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, January 31, 2013

Photography: Winter in Smithtown

Our first photography assignment is to create 4 photographs showing what winter is like around Smithtown and the images are due Friday February 1.  The images can be taken using any camera or device and can be delivered via any sharing method such as an SD card, via the iPhone, Instagram using the #NeedlesClass hash tag, or on a flash drive or CD.  The theme is pretty open and with our weather so far this week, it shouldn't be too much of a challenge!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Art Honor Society: PTA Art Auction

This Friday is the Smithtown East art auction featuring work from Art Honor Society members including the images above by Sabrina, Melissa, Clay, and Jess which will be auctioned off live in support of the Smithtown High School PTA. The event Friday 7:30-9pm in the commons with music and previews beginning at 6:30 and it is being catered by Carrabba's (included in the $20 ticket price).  Students donating work can attend for a reduced fee of $10 or if they want to skip the meal they can attend for free. If you have any questions you can email PTA President Debby Eisenson at drdebby727@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Media Art Honor Society: LitReactor's Sci-Fi Writing Challenge

Author Chuck Palahniuk's Lit Reactor is running a contest entitled Teleport Us and the sci-fi writing challenge is open to the public so all you would be novelist and screenwriters should take advantage of the opportunity! According to the Lit Reactor website the short story should be between 1,500 and 4,000 words, explore a utopian/dystopian theme, feature a technology that's scientifically plausible, and feature a non-human character. The submission and reviewing period begins Feb 1 and submissions close on Feb 28 with the top-rated stories will be selected on April 1.  This is a great opportunity to get your work read and be part of a community plus the Lit Reactor always

Monday, January 28, 2013

Semester 2: Welcome new students!

Welcome to the second semester for photography and media art students!  Today well be going over the basics of the class and some of our special projects such as working with MSG Varsity, Instagram, & The Japan Society's Going Global project featured in the video below.  Both classes require a digital data device such as an thumb drive or a SD card and media art students should also get a package of 100 3"x5" white index cards.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

AP Art: Etching with guest artist Dan Weldon

The AP Studio Art class recently welcomed guest artist and former Smithtown East teacher Dan Weldon to our class for a Solar Plate Etching workshop and above are some of the varied results from Clay, Devon, and Samantha.  Each student made their own unique etching using different techniques so the class learned a great deal about the process and the possibilities it offers artists.  Now that we have etching under our belts we'll be learning about some different techniques like monotypes, linocut, and serigraphy when we return from testing week.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bill Plympton's CHEATIN' Animated Feature Film

We looked at a number of Bill Plympton's short animated films in Media Art class this year and even had a chance to speak to director Alexia Anastasio who created the documentary on him Adventures in Plymptoons! but now Bill is at work on his new feature film and he's going to Kickstarter to raise funds so take a look!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Museum: Matisse at the Met

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The great French modernist painter Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was one of the titans of the 20th century leading the Fauves or “wild beasts”, befriending his former rival Picasso, and transforming his work into the very simplest, essential shapes and the “Matisse: In Search of True Painting” show currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art gives some wonderful insight into his work and development.  The New York Times art critic Roberta Smith praised the show because it is "one of the most thrillingly instructive exhibitions about this painter, or painting in general, that you may ever see" and I fully agree which is why I strongly recommend all of my students who are interested in painting see the show before it closes on March 17.  Matisse had a photographer come to the studio and take photographs of his paintings in process along with the models he was drawing from at points so getting to see the master at work step by step is really informative so don't miss out!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Media Arts: The End

Tomorrow is the last day of Media Arts class as well as the final exam which reflects all the things we've (hopefully) learned this semester.  Here's one last art attack from Soul Pancake in the fitting theme of mortality to celebrate the end of our time together!  Best of luck!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Studio Art: Art as Activism

Yesterday we watched two clips from the documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and today we will be writing a short 2-3 paragraph essay on the nature of art's relationship with politics and social issues.  We have discussed contemporary artists such as Banksy and Shepard Fairey recently who also work in this arena so write a short essay about one of the works and how it illustrates the issue.  Discuss whether or not the work succeeds in making a point and give evidence to your opinion either way.

Monday, January 14, 2013

AP Art: Artist Biographical Films

As the testing week approaches here's a list of a few terrific films on art and artists for inspiration that all happen to be available on Netflix streaming right now along with a few others below that aren't but are worth getting a hold of in helping to keep the creative juices flowing. 

