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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Artroom 161 on Pintrest

One of the hot new online trends that's developing is pinterest and so far I've found it valuable as a visual bookmark for class so I started a Mr.Needles Pintrest account to post images that we'll discuss in lessons or just use as inspiration that you can take a look at as I continue to compile them.

Update: After reading an article from Business Insider about the copyright issues involved in Pintrest and how users are held personally accountable financially I've chosen to repost the same image via Flikr and delete all my boards on Pintrest just a day after I put them up (it was fun while it lasted). The lesson to be learned from this is valuable though, always be sure to actually read your user agreements with applications and programs and know the rules. Part of the Pintrest agreement reads:

"You agree to defend, indemnify, and hold Cold Brew Labs, its officers, directors, employees and agents, harmless from and against any claims, liabilities, damages, losses, and expenses, including, without limitation, reasonable legal and accounting fees, arising out of or in any way connected with (i) your access to or use of the Site, Application, Services or Site Content, (ii) your Member Content, or (iii) your violation of these Terms.”

This means that the company is not liable but you are which is a situation that might be very frightening considering the sheer numbers of pictures and videos pinned and repinned on the site.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Smithtown Alumni Art Shows

Over the February break I had a chance to check out Smithtown alumn Andrew Brischler's work at Maurizio Cattelan's new Family Business Gallery. Andrew has three paintings included in the "The Virgins Show" which was curated by my former painting professor Marilyn Minter. It was so cool to see the work of a former student in a Chelsea show and I was excited to hear that he has his first solo show on the way, amazing!

Another former student, Jess Brett, who recently spoke to our AP Art class has a show opening Thursday at 7pm this week as well in Toast Coffeehouse in Port Jefferson. Jess recently graduated from the Hartford Art School and the show, which will run throughout March, will showcase some of her new work.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Morning Manifesto

I'd like to welcome everyone back to school with an inspirational Monday morning manifesto from Holstee design which reflects so many of the things I believe in in a well designed typographic poster.

"Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion!"

I came across the manifesto on one of my favorite creative blogs Brain Pickings which is well worth checking out along with Drawn, Illustration Friday, and Design Taxi. I recommend taking a look, they are all terrific ways to stay artistically positive and keep up with cool art going on around the world.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Senior AP Show 4: Jeri-Anne

Yesterday was Jeri-Anne's opening which met with a large crowd and a great deal of enthusiasm thanks to her creative approach in designing the show with details like numbering each piece and adding a menu with tiles and information on the work. The show will be up through the rest of the month so come down and take a look down the rabbit hole!

Friday Advice: Carrie Fisher

"Even when you don’t feel inspired, do it anyway"

This week's advice comes from an actress we are all familiar with, Carrie Fisher. She is known for her iconic roles in films such as the Star Wars trilogy, The Blues Brothers, When Harry Met Sally, Austin Powers, and recently on the cartoon Family Guy but in addition to acting Fisher has written a number of plays and books such as Postcards from the Edge which was made into a film directed by Mike Nichols as well as working on screenplays such as Sister Act and The Wedding Singer. I had a chance to interview her while she was working on her most recent play, the autobiographical Wishful Drinking which was recently made into a documentary film which aired on HBO is September.

Mr.Needles: I teach high school and I teach film, screenwriting, and acting. What advice would you give to young creative people in terms of them wanting a career in a creative industry whether it’s writing or acting?

Carrie Fisher: Well it’s a big difference between whether it’s writing or acting. The important thing is to learn as much as you can and to write even when you don’t feel inspired, you know, to do it anyway. Do everything anyway whether you feel confident or not it’s worth going for.

Full Interview: Short & Sweet NYC

Photography: Self Portraits

In photography we are now working creating unique self portraits combining photographs we take of ourselves and writing samples which are layered in Adobe Photoshop. The assignment is due the Friday we return from break but be sure to be original, the only necessary ingredients are writing and an image the rest is up to you!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

AP Art Senior Shows

Our AP Art senior solo shows have been a great success so far this year, last we Kyle and Matt showed off their diverse pieces. Here's a few images from their show.

Photography: The first ten days

This week in photography we combined and edited photographs we created documenting the first 10 days of class. Each student choose to focus on different things such as the example above which focuses on color and others which addressed changes in weather, light, and visual diary's of each day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Film History: Chaplin

This week we will be looking at the films of Charlie Chaplin in film history class, one of the most successful and recognisable comic actors ever. We will be viewing a selection of clips from his films and watching his classic Modern Times as well as the film about him starring Robert Downey Jr.

Monday, February 13, 2012

'The Virgins Show'

My former teacher Marilyn Minter is the curator for the upcoming 'The Virgins Show' which will feature my former student, Smithtown grad Andrew Brischler at the new Family Business exhibition space on 21st Street in Chelsea which is run by Massimiliano Gioni and Maurizio Cattelan fresh off his retrospective at the Guggenheim. Andrew has been doing some amazing work recently and we are very proud of his achievements thus far, check out some of his work at AndrewBrischler.com

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Advice: John C Reilly

"Keep growing, keep moving and you’ll find the world that you need"

This Friday's advice comes from Oscar and Grammy nominated actor, singer, and screenwriter John C Reilly who you probably know from films like: Step Brothers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Chicago, Gangs of New York, Boogie Nights, Casualties of War, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and one of my favorites What's Eating Gilbert Grape. He'll be in the upcoming film The Dictator and Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie but I interviewed him for the film Terri last year in which he plays a high school assistant principal.

