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, December 6, 2016

Colors of Long Island


Today the entries for the Colors of Long Island art exhibit at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook are being submitted and there are a few great works in various media.  Best of luck to everyone, the show will be on view from February 24, 2017 through April 16, 2017 with the reception on Sunday, March 5. Here are a few of my early favorites!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Foto Foto Gallery's 12th Annual National Photography Competition


Congratulations to Sam in our AP Art class who's photograph was chosen along with mine for the 12th Annual National Photography Competition at Foto Foto Gallery in Huntington, NY.  The show was curated by notable art director Stephen Mayes who is secretary of the World Press Photo Competition and executive director of the Tim Hetherington Trust.  Out of nearly 600 entries 29 were chosen for this year's competition which is on view through January 7, 2017.


Friday, December 2, 2016

AP Art: Stencil Photo Gelli Printmaking


After creating our first monoprints in Studio Art class with the gratitude prints we will take monoprinting to the next level by adding drawing and layer masks like the example from my photography demo above and from last year's AP Art below.  Each student should create a portrait of a person, animal, or thing on printmaking paper in pencil or ink, cut a stencil mask and print over it creating a mixed media piece.  These prints will be due next Tuesday December 6.


  • AP art should create a series of 11 prints 5"x7" or larger.
  • Photography shhould create a photo print and a photo transfer print.
  • Studio should create a stencil print.




Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wyland National Art Challenge


Tomorrow is the deadline for the Wyland National Art Challenge so anyone who created individual art or photo entries be sure to upload them to the website with all the relevant information before tomorrow at midnight.  The example above is a great one from Steph in the AP Art class.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Colors of Long Island


This week we are working to create entries for the Colors of Long Island art exhibit at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.  We will create full color drawings and photographs featuring imagery from Long Island to display in the show which will be on view from February 24, 2017 through April 16, 2017 with the reception on Sunday, March 5.



Monday, November 28, 2016

Extra Credit: StoryCorps-The Great Thanksgiving Listen


This month's extra credit assignment for studio art classes is to participate and upload an interview for StoryCorps The Great Thanksgiving Listen.  You can listen to some of the previous #NeedlesClass Great Listen interviews to get an idea of the expectation but we'll review the specifics in class too.  Each interview should be with an elder and have at least 10 questions along with a photograph of the interviewer and interviewee along with a signed permission form if they are going to be uploaded.  Make sure you add the #needlesclass hashtag so we can easily find them online.  Below is a StoryCorps favorite animated example.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Project Gratitude


This week Smithtown High School East participated in Project Gratitude over 350 students and teachers participated in the project creating small gratitude prints to remind themselves to be thankful and to give away to family, friends, loved ones, and even troops overseas as part of a collaborative project with the diversity club.

The project was created by Mr. Needles and arrange by a collaborative group of teachers from a cohort of the Smithtown's Social Emotional Learning program including: Mrs. Schmalz (Guidence), Mr. Kelly (English), Mrs.Tener (Social Studies), Ms. Locascio (Special Ed), Mrs. Brienza (Special Ed), Mrs.Scholepflin (Math), Ms.Primiceri (Spanish), along with Mr. Needles (Art).

Students from a variety of clubs such as the National Art Honor Society, The Math Honor Society, Leadership, the Diversity Club, the Media Art Honor Society and others joined with interested students and teachers from across the school for the project.  Classes also joined in with Mr. needles art and media classes during the day to create prints during Thanksgiving week.


The after school event included a short video, a guided meditation led my by Mrs. Schmalz, a reflection lessons learned about gratitude from Mrs.Tavis and Leadership based on their reading of alumni and author John Gordon's The Energy Bus, a few personal stories and reflections in words by Mrs.Scholepflin and in writing Mr. Kelly by and a concluded with the printmaking project.


The printmaking portion of the project featured students creating 3"x5" prints on paper stock using Gelli printing plates and acrylic paint along with stamps, stencils, and other creative materials.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving! Today is the last day before the holiday break for many of you and I'll be sharing a story about helping to carry Buzz, the then un-named Cheerio's Honey Nut Bee in the 1999 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Studio Art: Monoprinting


In Studio Art we will be working on the gratitude project this week Monoprinting using Gelli plates to create 3"x 5" prints to reflect what we are thankful for.


The print will be created on the front of the card and text will be added after it's dried then on the back you'll write your name and something your thankful for.  Above are some student examples.