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Director: Alison Klayman
This compelling documentary explores three years in the life of celebrated Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, who uses social media and his art to inspire protests against the state, and suffers government persecution for his actions.
Director: Banksy
Filmmaker Thierry Guetta's project to chronicle the underground world of street art takes a fascinating twist when he meets elusive stencil artist Banksy, who turns the project around to film Guetta while he reinvents himself as a street artist.
Director: Tamra Davis
Controversial, charismatic artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is the subject of this insightful documentary from director Tamra Davis, who has uncovered a never-before-seen interview with the artist conducted before his untimely death at the age of 27.
Director: Arne Glimcher
Director Arne Glimcher (The Mambo Kings) and narrator-producer Martin Scorsese present this art-filled documentary that explores the connection between cinema and the Cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Extraordinary film clips from Georges Méliès and others offer a cinephile's delight, as interviews with filmmakers, artists and historians, including Scorsese, Chuck Close, and Julian Schnabel, give insightful commentary.
  Director: Steven Soderbergh
Spalding Gray, known for his radically minimal solo shows staged on equally spare sets, is the focus of this unconventional documentary that compiles rare footage of what amounts to a posthumous monologue by the writer and actor.
Director: Heinz Bütler
Exploring the life and work of influential French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, this captivating documentary tells the story of a camera-shy photographer whose vision quietly shaped the emerging field of photojournalism. Focusing primarily on the artist's career from the 1940s to the '60s, the film features memorable images of Marilyn Monroe, Henri Matisse, the liberation of Paris and the death of Gandhi.

Director: Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, João Jardim
Renowned artist Vik Muniz embarks on one of the most inspired collaborations of his career, joining creative forces with Brazilian garbage pickers who mine treasure from the trash heaps of Rio de Janeiro's Jardim Gramacho landfill.

Director: Thomas Riedelsheimer
This astonishing documentary from Thomas Riedelsheimer shadows renowned sculptor Andy Goldsworthy as he creates works of art with ice, driftwood, leaves, stone, dirt and snow in open fields, beaches, rivers, creeks and forests. With each new creation, he carefully studies the energetic flow and transitory nature of his work. The film won the Golden Gate Award Grand Prize for Best Documentary at the 2003 San Francisco International Film Festival.
Director: Terry Zwigoff
Director Terry Zwigoff spent six years compiling this portrait of the underground cartoonist Robert Crumb, an animation cult hero whose characters Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural became counterculture icons. Candid interviews with Crumb's friends, family and the artist himself render a compelling profile of a tormented man who transcended a harrowing upbringing. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Director: Vanessa Gould
Filmmaker Vanessa Gould takes you on a provocative odyssey into the mesmerizing world of modern origami, where artists and scientists use the ancient art form to craft works of delicate beauty and to model cutting-edge mathematical theories. Pushing the envelope of origami to include caricatured portraits and elaborate abstract designs, these experts examine how paper folding can reveal the profound connection between art, science and philosophy.

Director: Sydney Pollack
In this intimate documentary, Sydney Pollack explores the signature style of architect Frank Gehry, whose famous works include the Fish in Barcelona, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and various residences. Pollack starts with Gehry's original sketches and follows their evolution from a 3D model to a computer-assisted rendition, on to construction and, finally, to the polished finished product.
Director: Gary Hustwit
We use it every day on our computers, we see it on street signs -- and we take it for granted. Now, Gary Hustwit's unique documentary introduces us to Helvetica, a font whose readability has made it the most popular font in the world.
Director: Julian Schnabel
Director Julian Schnabel's biopic won an Independent Spirit Award for its depiction of Jean-Michel Basquiat's meteoric rise in New York's art world, his anguish over his family, and his hatred of a society that both courted and exploited him. In 1981, Basquiat (Jeffrey Wright) was a 19-year-old graffiti artist living on the streets. Eight years later, he was a world-renowned painter -- and the tragic victim of his own addiction.
Director: Nathaniel Kahn
Documentarian Nathaniel Kahn examines the life and career of his father, architect Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974), whose work included the Salk Institute and the Parliament and Capitol Buildings in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Among other surprising facts, the Oscar-nominated film reveals that the elder Kahn died of a heart attack in a Penn Station bathroom, unidentified and broke despite having been one of the century's most influential visionaries.
 Also worth checking out:


