Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Art

I believe that every person needs some form of artistic expression to be a complete human being. It doesn't matter if you blog, or paint, or sing, or build models or draw - everything is a unique expression of who you are.

Years before I started blogging I was creating these collages. As an excuse to do one of these for myself, I would have each of my students in all my classes create what I called an IDENTITY POSTER. You can clearly see how my collages relate to my blogging style. Lots of disparate elements coming together as an expression of who I am and what I think is cool.

The instructions for their posters was simple. You were to look through magazines to find images that you thought were interesting or cool. It could be that you like a particular celebrity or a certain food or a cool piece of design or a funny image. The only rules where that each piece of the collage was something that appealed to you in some way. You had to collect enough images so that no white space was showing on your collage. You could add pictures of your pets or friends or family if you liked.

You could not, however put any references to drugs or alcohol or smoking. I figured those business already have enough free advertising.

You could post boys without shirts but not girls without shirts. I don't make the rules, that is just the way it is in the world. I would remind them that there are GOOD Pamela Anderson pictures and BAD Pamela Anderson pictures (as an example). If they weren't sure what was or was not appropriate they had to clear it through me. If I found something objectionable in their collages I had lots of goofy stickers to put over them if they didn't make the changes themselves.

It's a huge project. You would think kids would balk at so much work but they never did. The more images they collected the more they wanted to collect. Everyone wanted to do their best job because the project represented them and who they were. What human doesn't want to scream at the world and tell them how unique they are?

The hardest thing was resisting the urge to start gluing cropped images to your poster before you had found enough material. Those who rushed it found that they were looking for images that not only they liked but were the right size to plug any holes. Not any old image would do.

And these posters were unique. No two alike. Absolutely original works of art. I treated them as such and would not tolerate anyone messing with anyone else's work.

In all the years I taught, not ONE kid would let me keep their poster to show the next group of kids an example of what I wanted. I had to use my own to show them what a finished product would look like.

Regardless of what images you chose, the randomness of the pieces always came together at the end.

The coolest thing about the whole production was the reactions students had to each other's work. The kid someone may have thought was a geek the day before becomes someone who you share something with. If that kid liked Star Trek or Pokemon as much as I did, then maybe he is not such a bad guy after all was the thinking.

In addition I got to learn more about the students and gain valuable insight to their likes which made reaching them and communicating with them so much easier.

It may have taken months to finish and get laminated but after the initial burst, it was the perfect activity for when kids finished their work and needed something to do with the extra class time.

I have about 20 of my own in various states of completion and I collect magazines so that I have a wide variety of sources for images.

Click to enlarge these images.

7 comments: said...

That is an awesome assignment, and your collages are amazing. I love collaging too, but the ones I've done are not nearly as intricate. I'm very impressed! Please keep posting your work, Cal.

Jerry said...

Crazy collection of collages Cal!

Sam G said...

You sound like an awesome teacher. I loved these type of assignments.

Anonymous said...

awesome, you should post them all i think

Wings1295 said...

Awesome stuff, you should post one at a time for more detail.

Drake said...

What a cool idea, wonderful works of art.
You had to be the coolest teacher.

D.I. Felipe González said...

I agree with Sam, you are a great teacher.
I recognized a few of the pictures you used: King Tut's mask and Comrade Gagaring, among others.