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.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Last Day of Quarter 3

Today is the last day of Quarter 3 so make sure any missing or incomplete work is submitted today!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Google Doodle: 151st Anniversary of the Metropolitan Museum of Art


This week is the 151st Anniversary of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Google marked the occasion with a special Google Doodle showing a GIF with some of the artworks in the museum and where they are located.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens—businessmen and financiers as well as leading artists and thinkers of the day—who wanted to create a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. On this day in 1870, the museum was officially incorporated and soon after acquired its first work of art: a Roman sarcophagus. 

The Met has come quite a long way from that first showing to become New York’s largest art museum, with a permanent collection of over 1.5 million objects, spanning over 5,000 years from nearly every corner of the globe. A sampling of the many works of art found at The Met today are depicted in today’s Doodle artwork—including a Byzantine floor mosaic from 500-550 A.D., the armor of German Emperor Ferdinand I from the 16th century, an intricate traditional Lakota/Teton Sioux beaded dress, and the painting "Self-Portrait" by Samuel Joseph Brown, Jr. from the 1940s.

Whether you're a Met regular or planning your first trip to the Museum, be sure to visit a certain blue ceramic hippopotamus from Egypt’s Middle Kingdom nicknamed “William.” An unofficial mascot of The Met, he might soon become your favorite part of the collection.

Happy anniversary to The Met–and here’s to many more!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

STEAM project: Nethmi at the Regeneron International Science Fair

 East senior Nethmi Withanage’s science research project on the behavioral science of color in pandemic art puts the “A” in STEAM as she advances to the Regeneron International Science Fair! Congratulations! @SmithtownCSD pic.twitter.com/WGIzJKRVyt

Congratulations to National Art Honor Society Vice President Nethmi Withanage for placing 1st on all of Long Island in the category of behavioral science and who is advancing to the Regeneron International Science Fair with her research on "The Analysis of the Use of Color in Pandemic Artwork Using Digital Quantifications." 

Students from high schools across Long Island competed virtually at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair and only 20 advance to the International Fair which is also being held virtually this year. 1800 students from around the world will be competing for over 5 million in scholarships and awards.  Please congratulate Nethmi and wish her luck as we prepare for ISEF!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Studio Art: Creative Sport Card Design

In Studio Art we will work on a Creative Sport Card Design project this week which will be the first grade for the 4th quarter. We will view examples from Topps 70, a series of baseball cards designed by a number of diverse creative artists and designers from contemporary artists like Futura and Pose (both can be seen below) as well as Alex Pardee and Ron English to musicians like Action Bronson and Snoop Dogg to Celebrate the 70th anniversary of Topps sports cards. 

We will digitally design sports cards based on any player (local or professional) from any sport or Topps set that incorporate a similar creative, original style. Our first step will be drawing out 3 small, color thumbnails to figure out the design then use a variety of traditional and digital tools to create a creative sports card.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Film Class: Yuri's Night- OKgo All Together Now Music Video Collaboration Preview

This weekend was Yuri's Night celebrating the anniversary of the first man in space in 1961 and OKgo received the Spirit of Yuri's Night award and shared a preview of the All Together Now Music Video project we worked on in collaboration with OKgo Sandbox which was pretty amazing. Even cooler is all the images from this first section of the video will soon be sent to space before they are returned to the creators! Take a look at the video below at 4:07:10 to see the talk and preview just after the Upside Down and Inside Out video.

Students who created animated for the OKgo All Together Now Music Video Collaboration should also share them with me in order to get their extra credit before the end of the quarter this Friday. Here's an example from Liz in film class who's frame was featured in the preview.

Friday, April 9, 2021

The Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Infographics


The Mars Ingenuity helicopter will take it first flight next week so we are working on creating infographics including 3-5 facts about the first powered, controlled flight on another planet this week. Here's a great example of an infographic from Riley in Studio Art using Adobe Spark and below is another terrify example by Angelina in Digital Media using Firealpaca.

