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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Film History: Ghostbusters

In 1984 the film Ghostbusters became a phenomena and the stars who wrote the film Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis began a classic film franchise which is still continuing with a script for Ghostbusters 3 still supposedly in development.  We talked a bit about  Ivan Reitman direction and the cultural significance of the film but for your essay well focus mostly on acting and writing so answer the following three questions in a two page typed paper for Friday June 1:

The comedic moments of the film are often hinged on the actors ability to relate to each other as a ensemble, describe a scene which worked thanks to the interplay of the primary cast: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and describe what specifically makes you care about the characters as a viewer.

The effects are dated at times but somehow they still work and the film still is fun to watch, use a scene from the film and discuss what makes the ghost work despite the outdated effects?

The location plays an important role in the film, discuss how the city of New York is woven into the film and what makes it work as a character in the film for the audience?  Why New York?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The 2012 National Art Honor Society Induction

This afternoon we held our National Art Honor Society induction and group art exhibit so congradulations to all our new inductees and thanks again to Jeri Anne who ran the ceremony and to all our officers as well as everyone who helped make this year such a big success!  Also congradulations to all of our AP Art undergrads who put together a terrific art show which will be on display till school is out next week!

Naming the Colors

I came across this fascinating short video on the colour experiment done with the Himba tribe of Namibia  thanks to the  Radiolab's recent Colors show on WNYC radio.  The video shows how this foreign tribe actually sees colors differently and shows how, pretty amazing!  Take a listen to the whole podcast linked above if you have a chance, it's well worth it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Photography: Portraits

In photography class we are finishing up our portrait project and today everyone should make any last minute alterations on Photoshop, combine their images into a triptych or quad and save it to our public drive.  Above is a great example by Brianna and below is another by Rachel which has good exposure and interesting poses.

Longhouse Student Annual

All work for the Longhouse Reserve Student Annual is due today, above is a cool piece by Jerianne based on Shin Sangho's sculptures Dream of Africa.  Any students with work be sure to see Mr. Needles today in room 161 to fill out the online form and drop off your work.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Photography: Tiltshift

 This week we learned the tilt-shift technique in photography class which makes real photographs appear something like fake models and today the final triptych of tilt-shifted images from each student is due.  Remember if you dont have a tilt-shift lens or time to mimic it in Photoshop there's always the easy to use tiltshiftmaker.  Here are a few of the early submissions which turned out really well, I love Kim's image from Central Park in Manhattan above and McKenna's triptych from the Giants game below, great job! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My interview with actor/director James Franco

Here's a short clip from an interview I did recently with the actor and director James Franco from films such as: Spider-Man, Pineapple Express, and 127 Hours and television shows like: Freaks & Geeks and General Hospital.  The question is about how he deals with his fears so it's certainly relative to all my students heading out to college to work in film and art and in it he references his directorial debut The Broken Tower which comes out soon.

The whole interview can be read on Short&SweetNYC

Monday, May 21, 2012

Advanced Film: Exterior Shoot Week

This week we start the principal photography on our short film "Throw It Back" and we'll be shooting all the hallway and exterior scenes so be prepared to act as an extra in your Smithtown attire or plain colored shirts as well as fill your various production roles Tuesday and Wednesday!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Photography: Portraits

In photography class this week we are working on portraits in groups.  Each group has one day to create take photos in the classroom studio and then each person must create a triptych of three images they created.  We have a number of will models in class but remember make sure the exposure is good before taking too many images and it's necessary to take a number of photos in order to get three good ones to use.  All the triptychs are due on Tuesday May 22.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Film History: Network

In Film History class we recently screened a long segment of the Sidney Lumet film Network and discussed it's place in history.  The satire of the film in a sense predicted the future and for your reaction paper you'll need to discuss Howard Beale's rant shown above where he calls out television and in a larger sense media for it's ability to produce propaganda and create the information that becomes seen as the truth in many minds.  Answer the following three questions in a two paged, typed, double spaced reaction paper which is due on Monday May 21:

How did you interpret Howard Beale's rants in the film based on what we know about his character as the film progresses?  Do you think he's gone 'mad' or is speaking his own truth knowingly?  Does it matter?

The film was made at a time when network news was one of the primary places people received information from, this has changed dramatically with the advent of 24 hour cable news, the Internet, smart phones, and blogging.  What was the film's message about the media then and how has it changed for today?

The film shows the network using the 'Ecumenical Liberation Army' terrorist group (based on the Symbionese Liberation Army) for ratings, in your opinion how outlandish is that in today's media world?  Use examples both from the film and modern sources to explain your answer.