Friday, January 11, 2013

Media Art: Animation

In Media Arts class we have been drawing our 50 page animation and today the 50 drawn pages are due (40 pages of your story and 10 pages which morph your story into your classmates).  After the 50 pages are complete each student needs to scan their index cards (3 at a times is most efficient and make sure to remember to save them to your H drive in a folder) and the use Photoshop to clean up any errors and adjust the brightness, contrast, and levels (all which are found under IMAGE - Adjustments) then crop each image separately and name them alphabetically (a1 a2 a3, ect.)  After your frames are all separated and ready they can be animated in Windows Movie Maker (as well as iMovie and other similar programs).

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Art Honor Society: PTA's Art Auction

The Art and Media Art Honor Society will be donating artwork to the Smithtown East PTSA for their upcoming art auction which will take place in the commons on February 1 and will be catered by Carrabba’s, which is included in the $15 ticket price.  The previews begin at 6 pm and the auction is from 7-9:30 pm.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Guest Speaker: Dan Welden

This morning we are welcoming guest artist Dan Welden to our class for a special workshop on solar plate etching.  Dan has been working in printmaking for over 40 years authoring books and films on the subject such as Printmaking In The Sun and participating in countless shows around the world.  He has also worked with a number of well known artists that we've discussed in class ranging from: Robert Dash, Willem de Kooning, Dan Flavin, Esteban Vicente, Kurt Vonnegut, Alfonso Ossorio, Jane Freilicher, David Salle, and Eric Fischl. The workshop runs period 2-5 so make sure your prepared with the drawing that you are going to use, it should be fun!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Extra Credit: MSG Varsity

With just 8 days left of the semester we have one last extra credit assignment for our Smithtown East  MSG Varsity page.  This assignment is in the theme of school spirit- create a gallery of 10 images of your new photos of any school sport, sporting event, school event, club, or school theme and hand them in digitally by next Wednesday January 16th for extra credit.  The images will be uploaded to our MSG Varsity page and viewable online next week!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Media Art: Time to Animate

Today we begin our final hand drawn animation project and above is a short tutorial on the basics (and remember it is more basic then what we are doing).  This week each student should complete 10 frames per day drawn in pencil which will then be inked in marker and by Friday we will have our 50 page animated flipbook complete and ready for digitizing! Below is a great example of a finished example.

Friday, January 4, 2013

AP Art: Etching

Next week we will welcome guest Dan Weldon into class for a solar plate etching workshop so in advance of his visit we will be creating small 5"x7" drawings to potential use with the process.  Traditionally etching often looks something like the image above "Abraham's sacrifice" from Rembrandt but the process was adopted by some abstract artists thanks to its ability to produce unexpected results as well as some photographers thanks to technological advancements.  Students should produce a work due Tuesday in order to create a solar plate etching during our in-school field trip on Wednesday.  Below is a short video showing Dan Weldon's recent workshop in Florence to give you an idea of what to expect from the process, it should be fun.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Media Art: Short Animation

This week in media arts class we will be creating a short black and white hand drawn animation and we'll begin by looking at Simon Tofield's short animations entitled Simon's Cat which are both simple and funny.  They were drawn in much the same style we'll be working in and when creating your own characters and below is an example of Simon drawing the character- look at the simplicity of Simon's Cat, it has all the trademarks of a cat but it something that is very easy to draw repeatedly (the frames are hand-animated in a traditional manner, frame to frame, it usually takes between 12 and 25 drawings to create 1 second of a Simon’s Cat film).  Today you'll begin sketching out ideas for your own character and tomorrow well begin assembling storyboards and character sheets in order to complete the 50 frame animation for Friday next week.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Studio Art: Picture Books

The world of Children's_literature has evolved a great deal even in modern times as demonstrated by example such as: the webstory Inanimate Alice, The book and Flash game Bembo's Zoo, the video above for The Heart and The Bottle and this week we will create our own short children's picture book for the illustration unit of class. Think about what your favorite stories were as a child (take a look at this list of The 50 Best Book for Kids for a refresher) and think about what they had in common and soon well be sketching out your own ideas.  Well begin by working on a classic ourselves "The Farmer and the Dell" and then everyone will develop their own short story with illustrations.

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