Friday, November 18, 2016

AP Art: Shanti Peace Poster Contest Winner


Congratulations to AP art's Ilysa Sirota on winning the 2016 Shanti peace poster contest for her colorful, graphic design featured below.  She was awarded $147 (the age Ghandi would be if he were alive) by the Shanti organization and Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone at a ceremony this week and her image will be featured in their annual calendar.  This is Ilysa's second winning poster design, she also took the top prize in last year's competition.  For over 12 years, Volunteers of Shanti Fund have been actively promoting peace through education through programs like their annual peace poster competition. 


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Scholastic Art& Writing Awards


The deadline for the Scholastic ArtWriting Awards is coming up, it's the first week of December so make sure you begin preparing your entries and enter online using the line above.  the categories range from Photography to Mixed Media to Comic Art so take a look and enter!



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

AP Art: Identity Breadth



In AP Art we have been working on our 3rd breadth piece which is focused on identity and is due in class today.  The video above from MoMA gives an insight into how Frida Kahlo and some other well known artists have dealt with identity in their art.  We will prepare some of the works for submission into the Nassau County Community College juried Art Student Exhibit.  Take a look at the image below from the NCCC college firehouse gallery exhibit from last year.





Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Digital Media: Drawing with Robots



In Digital Media class we are working with coding to learn how to draw with robots later in the class, we want to understand how to best control and program the drawings so we'll be working on code.org's upper level artist level to create 4 creative drawings and post them to the code art gallery.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Studio Art: Artist Trading Cards



This weekend I mailed out our Studio Art and AP Art Artist Trading Cards for the global swap so we should be receiving our cards shortly from around the world.  I mailed out over 300 ATCs this year so they will be processed and sent around the world.  Above is a look at some of the great, creative ATCs that students created in class and art honor society.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Art Honor Society: Project Gratitude


In Art Honor Society we began working on Project Gratitude this week, creating Gelli monoprints that reflect our gratitude to share with others.  We'll be rolling out the project school wide later in the month and them extending it into the community later in the year!





Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Studio Art: Illustration Friday

In Studio Art class we are moving to a new classroom on the "other side" and leaving Artroom161 today.  We will begin by acquainting ourselves with our new surroundings and organize where things are in this room.


Then we will be closing out the quarter this week by completing the sketchbook drawings of our hands and creating an drawing for this week's Illustration Friday theme of STEAM like the example above from illustrator Gabi Toma.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Photography: Meta




In Photography we recently finished our artist research project and now it's time to get Meta and create an image inspired by something you learned from one of the photographers we studied.  the image can be a direct interpretation of one of their works or a work inspired by something the believe in philosophically or do technically.  The edited images are due on Wednesday.




Friday, November 4, 2016

Studio Art: Min-comics


In Studio Art class we are just wrapping up our creating our mini-comics and now it's time to share them.  Make sure to scan and save you full mini comic so that we can have a copy to share (and grade) in the class public drive.  The stories have been diverse and terrific, I love this comic from Adelaide above, it's a really powerful story and very well draw and designed.  I'll be collecting all the mini-comics today, looking forward to reading more of them!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

AP Art: Sketchbook Work


The AP Art and Studio Art classes might want to take a look at my featured post on the Sharing Our Notebooks Blog this month in which I share some of my sketchbook art and writing process.  The blog looks at writers and artists and how they use notebooks and sketchbooks in their work.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

STEAM and StoryCorps Webinars


This week I'll be a guest on two webinars to share some of the educational programs we have been working on in class: STEAM and StoryCorps.

On Tuesday the webinar is hosted by the School Library Journal and ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education, and the webinar is focused on the A in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math).  I'll be a guest along with LittleBits designer Krystal Persaud, librarian Shannon M .Miller, and host Kathy Ishizuka.  I'll be sharing some of the great STEAM project we've worked on both in Digital Media and Art classes and the Makerspace Club.

On Wednesday the webinar is hosted by the TED prize award winning NPR radio show StoryCorps and I'll be sharing some of my insights on creating great student interviews for the Great Thanksgiving Listen Project along with Maureen Nagle, a teacher from the Moses Brown School.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Studio Art: Halloween Figure Drawing


In Studio Art and AP Studio Art classes we will celebrate Halloween with figure drawing in costume today.  We will begin with 5 minute Figure Drawing poses from student models then develop into drawing multiple models together and different length poses with different materials.  This will give students a taste of our upcoming figure drawing unit!


Friday, October 28, 2016

#RIP Vine


"Everyday is another opportunity to be creative"- https://vine.co/v/eJriwMVdZwK

Yesterday Twitter announced that it was ending the Vine app, a tool which we've been using to document and share some of the great creative work and adventures in and out of class over the years.  As an artist I always enjoyed the creative constraint of 6 seconds of video so it was a regular part of my work as we'll as my teaching. The @timneedles Twitter page will go on and evolve but Vine is what helped make it great. Here's 10 of my most popular Vines.  Here's a few of the favorite Vine video's that we've created together over the years that helped contribute to over 1.3 million loops!