AP Art: summer assignments and concentration examples

The 2012-2013 AP Art class will have a short meeting next Wednesday May 23 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 14 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 a quality 'drawing exam' work by Alejandro and below is an example of a quality '2D exam' work by Megan both of whom will be in the class with you next 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 4 assignments should be sent to me via email, instagram, flickr, ect by August for feedback as they will count towards your 1st Quarter grade)

1. Self Portrait (without showing your face)- The important thing here is to reveal something about yourself without using your face. In fact, you need not use any part of your body at all in this assignment. Instead, you are challenged to portray who you are in some alternative way. What image can you create or invent that would tell us something about you - your personality, your interests, your character, your inclinations, your talents, your passions, your obsessions, your desires, your needs, your likes and dislikes, your essence?

2. Noir- Read the definition below and create a work that has a theme of noir in some way.
(adjective French: Black; noting the black numbers in roulette or the film noir style which incorporates deep shadows and a grim urban setting, photographed in somber tones and permeated by a feeling of disillusionment, pessimism, and despair.)

3. Song- Illustrate a song of your choice. Do NOT incorporate the lyrics into the work but instead illustrate the words or feelings or music itself! The theme is open to your own interpretation.

4. Chronicle- Take a part of your life whether it is a single 24 hour day or a week or a class period and make an art piece representing that period of time. You can incorporate text or leave it abstract but be creative and do not simply document, make it creative.

Part II: Concentration Assignments:

Create 10 works in a theme of your choice in a medium that you want to work with for the AP test (pencil, photography, mixed media, ect.).  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

Part III: 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 Ghandi and/or Martin Luther King if you wish.  Here's a link to the three winning Smithtown designs from last year's contest: 2011 Peace Poster

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

AP Art: Art from Books

Now that the AP Art test is over we are going to work on some creative things in class that we couldn't fit in before and our first assignment is to create a sculptural art piece from a book.  I passed out a number of 'decomissioned' books from the schools, titles from Shakespeare to Salinger, and each senior student should take a book and find a creative way to turn it into a sculpture.  It's better to have the sculpture relate to the book in some way so take a look and be open-minded.  The video above shows some amazing examples as well as Christine Antaya's book Book Art: Iconic Sculptures and Installations Made from Books but try to incorporate only parts of the books if possible (as well as glue, paint, and any other supplies you use).  The project will be due when we return from Memorial Day vacation so be creative and have fun!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Advanced Film: Screenwriting

We are continuing work on our screenwriting unit in Advanced Film class and now that everyone has finished the first draft of their screenplay and filled out our cheatsheet about the 'big picture' questions, it's time to take the notes that you received and incorporate them while editing and working on your 2nd draft which is due on Wednesday this week.

Also Final Draft, the screenwriting software company, has a regular series of webinars for those interested in screenwriting and while I've never tried one I thought I'd pass the information along.  The next webinar is this Wednesday, May 16, 2012 from 6p.m. to 7:15p.m. with Paradigm Literary Agent David Boxerbaum: Final Draft Webinar

Monday, May 14, 2012

Going Global: Tokyo Gakugei Electronic Exchange

This week we will begin the Tokyo Gakugei Electronic Exchange project in which we will work with students in schools around the United States and in Japan through the Japan Society's Going Global platform.  The basis of the project will be the upcoming annular eclipse (a solar eclipse which occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun) which occurs in the U.S. on May 20.  While we won't be able to view the eclipse because it visibility concludes in the Southwest and Texas we will participate and respond to the images that the students from the visible areas post.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mr. Needles is proctoring the AP Art test Friday

Just a reminder that today is the AP Art exam so I will not be in classes even though we are in school.  Below is the assignments for Mr. Needles classes on Friday, I may pop into class and check on your progress:

Painting Class: will work on an initial sketch for the art history project listed on the blog below, you've all chosen a work from one of the artists we studied now sketch out your response in pencil on paper.

Film History: will write a short commentary on the work of director and musician Michel Gondry. We watched a number of his videos and short films in class and watched previews for some of his feature length works so discuss what you have seen and what is consistent in his films and music videos.

Photography: will complete their environmental portraits and continue working on the alphabet project listed on the blog below.

Advanced Film: will complete the screenwriting 'cheat sheet' supplied by Kevin Bisch and begin working on their second drafts of their screenplay.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Photography: A Sense of Place

Here are some of the results from our recent 'A Sense of Place' assignment in photography class based on photographer Bob Krist.  The shots above are from Jess's trip through Baltimore and below are McKenna's photographs from Antigua.