Here's some interesting facts about the Mars Ingenuity helicopter from a few months ago that also clarifies it's role as a tech demo.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Film Club: Soul Watch Party

Today in our Media Art Honor Society/Film Club we'll have our first film screening with the 2020 Disney film Soul. We'll begin watching the film then next meeting complete it and discuss it and look into some of the background of how it was created and developed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Film: OKgo Animated Music Video Premiere

 CONFIRMED: Damian Kulash of @okgo

This weekend the OKgo music video we contributed to through OKgo Sandbox will premiere on Yuri's Night! Below is a version of the frame I worked on in class, it's exciting to collaborate with such a wide group of creative people on a project around the world. I'll be colleting some of the images of frames that students created to shout them out on Friday and Saturday leading up to the event!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Studio Art: Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Infographic

This week the Mars Ingenuity Helicopter is set to take it's first flight which will be the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. To celebrate and share our knowledge we'll research the helicopter and it's mission and create an Infographic to share 3-5 facts on social media this week.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Have A Terrific Spring Break- Stay Safe!


Today is the final day before we leave for Spring Break so make sure all your work is completed and submitted (the quarter ends 2 weeks after we return). I hope you all enjoy a safe and relaxing spring vacation, I'll see you all in April!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Studio Art: National Geographic Education's Five Ways of Looking at a Mars Lesson

Today National Geographic Education published an article on Five Ways of Looking at a Mars Lesson and it features Mr. Needles as well as the work of Studio Art's Emily Sang. Check out the article which looks at the different ways classes learn about Mars and reflects on some of the projects we've done as well as hinting at some that are in the future!

Film: Storytelling as a basis for short films

In class we've been learning some of the basics of storytelling and we looked at The Moth's Story Map which helps identify the different parts of a story: 

  1. The World As It Was... What do we need to know about you to understand this story?
  2.  And Then One Day… What happens to set the story in motion?
  3.  Raising the Stakes... What do you have to win or lose? What matters to you and why?
  4. The Moment of Change... What happens that changes how you see things?
  5. The World As It Is Now... How are you different after the events of this story? 
Today we'll be taking our stories and examining the structure based on the map and we'll look at a few examples of stories that were told an turned into short films like the example above from This American Life.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Film- STEAM Power's Book Birthday

Today is the birthday of my book STEAM Power so we'll celebrate by doing a short project from the book which is one of my favorites, video poetry. It'll be an extra credit assignment if you want to complete it and submit it, I'll be sharing poems for National Poetry Month in April!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Film: Film Titles- Spiderman Into The Spider-Verse

As we learn about creating film title animation sequences we'll view a few modern classics such as this example from the recent Oscar winning film Spider Man: Into The Spider-Verse from 2018. The opening titles and closing titles are above, they won the 2019 Excellence in Title Design Award at SXSW and were designed and directed by the films creative directors Brian Mah and James Ramirez with influences from  the hand-drawn techniques of comics artist and Miles Morales co-creator Sara Pichelli as well as artists like Dondi White and Roy Lichtenstein.

Marvel has created some amazing title sequences in it's films that integrate with the plot of the film and help introduce themes, here's another great example from Guardians of the Galaxy 2Director James Gunn described the opening sequence in an early draft of the script as “the greatest title shot ever” so Framestore animation, the company who created the sequence knew they had a tough task. The sequence is all done in 1 consecutive shot so everything needed to be timed perfectly and it required more special effects than any other part of the film due to the continuous action.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Studio Art: Minimalist Film Poster Design


In Studio Art this week we will be learning about Minimalist Film Poster Design and the work of designer Saul Bass. We will then be creating our own minimal design for a favorite film digitally.

Friday, March 19, 2021

2021 Eastern Region Secondary Art Educator Award

I recently won an award from the NAEA, here's a look at the article from the The Smithtown Patch:

SMITHTOWN, NY — Tim Needles, an art teacher at Smithtown High School East, was recognized as the winner of the 2021 Eastern Region Secondary Art Educator Award by the National Art Education Association (NAEA), according to the Smithtown Central School District.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

AP Art: SCALA All County Competition

 This week we entered the SCALA All County Competition and submitted some great work from artists in AP Art and National Art Honor Society such as this drawing from Juliana which she created for her AP portfolio- best of luck to everyone, the results will be announced after spring break.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day, here's a few of my favorite green paintings from art history to get us in the spirit! The self portrait above is Van Gogh and below is the Japanese Garden from Claude Monet.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021


The SCALA Showcase deadline is today, Tuesday March 16th so work and forms must be completed by 11:30 to be submitted. Nethmi has submitted a submission for the scholarship but we still have 4 spots available for artwork if you are interested, the information is below and the forms are on Google Classroom.

