Kindergarten transforms photography to create expressive self-portraits

The kindergarteners have experienced creating many different types of self-portraits this year — drawing, painting, collage, sculpture — and recently we added photography to our palette of media. After talking about expression and the expressing of feelings with bodies and facial expressions, the students each had his/her photo taken with a particular expression on his/her face.

Once printed, each student transformed the photograph into a work of art expressing that feeling with colors and lines and shapes. Using oil pastels and having discussed various ways — better and worse — to apply the the pastel colors, the students were given total independence in how they developed these new self-portraits.

After completing the pictures, the students mounted them on the back of their (very different) collaged self-portraits which they created back in semester 1. These new, double-sided self-portraits are now on view in the K-1 building kindergarten hallway… come see!

Here are the students at work:

5th Graders express beliefs via self-portraiture (and graffiti)

In their homeroom classes, the 5th graders have been addressing the central idea that “there are many ways to create peaceful solutions to conflict” by looking at how each student manages situations of conflict and interpersonal problems. And so in art class, we are taking this opportunity to create self-portraits that express each person’s understanding or belief about this theme.

Students are incorporating both drawing (pencil) and collage (magazines primarily) to represent their own faces and to communicate their particular belief or understanding about peace and conflict resolution. The students are also required to use text (words or sentences) in addition to imagery in their picture. Previously, students were instructed in ways of observing themselves in mirrors and depicting their faces by drawing, although the amount and type of drawing in this project is entirely up to each student.

Additionally, as some students have shown an interest in graffiti (see one of the videos we watched below), we have begun a 1×2 meter collaborative graffiti drawing. On a large paper on the wall, students take turns drawing for 5 minutes each with a black marker. The guidelines are: 1. draw locally 2. draw what you know 3. do not deface others’ art 4. no stick figures.

See the students at work here on both the self-portraits and the graffiti drawing:

Graffiti video of artist team “Mulheres Barbadas” (the Bearded Ladies):

MB @ Nova SP – MIS / SP from Mulheres Barbadas on Vimeo.

4th & 5th ESA artists on the verge of painting their first mural!

After weeks of brainstorming, research, surveying students, drawing, and cutting, the Young Artists Group is on the verge of painting their new mural on the side of the Inge Building. This past week, the six girls composed their life-size stencils of the bodies on the wall and carefully traced them on the bricks with permanent markers, in preparation for painting them next week. These young artists are getting excited about finally painting their mural (and now realizing why it took so long to get to this point!).

4th Graders begin a fictional campaign poster

The 4th graders created campaigns in their homeroom classes. The central idea was: “The media can influence thinking and behavior.” Now, in art class, each student is assuming a fictional identity (someone other than their actual selves; could be a real person, a book or movie character, a cartoon character, or a creature or animal) as the starting point of their new project.

Then each student attempts to see what it would be like to be a student at Y.I.S. as this fictional character and to determine: What would I campaign for at this school — what would I want to change — to make my experience better at Y.I.S.? Next, the students are challenged to create campaign posters to communicate their ideas to others, via images and text (pictures and words). The example presented by Mr. Reed is Bugs Bunny: if Bugs Bunny were a student at YIS, Mr. Reed thought, he would certainly want there to be more carrots in the cafeteria. And so Mr. Reed’s development of his campaign poster follows suit.

Students are being guided through a basic approach to design known as C.U.B. (Contrast, Unity, Balance) — focused on three design principles which help to make for the effective visual presentation of an idea.

See the students at work on the current stage of their projects here:

Yamate Art Exhibition 2012-13: E.S. art students on display!

The Yamate Art Exhibition is on!

A number of our elementary school art students have their artwork exhibited now in the annual Yamate Art Show: February 15 – 26 at Bluff No. 111 (Yamanote Ichibankan 111, tel. 045-623-2957) from 9:30-17:00 daily, 9:30-12:00 on Feb 26.

This art show is part of the Yokohama Yamate Art Festival and includes the artwork of students from several schools in the Yamate area, on view in other galleries located at: Bluff No. 234, Berrick Hall (St. Maur), Bluff No. 18, Diplomat’s House, and Osaragi Jiro Memorial Museum.

Do come visit the Y.I.S. student gallery at Bluff No. 111 and see the energy, efforts, and two- & three-dimensional creativity of our Kindergarten through Grade 5 artists! If you can’t, see the images below for a sampling of what you’re missing!

The Young Artists Group and the new Y.I.S. mural

The girls of the Young Artists Group ESA — Grace, Wonkyung, Meg, Lente, Yein, and Wenyu — have been hard at work for several weeks preparing to paint the new mural which will begin to appear soon on the side of the Inge Building.

The mural will depict some of the most common outside-of-class activies among YIS students: the things students do before school, during recess, break, lunchtime, and after school. The six girls observed and surveyed a number of young people from elementary, middle, and high school so as to determine exactly what it is that our students do when not in class.

Most of the images that girls selected and created have been transformed into life-size paper stencils which will allow the girls to transfer their design to the brick wall. Soon, after tracing the body shapes onto the bricks, they will begin painting them. And slowly you will see appear some “shadows” on the side of the Inge Building — be on the lookout for them!

5th Graders focus on self-portraiture and observation

Having completed their Impressionism-inspired paintings before the winter holidays, the fifth graders have been spending some time focused intensely on themselves — in a very artistic manner, that is.

In preparation for their next project (a self-portrait drawing & collage piece on the theme of Peace and Conflict Resolution), the students have been warming up by doing some drawing focused on getting them to learn to look closely. Keen observation is one of the keys to drawing-what-you-see, and so the 5th graders spent some time doing blind contour drawings of themselves, of each other, and of their teacher. This activity challenges a person to draw while looking only at the subject, not at the paper, training the eyes to look closely at contours (edges) while the hand learns to follow along with the gaze. Later, the students did some modified blind contour drawings and then began doing some self-portrait practice which aimed to help them locate the features of their face both in the correct place and in proportion to one another.

Here is the video the students watched to learn about how to create their blind contour drawings:

Here is the video that showed the students how to modify the above method to create a more realistic self-portrait from observation: