Friday, January 18, 2013

Empty Bowls

     Yes, we are at that time of year for empty bowls! Empty Bowls is a dinner that is held at Haddon Township High School. Pasta and soup are served in the bowls which anyone can buy. It is a charity event that benefits the Food Bank of South Jersey. As an art class we make dozens of bowls that are auctioned and sold off for money that will be donated to the Food Bank. If you didn't already know, the Food Bank helps people who can't afford to buy food for themselves and thier family. It's a great cause so please come and support! February 9! 
     Making the bowls is the fun part. I love clay, I think it is so much fun to play with and you can create pieces that you can use forever. The process of making bowls is a bit tedious. You first have to roll out a slab of clay so that it the right thickness for your bowl. Thankfully the form of the bowl is already made so we just have to lay our slab of clay onto it. Rolling this clay isn't a walk in the park though, it takes muscle. Once you have your slab of clay onto the form you can cut the excess off. You then take your bowl to a heat gun which will dry the clay so that it is easy to pop off the form. This is where you can get creative. You can shape your bowl or put a design on it. Once your bowl is finished off the to kiln it goes. I have a link to what a kiln is on my blog post from last year, but pretty much it is a huge oven. When the bowls have been fired it's time to glaze. This part is exciting. You can choose what color glaze you want and most of the bowls that turn out eccentric are the colors of glaze mixed together. It amazes me how glaze can be so beautiful because in the bottle it comes in it really isn't all that exciting. This year I wanted to experiment with colors. I didn't make any of my own, but i did chose colors from the array of textiles. When your done glazing the bowl then goes back into the kiln and you wait to see the outcome. The bowls this year turned out spectacular. I personally want to buy a few.
    The next time we will be working with clay will be our tea sets which I am stoked about. I enjoyed making the place setting last year. This year we will be basing our tea sets on the artist we choose to research. I chose to research Keith Haring, here is a link to the blog post where I wrote about him: Keith Haring. I will keep you updated!

Blind Contour

     An assignment that I thought was extremely fun was our blind contour drawings. This method required you to essentially become blind. You would look at yourself in a mirror and draw what you saw on a piece of paper. You were not allowed to look down at the drawing or pick up your pencil to "re-adjust." The drawings were quite amusing and silly. It was interesting to see what my brain told my hands to draw. I did get some drawings that weren't horrible. I seemed to draw my shirt the most accurate. My face was another story, but after more practice it started looking human! I would always start with my hair and work my way down. When I got more comfortable I started to add more detailed features like pupils, earrings, and my necklace. Once I thought I had the "flow" down I began my good copy. The first face wasn't too bad so I decided to add a couple of little ones hear and there. I attempted to draw myself smiling, but that ended up looking like some sort of mad demon, it was entertaining though. After the drawing was done I started to work on my "I am" statements. These were statements that would describe yourself. The first were easy... "My name is Noa," "I am 15 years old," but they started to get a bit harder. Such as, "I will" "I want" "I dream" and more. I didn't just want to give simple answers because that wouldn't express who I am. It took some time to think up meaningful answers, but I figured it out. Now all I have to do is write these statement onto my picture and add some color. I will probably spice it up a bit to make it truly my own. I will post a picture with the finished product, but for now here's a picture of it in the making. 

This Little Light of Mine

     For the second marking period one of the assignments was to make a paper lantern that was inspired by a season. I took these instructions and shook them up a little. Instead of choosing a season I decided to portray a tree that was going through different seasons. My tree started out with an abundance of leaves then it started to loose its leaves and finally it was a tree with its bare branches. This idea of mine didn't come immediately. At first I was going to do the season of fall and have a tree loosing its leaves. I did eventually incorporate this idea into the final creation, but it did take some thinking. The actual creating part took some practice as well. Knowing how to use an X-Acto knife is key to making a paper lantern. Luckily for me I had this skill already locked down! My dad is an architect so he designs layouts for museums, sculptures, etc. and when I was little I would always want to cut with the x-acto knife, usually it was just a straight line, but I felt grown up using such a fancy tool. Eventually I got really good at cutting straight lines so my dad let me move on to curvy ones. I used an x-acto knife for all my school projects that required cutting, it just made everything look so clean. So for this project I didn't break a sweat when using the x-acto knife! The difficult part for me was figuring out how much to cut and where. It was hard to picture the negative space and what parts the candle light would shine through. Another problem I was running into was cutting too much, but Ms. Kiick let us practice before cutting on the final paper which was a life saver. 
     When I did figure out what to cut and what not to cut, I figured out not to cut anything out, just cut lines and then strategically connect the cuts I did want to have out. I finally found something that I liked. I cut my trees so that the branches were somewhat sculptural. Instead of cutting out my whole tree, which would show way too much light, I cut the trunk as two slits and the tree branches, but left them connected to the trunk. The end result was surprising in a good way. When putting my lantern around the candle is was so mesmerizing  The way the light flickered within the walls of my lantern was beautiful. I hope to make a lantern again, but next time I will include more intricate cuts. 