Only 6 students per high school building may be entered into the All County show.
CATEGORIES: Drawing, Painting, 3D, Photography, Mixed Media and Digital Media.
Best in Show 100.00, Each Category - $50.00,
3 Honorable Mentions – $25.00 gift cards
*Artwork will not be included in the exhibition if the artwork is not accompanied by the release form.

Only 1 senior per high school building is permitted to enter
This portion of the show is open to SENIORS who will be attending a collegiate art program in the Fall of 2021. Students are required to submit 3 pieces of artwork along with a typed written essay.
The theme for the essay is “What inspires you as an artist?” The essay must be typed
First place $750, Second place $500.00, Third place $250.00
*Artwork will not be included in the exhibition if the artwork is not accompanied by the release form.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Youth Art Month- NAEA Daily Prompts

As part of this year's Youth Art Month celebration the National Art Educators Association has shared a list of daily prompts for social media with the hashtags #NAEA and #YAM so this week we'll be joining in and posting on Twitter and Instagram.

Friday, March 12, 2021

AP Art: 2021 Global Goals Project

This week we completed our collaborative 2021 Global Goals Project on SDG Goal 17, the Partnership for the Goals and the final video can be viewed above on my YouTube page. It was great seeing everyone work together at home and in school, I loved the animations all of you put together! I shared the project with our global collaborators around the world so today we will view some of their projects and leave comments for them.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Studio Art: Album Cover Design

This week we are working on creating an original album cover design. We'll learn about visual identity, branding, and review some of the principals of design we learned about earlier in the year. Each student will choose an album or single music cover of your interest and recreate the cover art. Redesign an album cover of your choice using tools such as: brush ninja, adobe spark, sumo paint, tradition pencils and paper or any other medium you see fit.

The final design must be 1:1 ratio (square) and the album cover must include album title or single title and artist name. Use the elements of color, shape and line, and the principle of unity that we discussed earlier in the year to create your design. You can use what colors and imagery that you think of when you listen to the music.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Rube Goldberg Day

It's Rube Goldberg Day! Today we will finish assembling our Rube Goldberg machine then test it, film it and film it again and hope it works well repeatedly.

Monday, March 8, 2021

National Art Educators Association 2021 Annual Conference

The National Art Educators Association Annual Conference just concluded and I had the opportunity to present a few sessions to share some of the great work we have done together. One of the best parts of presenting to art educators is the amazing art that comes from it and I wanted to share this sketch drawn during my STEAM Power session on Saturday at #NAEA21 by artist and educator Simon Rios aka @stirfrywillie on Instagram, love it!

Friday, March 5, 2021

Google For Doodle Day

Today is the last day to submit your Google For Doodle design for the contest, all entries are due by 8pm Pacific tonight in order to be counted so don't forget to submit online! The example above is a terrific design from Victoria in our Studio Art class which illustrates this year's theme ""I am strong because..."

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Studio Art: Youth Art Month

March is Youth Art Month (YAM) so we will celebrate by creating a sharable work of art for YAM with this year's theme which is "Art Connects Us". Above is a great example from Sarah in Studio Art, we'll be collecting all the images to share out this month on social media.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Film: Sherlock Pilot- A Study In Pink

Today we will watch the aired 90 minute pilot of BBC's Sherlock which is titled A Study in Pink. The episode was written by co-creator Steven Moffat and is a re-vamp of the unaired pilot which was 60 minutes long along with many other small changes.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards 2021 Articles

Six student-artists from Smithtown High School East and Smithtown High School West have received awards in the annual Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards and I so proud that 2/3 of the students were from my classes. The school recently released the news to the press and Angelina, Alexandra, Kiersten, and Nethmi are featured in articles on the school's website and the Smithtown Patch.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Digital Media: 2021 Rube Goldberg Machine

This week we are working on designing elements for our 2021 Rube Goldberg Machine for this year's contest which requires us to shake and pour a box of nerds and today we'll look closer at Joseph's Machines YouTube page as inspiration because his machines are some of my favorites! 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Media Art: The Coded Messages on the NASA Mars Perseverance Parachute



Another part of the rover has small material swatches mounted to the front of the vehicle to help validate NASA's fabric choices for future Mars-bound astronaut spacesuits. These swatches also help keep one of Perseverance's science instrument, SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals), fine tuned as it investigates the dry river basin in Mars' Jezero Crater. It has another hidden Easter egg embedded in it as a reference to it's name, can you find it?