Mr. Needles: What's your advice for students who are being bullied or having a difficult time in high school?

John C. Reilly: If you’re in high school and you’re freaking out about your place in the pecking order and you feel like a monster or an outcast and you feel like, in the deck of cards that is high school there’s the aces and the kings and queens and you’re like the three of clubs, just know that this is true for every single person in the world- the moment you get out of high school that deck of cards is thrown into the air and those who were kings and queens often end up the assistant manager at the grocery store and those who were the three of clubs end up on press junkets for movies starring themselves, it gets better for everybody, and you just have to get through it. Keep growing, keep moving and you’ll find the world that you need.

Full story: Short and Sweet NYC

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Painting: Edward Hopper

"Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world"

In painting class we are looking at the work of Edward Hopper (1882-1967) an American painter that was a master in watercolor among other media and who unique, geometric, and often isolated style influenced artists from Rothko to Hitchcock. We are looking at the painting of The Lighthouse at Two Lights from 1929 which is at the Metropolitan Museum and is done from the Cape Elizabeth Light which is just south of Portland, Maine. Above is a short video of his work from a recent show at the Whitney Museum in NY but check out the Smithsonian Museum's Hopper scrapbook and the National Gallery of Art's video podcast narrated by Steve Martin for more information on the artist.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Art Honor Society update

The Art Honor Society is currently working on preparing the JR mural, arranging a spring field trip, working on the Japan Society's Going Global project, and arrange our yearbook page but this week we also saw that the Smithtown Patch posted an article about our newly designed Art Honor Society t-shirts, check it out!

Going Global: Favorite Foods

This week we will begin working on the Japan Society's Going Global program in some of our classes and we will begin by discussing our favorite food with students from Japan and Pakistan so take a photograph of you're favorite food and post it to the site to begin. My example is shown above, it's a tough call but today I'd say it's the turkey and brie sandwich from Miami Beach's La Sandwicherie with a Starbucks coffee on the beach.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

SCAD visit today

Today Michelle Garrigan, a representative of the Savannah College of Art & Design will visit our AP Studio Art class and give a presentation about the school and it's wide array of programs. I had a chance to visit the school in February last year and in addition to exploring their wonderfully designed facilities and eclectic classes I was able to attend their deFine Art exhibition and lecture with performance artist Marina Abramović which was amazing!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Advice: Jonah Hill

"My advice would be writing is everything"

As you may know in addition to teaching I also work as a journalist and occasionally have opportunities to interview actors, writers, directors, musicians, and artists for magazines and blogs. In each interview I try to ask a question that might aid my students and throughout this month I'll be sharing some of the advice I've heard from some of the people I've interviewed each Friday.

We'll start it off with actor and screenwriter Jonah Hill; I'm sure most of you are familiar with Jonah from his roles in films such as: Superbad, Knocked Up, Get Him to the Greek, Funny People, and Moneyball (for which he was recently nominated for a Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor) but in addition to acting he's also a prolific screenwriter. I had a chance to sit down with him at the Fox offices last year while he was promoting the independent film Cyrus from the Duplass brothers which also stars John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei and I asked him about his advice:

Mr. Needles: I teach film and screenwriting in high school
and wanted to ask on behalf of my students what advice do you have for people who want to succeed in the business?

Jonah Hill: My advice would be writing is everything. You know being an actor and not being able to write is one of the scariest things in the entire world, I know this from friends of mine who are actors and don’t write because a lot of time as an actor, especially starting out you spend 99.9 to 100% of the time unemployed so if you can focus on writing everyday and getting better at writing- you should spend every day getting better at what you are trying to do. If you’re an actor and you want to act there’s not going to be movie parts for years unless you are one in a billion so find some friends who are into writing, write a play with them, and then you guys put it up where ever you can: in someone’s house or at a party or something or whatever, borrow a family members camera make a short film, read plays out loud with your friends… every day should just be spent moving forward at getting better at what you are trying to do. That’s my advice and that’s what I did, I just didn’t waste any day when I wasn’t writing or acting even in the few years of unemployment, you know, you just have to fill that time with things that are positive towards your goal.

Here's a link to more from the interview: Short and Sweet NYC

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Art Honor Society 2012 T-shirt Design

The Art Honor Society's 2012 T-shirt Design is complete and incorporates work from a number of our members. The t-shirt is available for purchase now in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles!

Adobe Photoshop in photography

Our last photography assignment for the semester was using Adobe Photoshop to prepare images for publication. Students used a variety of techniques that we learned in class from basic alterations with color and contrast to using and creating filters and above is a great example from class. If you are interested in learning more about advanced tools such as these in Photoshop there are some terrific materials on-line such as Adobe TV and Lynda.com.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Long Island Peace Poster Competition

Three members of our AP Studio Art class had their art chosen to be included in the 2012 Shanti Fund calendar as a result of being named finalists in the Long Island Peace Poster Competition. The competition aims to promote peace and non-violence for Long Island students. The students: Carissa Camilleri, Alejandro Carazo and Jeri-Anne Vestuto are pictured above along with Assistant Superintendent for Instruction & Administration Maria Rianna, Superintendent Edward Ehmann, SHS East Principal Ed Thompson.

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