Paige also took some pretty cool photos below from the Smithtown East softball game while she was busy playing third base.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

RIP Maurice Sendak (1928 – 2012)

“Children do live in fantasy and reality; they move back and forth very easily in a way we no longer remember how to do.”

Yesterday the legendary author and illustrator of children's books like Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen Maurice Sendak passed away at the age of 83. Sendak was an inspiration to me and to so many others out there as he bucked the trends of his time and produced such wonderful works both artistically and conceptually.  Here's a link to the author's New York Times obituary and to a collection of fantastic interviews he did with Fresh Air's Terri Gross on NPR.

AP Art Test Friday

The day has finally here, this Friday is our AP Studio Art test so make sure you are on track to have all of your work ready online along with your concentration statements and your quality pieces mounted!  I'll be available extra hours to help you but make sure you let me know if you need my help if you need it.  Above is a good example of a well balanced portfolio so make sure all your work is up to par or else keep working on it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Painting: The History Project

Below is the list of artists that we covered in the previous week during our Google Art Research Project and in addition to being on the test this week, these same artists will be the foundation of your next project where you may choose any artist on the list and choose one of their works to look at then create your own work as a response to theirs.  To be clear, your not being asked to work in their style of mimic their painting rather to create your own work that is a visual response to a theme, technique, subject, ect. found in their work.  Here is the Metropolitan Museum Art History Timeline

Renaissance art
Peter Paul Rubens
Anthony Van Dyck
Hans Holbein the Younger
Albrecht Altdorfer
Moretto da Brescia
Girolamo Romanino
Roelandt Savery
Adriaen Van Utrecht

Rembrandt van Rijn
Johannes Vermeer

Katsushika Hokusai
Utagawa Hiroshige

Claude Monet
Georges Seurat
Mary Cassatt

Vincent Van Gogh
Odilon Redon

Art Deco and Art Nouveau
Gustav Klimt
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Alphonse Mucha

Felix Duban
Fernand Leger
Pablo Picasso
Henri Matisse
Salvador Dalí
Man Ray
André Masson
Richard Long

Contemporary (living)
Damien Hirst
Jake and Dinos Chapman
David Shrigley

Monday, May 7, 2012

Film History: 1970's

This week in film history class we'll be looking at the 1970's in film and television and we'll be starting off with the birth of Saturday Night Live which began in 1975.  The seventies saw soap operas, science fiction, and game shows flourish while westerns and classics died on television but politics stepped onto the small screen in SNL and shows like All In The Family so we'll take a look at what was going on at the time and how it was reflected.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Skype talk with screenwriter Kevin Bisch

Yesterday we had a fantastic and candid talk with screenwriter and Smithtown alum Kevin Bisch via Skype in the classroom.  Kevin discussed his days at Smithtown East, how he broke into the business, his professional advice, and the story of his first big film Hitch as well as answering questions from students.  Above is a short snippet from the hour long discussion which proved to be both a terrific learning experience as well as a fascinating story!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Film History: The Graduate

This week we watch one of my favorite films The Graduate and we talked about the film as well as the impact the film had socially and on films afterwards. Director Mike Nichols introduced some major innovations in the film that we discussed and the story itself and characters are distinct and memorable.  In our paper we'll discuss these aspects along with the film's unique ending so in a two-page typed paper answer the following three questions:

After deconstructing the film, what is the film really about (aka what it the theme) and how does it hold up over time as the movie is now over 40 years old.

How did the innovations in the use of sound, music, and editing help support the overall film?

The end of the film leaves the audience up in the air in some sense based on what you know and how you feel about the characters of Ben and Elaine, what do you think became of them after the film's conclusion (use evidence from the film to support your theory).

Also just a FYI Mike Nichols will be doing a Times Talk this Monday May 7, 2012 which will be webcast if you're interested!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Skype in the Classroom: Screenwriter Kevin Bisch

This Thursday the Media Art Honor Society will host a Skype in the Classroom chat afterschool with Smithtown alum screenwriter Kevin Bisch best known for his hit film Hitch starring Kevin James and Will Smith.  He was voted one of "100 People in Hollywood You Need to Know" so it should be a great talk for students who want to go into film and writing!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Japan Society- Partners in Preservation

Our friends at The Japan Society have been chosen to participate in the 2012 Partners in Preservation New York City restoration initiative, sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They applied for a grant to refurbish the four exterior façades of our building, replace all doors and repair/replace the slate sidewalk so help them out by voting once a day for us through May 21, 2012 here: http://partnersinpreservation.com/.

Also take a look above at the awesome stop-motion animation they created for this year's Sakura celebration!

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