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Media Art Honor Society/Film Club: Freakonomics

Our first screening of 2021 will be the documentary Freakonomics today in Media Art Honor Society/Film Club. The film is based on the best-selling non-fiction book and radio show by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner. It features segments directed by: Seth GordonMorgan SpurlockAlex GibneyEugene JareckiRachel Grady, and Heidi Ewing (a who's who of contemporary documentary filmmakers) and was released in major cities with a pay what you want pricing offer for selected preview showings.

We'll watch segments of the movie and how the approach different directors approached telling the stories and conveying the data which made Freakonomics so popular.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

National Art Honor Society- Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

The National Art Honor Society will begin work on our 2021 Rube Goldberg Machine for this year's contest which requires us to shake and pour a box of nerds as the last step in out machine. We'll finish our registration for the team and watch some inspirational examples of Rube Goldberg machines such as the one OKgo created below.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Shanti Peace Poster Design: Shepard Fairey

We are beginning our Peace Poster designs today for the Shanti Contest so I'll share a favorite of mine from artist Shepard Fairey better known by his street art name OBEY. He has created a number of variations based on the poster above that he designed including a mural in Los Angeles and another in Berlin (both pictured below).

The artist first became known for his "Andre the Giant Has a Posse" images and still incorporates Andre into his current work. He was was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina and  currently lives in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles. He continues to create posters, murals, stickers, and prints as well as book covers, clothing design, album designs, and films. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Mars Perseverance Rover Landing

Welcome back from Winter Break, while we were away the Mars Perseverance Rover had a successful landing and the helicopter has begun charging. 


Above and below you can see some photographs from the event and a link to a team update later today. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Film: Self Portrait Film

This week we learned about Adobe Spark, a tool we'll use to create films this year and our first assignment was to make a short film introducing yourself to the class. The film should answer the following 3 questions

1. Who are you? 2. Why are you here? 3. What is something that is important to you? Today we will watch the films and critique them together, above is a short professional example as a comparison.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Studio Art: Our Countdown To Mars Rover Landing


This week we are designing and creating social media posts incorporating interesting aspects of the Mars Rover landing next week using any of the tools we learned in class such as: Sumo Paint, Brush Ninja, and Adobe Spark. The live rover landing will be live streamed on YouTube on Feb. 18, 2021 at 2:15 p.m. EST during our winter break as we #CountdownToMars together with a live watch party for the event.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Photography: Found Classic Photography Studio

 A classic photography studio was found in Geneva, New York after being long forgotten in an attic. It contained a number of treasures, most importantly a portrait and glass negative of Susan B. Anthony. Check out the story here for more details: Hidden Studio.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Film: Exploring the Art of Storytelling

We are beginning to examine how to structure a story in film with our first assignment which uses Adobe Spark. There are a multitude of approaches but a few things that are consistent among them that we will look at in class. Our first assignment is to tell a story about yourself.

Monday, February 8, 2021

AP Art: Goals Project

We are beginning our work on the Goals Project this month and posted our introductory video last week to the partner classes around the world including students from India, Taiwan, Greece, and Moldova. we'll check in with our partners and brainstorm for our goal 17 project.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Extra Credit: OKgo Art Together Now

Last week we created our own short animations for OKgo's All Together Now video project on OKgo Sandbox and this week we have a chance to take it a step further and work with the band on a music video. The Art Together Now project is a collaborative animation which allows anyone to participate and record part of the song as well as color in a frame of the animation (which will be a postcard). This project will count as extra credit if you want to participate and I can help you to sign up or you can do it yourself on the OKgo Sandbox page. You do need to sign up before February 20 so be sure to do it before winter break to receive your postcard which will need to be returned to them digitally by March 10 in order to complete the video for it's premiere on Yuri's Night on April 10.


Thursday, February 4, 2021

Studio Art: Google 4 Doodle

In Studio Art class we are taking on the annual Google 4 Doodle contest and designing a Google doodle for the theme  "I am strong because..." The video below gives some insight into the contest and we'll view more resources in class then have some time to brainstorm and think of 5-10 different ideas before we choose one to proceed with.


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Film Class: Welcome

Today we begin out filmmaking class with a very quick look at the history of film for some context. We'll also discuss some of the work we'll be doing and get to know some of the equipment we'll be using.