Picture of my lantern

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pop Art at its Finest

     Keith Allen Haring was born May 4, 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania. He was an artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s. His expression of concepts such as birth, death, sex, and war became recognized immensely as the visual language of the 20th century.
     Haring grew up in Kultztown with his mother, Joan Haring, and his father, Allen Haring, who was a cartoonist, and his three younger sisters, Kay, Karen, and Kirsten. Haring was interested in art from an early age. From 1976 to 1978 he studied commercial art, which is art created for commercial purposes, at The Ivy School of Professional Art which was located in Pittsburgh. Shortly after he lost interest in commercial art and moved on to study fine art, which is art that is developed primarily for aesthetics or a concept. At 19, he moved to New York City where he was inspired by graffiti art and studies at the School of Visual Arts. 
     Haring achieved his first public attention with chalk drawings in the subways of New York. These pieces were his first recognized pieces of pop art. Around this time, "The Radiant Baby" became his symbol. This symbol carries a strong message about life and unity. In 1980, he organized exhibitions in Club 57, which was nightclub located at 57 St. Mark's Place in the East Village, NYC. It was a hangout and venue for performances, musicians, and visual artists. His first drawings of animals and human faces was his participation in the Times Square Exhibition. During this same year, he photocopied and pasted around the city provocative collages made from cut-up and recombined New York Post headlines. In 1981 he sketched his first chalk drawings on black paper, painted plastic, metal, and objects that he found. 

One of his many chalk drawings

"The Radiant Baby"

     Haring created more than 50 publics works between 1982 and 1989 in dozens of cities around the world. His famous "Crack is Wack" mural, created in 1986, has become a landmark on New York's FDR Drive. He got know Andy Warhol, who was the theme of several of Haring's pieces including "Andy Mouse." I found this fact interesting because last year I wrote my artist research post on Andy Warhol. I guess I am into their type of artwork which is quirky and fun. 
   Haring visited Australia and painted murals in Melbourne and Sydney which he was compensated for. He also visited and painted in Rio de Janeiro, the Paris Museum of Modern Art, Minneapolis and Manhattan. This started his international breakthrough. In 1985 he started to paint canvas and in 1986 he painted murals in Amsterdam, Paris, Phoenix and Berlin on the Berlin Wall. Later, he opened a retail store in SoHo called Pop shop, selling merchandise revealing his iconic images. 
   With the arrival of Pop Shop, his work began reflecting more socio-political themes, such as anti-Apartheid, which was system of racial segregation, AIDS awareness, and the crack cocaine epidemic. Haring was openly gay and was a strong supporter of safe sex; however in 1988, he was diagnosed with AIDS. He established the Keith Haring Foundation in 1989, its authority being to provide funding and imagery to AIDS organizations and children's programs and to expand the audience of his work. During the last years of his life Haring created most of his imagery to speak about his illness and generate activism and awareness about AIDS. In June, on the rear wall of the convent of the Church of Sant'Antonio in Pisa, Italy, he painted the last public work of his life, the mural "Tuttomondo" translation: "all-world."
     Keith Haring died February 16, 1990 of AIDS-related complications. As a celebration of his life, Madonna declared the first New York date of her Blond Ambition World Tour, a benefit concert for Haring's memory, and donated all proceeds from her ticket sales to AIDS charities. Additionally, Haring's work was featured in several of Red Hot Organization's, who's motto is "Fighting AIDS Trhough Pop Culture, efforts to raise money for AIDS and AIDS awareness

     Honestly I chose to do this artist based on a picture that was included in my art teacher, Ms. Kiick's slideshow. Now that I have done the research I really admire Keith Haring. I love his way of expressing serious topics by using his fun pop art that makes the work seem less like a lecture. I also realized that I have a magnet of one of Keith's works. I got it from the MoMA a couple of years ago. I saw some of his works there and didn't even realize it was the same Keith Haring I chose to research today! 
     Keith wasn't afraid to let people know how he felt on the issue of AIDS, which was a huge part of his life, this made me like his so much more as a person knowing that art wasn't just a job for him, but a passion.

Here are a couple pictures of Haring's artwork that make me look twice....

     I like the first piece (top) because it represents his feelings about AIDS. He was very brave to stand up for what he believes in. I did see this piece in the MoMA and I wish that i took more time to look at it, I now have an excuse to go back! The second piece (middle) is the one that I have on my refrigerator in magnet form. It's a heartfelt piece of pun intended and the last piece is one that I wish I had in my room. You can tell Haring had fun creating this one. It was used as cover art for the Red Hot + Dance AIDS benefit organized by Red Hot Organization's. Overall, I am fond of the way Haring can make a piece look so simple, but effortless.