It's unfortunate that Twitter wasn't able to find a way to make Vine more successful- thanks to all the people who shared the Vines and left positive comments and to all the friends we made through Vine like Rebecca Mir, Anne Robertson, Tzaddi, Zach Page, Rust, Guy Vincent, and the K12artchat crew!


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Digital Media: 3D printing keychain


In Digital Media class this week we are begining to learn about designing for 3D printing but creating a keychain.  First log into Tinkercad and click the Learn tab to complete the first 4 basic tutorials.  Once your done you should create a #D design for a keychain that is no larger than 35mm.  The examples here give you a sense of the diversity of what you can create.




Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Extra Credit: How Does Art Unite Us?

Art Keeps Kids in School

How Does Art Unite Us?

Students should create an 18 x 24" (46 x 61 cm) poster that communicates a message of unity by answering the question, How Does Art Unite Us? Posters can be vertical or horizontal and may be done in any media
Suggestions:
• Be creative and think outside the box.
• Reproducibility factors into the judging, so use good lettering, high contrast, and bright colors.
Winners will be directly notified by January 6, 2017. Winners will also be announced on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Judging: Winners will be selected by SchoolArts’s Editor, Nancy Walkup. Posters will be judged based on overall impact, effectiveness in conveying the theme, originality, and artistic merit.

Due: November 10, 2016
Deadline: November 18, 2016

AP Art: Shanti peace poster contest winner


Congratulations to AP art's Ilysa Sirota on winning the 2016 Shanti peace poster contest for her colorful design featured above.  She will awarded $147 (the age Ghandi would be if he were alive) by the Shanti organization and Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone at a ceremony later today and her image will be featured in their annual calendar.  This is Ilysa's second winning poster design, she also took the top prize in last year's competition.  For over 12 years, Volunteers of Shanti Fund have been actively promoting peace through education through programs like their annual peace poster competition.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Studio Art: Mini Comics



This week we are drawing and designing Mini-Comics in Studio Art class.  We will learn about the basic elements of a story, the folding techniques, and the variations in the media.  Then we will brainstorm ideas and begin drawing and designing our own.  You can base you comic on the character you created in our warm-up cartooning activities or start create new characters but the final comic should include 8 pages including a cover with your name and a title and a back with Smithtown High School East, the year, and Mr. Needles written.


We will begin learning how to fold the paper and create the book then sketching out a simple storyboard like the student example seen above.  Once we have a storyboard in full color we'll create the final min-comic like the example seen below.


After you comic is shaded, toned, and/or colored you should open it back up to one piece of paper and scan it.  We will be scanning these comics after they are completed to show and trade them.  Below are a few finished student comics from previous classes.


A number of former students have become comic book artists and work in the film industry creating films based on comics.  Check out the example below from East grad Nicole Rodriguez!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Photography Artist Research Project

In Photography we are going to be working on our Artist Research Project this week. I introduced you to the work of photographers in class:

  • Robert Frank
  • Sebastiao Salgado
  • Marilyn Minter
  • Steve McCurry
  • Annie Leibovitz

We will learn about them more formally and now you will choose and research a photographer and share their work with class. Each student should create a slideshow with the following:
  • 1 coverpage including photographer image and name
  • 10 bulleted biographical notes of interest
  • 20 images of artwork appropriate for class
Below are the photographers that you chose to research, we will have an assessment on all of them are we learn about them and share their work next week:


  1. Nicole- Richard Avedon
  2. Juliana- Joel Meyerowitz
  3. Anthony- Walter Iooss
  4. Alana- Ansel Adams
  5. Alessandra- Dorothea Lange
  6. Daniel- Tim Hetherington
  7. Andrew- Robert Capa
  8. Christina- Herb Ritts
  9. Layne- Lauren Greenfield
  10. Chloe- Annie Leibovitz
  11. Kelly- Jerry Uelsmann
  12. Isaiah- David LaChapelle
  13. Ashley- Diane Arbus
  14. Emily- Irving Penn
  15. Alyssa- Edward Burtynsky
  16. Julia- Henri Cartier-Bresson
  17. Grace- William Eggleston

Friday, October 21, 2016

Art Honor Society: Safe Halloween- Spooky Hallways



Today the Art Honor Society will meet to prepare for and run a Safe Halloween- Spooky Hallways event in partnership with our new Makerspace club.  We will be encouraging kids do color a pumpkin that then can become virtual thanks to the augmented reality app Quiver.  We tested it out in our last Makerspace club meeting and you can see the results above!