Friday, January 29, 2021

2021 Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Congratulations to the following AP Art and Digital Media students on being recognized in the 2021 Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards! Good luck to Angelina and Alexandra (whose work is pictured above) who both won Gold Key awards and will be moving onto the Nationals in March, best of luck! I'm proud of all the hard work everyone has done and it's a pleasure to see your work honored!!

Angelina Bhola Gold Key- Digital Art (Flower model)

Alexandra Lanzon Gold Key- Mixed Media (Agape)

Gold Key- Mixed Media (Mon cœur t’appartient)

Honorable Mention- Mixed Media (Thantophobia)

Kiersten Hebron Honorable Mention- (Facade)

Honorable Mention- (They Won’t Understand)

Poetry- (Star Crossed Lovers)

Nethmi Withanage Drawing & Illustration- (Beauty and the Beast)

Thursday, January 28, 2021

NAEA Eastern Region Art Educator Award


I was honored this week to learn that I was chosen as the recipient of the 2021 National Art Educators Association's Eastern Region Art Educator Award. I was to share this award with my students as this distinguishment is a reflection of our ongoing collaboration! 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

National Art Honor Society: Video Poems


In today's National Art Honor Society meeting I'll be doing a short 20 minute workshop on creating creative, original Video Poems as a preview of Playfest 2021 this weekend. We will all create our own video poems ahead of National Poetry Month this spring when we will be sharing them.  The project which is included in my book STEAM Power is elastic and can be created with a variety of digital and traditional tools.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

AP Art: Midterm

This week the AP Art will have their Midterm check-in in which we review your first 3 Sustained Inquiry artworks and your sketchbook summer assignment at the halfway point of the school year. The piece above is a creative example from Julianna who was in the AP class last year- the difference of what should be exhibited will vary with each of the 3 tests but the creativity, exploration, and self-expression should be consistent in all the work.

Monday, January 25, 2021

End of the Semester

This week is the end of Semester 1 which also means it's the last week of Photography. All assignments should be handed in by Wednesday so final grades can be tabulated for Friday.

Friday, January 22, 2021

OK Go Sandbox: The One Moment Animation

Our last assignment for the quarter will be a collaborative animation based on the band OKgo's music video for The One Moment. We'll be working together to digitally animate a short sequence which we will then share out on social media. the video can be seen above along with a behind the scenes sequence below that explains part of the process.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Dia Gallery Talk: Artist Sam Gilliam


The DIA Art Center is offering a free gallery talk today on the color field painter and lyrical abstractionist artist Sam Gilliam. The talk is Live on ZOOM at 12pm today and requires registration hereHe works on stretched, draped and wrapped canvas, and adds sculptural 3D elements. He is recognized as the first artist to introduce the idea of a draped, painted canvas hanging without stretcher bars around 1965.

One of his notable works entitle Blue from 1991 (pictured below) can be found in the Jamaica train station here on Long Island (if you haven't been there yet odds are that you will one day).

at the age of 87 Gilliam is still creating work and "trying to express something that is contemporary" such as these new works from Pace gallery below.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Inauguration Day 2021

Today is Inauguration Day and it's one like no other before it so we'll take a moment to watch the event and view it in historical context as it occurs at midday. Since 1937, it has taken place at noon EST on January 20, the first day of the new term. Since the 1981 inauguration of Ronald Reagan, the ceremony has been held at the west front of the United States Capitol facing the National Mall with its iconic Washington Monument and distant Lincoln Memorial. From 1829 through 1977 most swearing-in ceremonies had taken place on a platform over the steps at the Capitol's east portico. They have also been held inside the Old Senate Chamber, the chamber of the House of Representatives, and the Capitol rotunda. The most recent regularly scheduled inauguration not to take place at the Capitol was the fourth inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945, which was held at the White House.

The first inauguration, that of George Washington, took place on April 30, 1789. All subsequent  inaugurations from 1793 until 1933, were held on March 4, the day of the year on which the federal government began operations under the U.S. Constitution in 1789. The exception to this pattern was those years in which March 4 fell on a Sunday. When it did, the public inauguration ceremony would take place on Monday, March 5. This happened on four occasions, in 1821, 1849, 1877, and 1917. Inauguration Day moved to January 20, beginning in 1937, following ratification of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, where it has remained since. A similar Sunday exception and move to Monday is made around this date as well (which happened in 1957, 1985, and 2013).

Today Joe Biden's inauguration will occur without a large crowd due to the pandemic and heightened security after the recent Capitol events so they will instead be met with a sea of American flags on the National Mall. 

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