs/works on paper in 1 or 2 themes of your choice.  Use any media that you want to work with for the AP test (pencil, photography, mixed media, ect.). Experiment with creating multiple pieces with the same theme or if you aren't sure what theme to work with create pieces then go back and identify what the themes you tend to work in are. Try to work with concepts that you might consider for the concentration portion of the AP test (Examples from the past include "A Day In The Life", "A Reinterpretation of the Past through Steam technology", and "Perspectives of the Brooklyn Bridge" so it's really wide open but if you want to run your idea past me before you begin I'd love to hear it). Here's a link to the College Board website which has information about the test with examples of Concentration pieces that have scored well in the past:
AP: Studio Art

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Art Honor Society: Closing out the year

The school year is almost over so we'll be finishing up our projects in art honor society and making some of the ongoing projects for next year.  Congratulations to all the new inductees! We'll recap the induction as well and look at some of the plans for next year.  Finally we'll also talk with an artist from the Sketchbook project who is currently living in Germany via video!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Studio Art: Taking Notes from artist Wayne White

In Studio Art class we will be taking some notes from one of my favorite contemporary artists Wayne White and creating "oversize sculptured puppet masks" from cardboard, paper, paint, and glue in groups.  Each group will be given a famous artist from art history and they will have to work together to come up with a design and then build the puppet head.

The puppet masks will be featured in a few different local events such as the Art Honor Society's float for next years homecoming parade as well as the first Smithtown East art parade!  The artists we'll create masks for include greats such as DaVinci, Van Gogh, and Picasso as well as some more contemporary artists such as Banksy and Andy Goldsworthy.  The AP art class started a mask last week so here's a glimpse of what they look like in process!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tweet A Dream

Today is International Children's Day and thousands of young people in 50+ countries will share the future they want to see via Twitter using the hashtag #tweetadream. 

We will share a dream along with some images described below:
Paintings, Drawings & SketchesPut your visualisation down on paper, canvas or other surfaces and submit a photo of it together with your short text.
Photography & VideographyCapture your visualisation in a photo or video and submit the photo or video as a link together with your short text.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Media Art: Improv Comedy Warm-ups

In Media Art this week we will learn some Improv Comedy Warm-ups such as Zoom which is demonstrated in the video above as well as Zip Zap Zoop and Free Association.  We'll work together as a class and in small groups and next week we will develop longer form works and short films based on what we learned.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Studio Art: Final Exams

Today we will start the first section of our Studio Art Final Exam with the multiple choice test and tomorrow we will complete the rest of the test.  Make sure you study from our class quizlet!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Art and Media Art Honor Society- 2015 Induction

Today the Smithtown East chapter of the Art Honor Society and the Media Art Honor Society will hold their 2015 induction ceremony today in the little theater at 3:15 pm and we will also be presenting some of the senior art awards along with an pizza after party and gallery opening in room 161.

We had a great time on our field trip to the galleries in Chelsea last week so we'll also be putting together some of the photographs and video from the trip into our archives and talk about our favorite works..

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Media Art: Final Exam

In Media Art & Advanced Media Art we will have our Final Exam on Friday so make sure to study via our quizlet.  It's a review of everything we did this year from the zoetrope (like PIXAR's shown above) to digital animation. We will review in class today and the test will include almost all the terms of Friday.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Studio Art: The Sketchbook Project

This week we are doing a drawing project in Studio Art class inspired by artist Heather Sinclair's meditative, free-association “what does that look like” and "Newton's Ghosts" sketchbook drawings from The Sketchbook Project.  Each student should complete a full page drawing based on things and people in class and free-association to those things and people.  The link above show's the artists full sketchbook and you can see part of the process by looking through the drawings.  Try to have at least 10 faces in you work and use pen or pencil for the drawing then you can add color if you choose using any media.  Above is the cover of the sketchbook we looked at in class and the drawing below is the begining of the in-class demonstration Mr. Needles did in the Studio Art classes today.  The assignment will be due at the end of class on Tuesday.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Looking into Smithtown's Past reception

This weekend is the opening for the Looking into Smithtown's Past exhibit at Mills Pond House and 8 students from Mr. Needles classes have work in the show.  The reception is Saturday from 2-4pm so best of luck to all my students in the judging!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Art Honor Society: Chelsea Gallery walk Spring Field Trip

The Art and Media Art Honor Society will have it's Spring Field Trip Friday and we will walk the High Line and do a Chelsea Gallery walk, visiting the following galleries:

We will also stop at the Chelsea Market and we'll return home around 3pm for the holiday weekend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Studio Art: Review for the Final

In Studio Art we will be finishing our review for the final exam this week and the actual exam is next week on May 28 and 29.  The link on the quizlet here: studio art review covers most of what will be on the test and is a great place to study.  Wednesday will be our practice exam that will count as a quiz so make sure you prepare!

Monday, May 18, 2015

AP Art: The Art of Frida Kahlo

In AP Art we will finish watching the Frida, the film on artist Frida Kahlo and begin to discuss her life, process, art and most importantly what we learned from her.  Below is a quote which gives some insight into her true character:

"I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you." 
-Frida Kahlo

                                                 Suicide of Dorothy Hale

We will also discuss the film Frida and artist and director Julie Taymor's creative interpretation of Frida's life.  Finally I'll assign a short reflective essay which will be due on Thursday May 21st.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Extra Credit: iDrive No Texting While Drive contest

This month's extra credit assignment is to create a video pitch for the iDrive "No Texting While Drive" public service announcement contest.  The prizes are serious for this contest, last years winner won $10,000. Below are the basic rules and if you have questions I saved the complete rules as a PDF in the Mr. Needles extra credit folder in the school assignment drive.