Below are a few picture from the Spooky Hallways event, thanks to everyone who volunteered their time!


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Studio Art: Watercolor Portraits


In Studio Art we are learning different methods to create watercolor portraits from life.  Each student should create 5 portraits of classmates using the different approach listed below.  The demonstrations I made in class are shown above and show the basics of what we are learning such as: learning to mix colors and create realistic skin tones, build proportionate images, and master the brushwork to create a lifelike portrait.  I created the demos with different style because the style is open as long as the portrait is accurate in shapes and colors and hopefully it has a likeness.  Here are the 5 approaches that are due on Monday:
  1. Pencil Drawing with Watercolor
  2. Direct Watercolor Portrait
  3. Direct Watercolor Portrait with colored pencil over it
  4. Portrait including the full palette of colors
  5. Colored pencil portrait with watercolor over it

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Photography: The Basic Principals



We are beginning to learn the Basic Elements and Principals of photography in class and we are going to take some tips from National Geography photographer Steve McCurry who's images are featured in the video above. This week you will be asked to take images that reflect his 9 tips which are listed below then edit those images using Adobe Photoshop. The finished images are due on Monday October 24 and we will critique the photos together as a class.


  1. Rule of Thirds
  2. Leading Lines
  3. Diagonals
  4. Framing
  5. Figure to Ground
  6. Fill the Frame
  7. Center Dominant Eye
  8. Patterns & Repetition
  9. Symmetry

Steve McCurry's work is pretty amazing so we'll take a look at his process in class and hear him talk a little bit about his work and the stories behind them.  Here's an extra glimpse of McCurry discussing his work.

Monday, October 17, 2016

AP Art: Hartford Art School

University of Hartford | Hartford Art School

Today a representative from the Hartford Art School will be visiting the AP Studio Art class to discuss their program and review portfolios.  We've had a number of students attend Hartford over the years such as Steve Ponzo, Aidi Wang, Jess Brett, and most recently Dylan Ahern and they've all had positive experiences.

Friday, October 14, 2016

AP Art: Art History Research Project


We will begin our artist research project this week-each student has been assigned two artists that reflect their work in some way.  Create a presentation with: 
  • 1 cover page-featuring the artist's image along with their name and yours
  • 10 short bullet-ed biography notes of interest with sources 
  • 20 full size images of their work, each on it's own page
Below is the master list of artists.  We will share the presentations next week and have a short visual and written assessment after we have reviewed them all.

Alexa: Chuck Close & Peter Beard
Alexandra: Gary Taxali & Ai Weiwei
Amy: Stanley Donwood & Victor Vasarely
Anna: Beau Stanton & Salvador Dalí
Anthony: Hieronymus Bosch & FAILE
Arielle: Barry McGee & Edvard Munch
Carly: Gustav Klimt & Jeff Koons
Danielle: Wolf Kahn & Dylan Egon
Emily B: Andrew WyethEsao Andrews
Emily: Katsushika Hokusai & Wayne White
Erin: Fiona Staples & Albrecht Dürer
Ilysa: Vincent Van Gogh & Lucian Freud
Jamie: Olek & Alice Aycock
Jill: Damien Hirst & Andy Kehoe
Kayla B: Sigmar Polke & Donald Baechler
Kayla: Evol & Holly Dewolf
Kyle: Liu Bolin & Lauren Greenfield
Lauren: Judith Supine & Henri Matisse
Leesa: Daniel Danger & Diane Arbus
Luke: David Aja & Rico Lebrun
Natalia: Shepard Fairey & Maurizio Cattelan
Nicole: Agnes Martin & Yayoi Kusama
Sam: Sebastião Salgado & Richard Avedon
Sara: Marilyn Minter & Man Ray
Steph: Alphonse Mucha & Swoon

Needles: Robert Rauschenberg 

Today is also the last to enter the Young Arts contest which closes on Oct 14, 2016 at 11:59pm.  Enter for a chance for scholarships and a chance to be nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts.  We will also have the Hartford Art School visit next week on Monday to discuss their program and review portfolios. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Photography: Nature

Last week in Photography we learned some basics about composition and went outdoors to incorperate them while photographing nature around the school.  The above image is the example I created and edited as a demo in class.  This week we will be in the computer lab editing our photos and each student should have an image for each principal and technique we learned:

  • Tiltshift
  • Ants Eye View
  • Leading Lines/S-Curve
  • Rule of Thirds
  • Texture
  • Repetition
  • Rhythm


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