The extra credit is due by May 31, 2015 and we'll be posting the best of them in September to compete for the school.  Below are some useful images and data that you might want to incorperate into you PSA pitch.

Media Art Honor Society: Matt and Kim Music Video

The Media Art Honor Society and Media Art classes have been working on filming scenes for the Matt and Kim "Can You Blame Me" music video this week which we will be finishing up today and we'll create a "Smithtown East HS - Needles AV club version" of the music video for the band.  Here are some of the best shots from this week!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

AP Art Senior Shows: Troy

Troy's AP Art Senior Show opened yesterday and his unique approach and creative, crisp black and white portraits have drawn a number of visitors to admire his hard work.  Be sure to stop down and see the images which have been hung from twine draped from the ceiling and collages on the walls before it over on Friday!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Art Honor Society: Doodles for Charity

This week we are celebrating National Doodle Day and the Doodle for NF charity drive which takes signed celebrity doodles and sells them on ebay to raise money for the Neurofibromatosis Network. We will create and contribute doodles in the art honor society this week. Posted above and below are a few of my favorite doodles from this year's collection from Angus Oblong, Duncan Rouleau, and Elaine Bogan,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Advanced Media Art: Matt and Kim Music Video

In our Advanced Media Art class we began filming scenes for the Matt and Kim "Can You Blame Memusic video using iPads and streaming video of Matt and Kim's faces sing and reacting.  The finished video is due Thursday so we'll be filming through the week while we continue to re-write the television pilots script.

Monday, May 11, 2015

AP Studio Art: The AP test

 In AP Studio Art we will reflect on the AP studio art test that we took on Friday and write a reflection on it.  Here's some of the great photography and design work from the class we'll look at some of the consistent themes that ran through the class that you may not have picked up on while you were working.

Friday, May 8, 2015

AP Senior Artshow: Cassie

Our second AP Senior Art show of the year opened last week and features Cassie's photograph designs and drawings and it's a great start to our showcase season and one to check out before it's gone!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Studio Art: Looking into Smithtown's Past

Any Studio Art student that completed the extra credit assignment for Smithtown's anniversary "Looking into Smithtown's Past" art competition should print and matte their work for the exhibition at the Mills Pond House (beautifully photographed for the contest by Lauren above) for drop off today.  Best of luck in the judging!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Art Honor Society: End of the Year Planning

Today the Art Honor Society will meet after school with the Media Art Honor Society and we'll be planning all of our end of the year activities.  We have just 24 class days left of school which means just 5 meeting left this year so we have to make sure everything is set for our spring field trip on May 22, our induction, our mural project, and the gallery openings!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Studio Art: Day of the Dead Masks

Today we will begin working on ad 3D Day of the Dead Masks in class beginning with a design on paper which is colored and drawn to scale then we will create the mask with a form of paper mache after which we will paint it.

Remember your final is fast approaching and in addition to our quick review in class you should study the quizlet: Final Review

Monday, May 4, 2015

AP ART: AP Test this Friday

This Friday is our AP Studio Art test at 7:20am so all 24 works must be digitized and uploaded along with the answers to the two concentrations online at the AP Studio Art Submission Website.  The 5 Quality works must also be matted and prepared for submission before Friday.  There are 4 days until the test so make sure you are on-schedule and if you have any issue please let Mr.Needles know immediately!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Media Art: Animations Due

Today in Media Art the completed Animations are due in video form at the end of class.  I demonstrated three different methods of importing and editing the animations all which have positive and negative qualities so each student must choose which method works best for their film and finish their editing by the end of class to submit the film via the public drive.  The great example above is from Chelsea, we'll share more of the films on Monday to critique how everyone progressed!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Studio Art: Paper Bead Bracelets

In Studio Art we are completing our Paper Bead Bracelets today some of which will be auctioned off for charity.  Here's a look at some of the finished bracelets from the period 7 class today which are looking pretty terrific.  After you've completed two bracelets initial one of the beads on each and hand them in for a grade!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Art Honor Society: Spring Field Trip to Chelsea NYC

The Art Honor Society will soon be embarking on our Spring Field Trip to Chelsea NYC to see the new Whitney Museum, NY galleries, walk the high line, and have lunch at Chelsea Market on May 22, 2015.  Today we will talk about the trip and our upcoming induction ceremony as well as the doodle4nf charity doodles.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Advanced Media: Television Pilots

In Advanced Media we just completed presenting our Television Research project so we will now be working on our Television Pilots.  We will be using Kevin Bisch's story cheat sheet (in the assignment drive) and writing out the basic premise followed by a character description list and the Bisch answers.  The pilot pitch is due on Thursday and the research quiz will be on Friday.


The Department of Energy recently issued an infographic challenge and two of our art and science classmates. Rose Kong and Emily Peterson took up the challenge of illustrating Algae Biofuel in the infographic above which was chosen as one of the top 50.  It's a great marriage of science and design for a good educational cause!