Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Projecting Art

The boys started Sixth Grade a week ago so I can think of no better post for today than showing you the majority of the art projects they did last year, yeah, in fifth...

(You might remember, I took the summer off.)

Now, I can't say that Warhol would be the first place to start in an Art class.  His iconoclasm requires a broad knowledge of both what came before him and the incredibly strange zeitgeist of the era from whence he sprung.

But, hey, it's a soup can and that's silly:

Z went with Zack's Mystery Soup - no surprise there.  It says right on the label "It's a Surprise in every can.™"  Yep, he added a trademark.

Nick went with Dragon Soup.  I heard it tastes like rattlesnake.  I'm pleased he spelled everything correctly and... wait.  That says "Peebles's" right there at the top.  Possessives are hard.  I like the handwritten font, he makes the lower case "b" like I do, not using the silly bridge thing they teach but a sensible round bottom that looks like the letter.

They moved on from that to the "Crushed Can Project."  As I recall, they were to 'anthropomorphize', their word, a smashed pop (that's soft drink in Ohioese) can.  They used other found and re-purposed materials.  On the left is Zack's lion, majestic and all, surrounded in stars as lions often are.  Nick's is a sloth wearing a panda shirt on a branch, or maybe a crazed ear-less orangutan.  An otter?  (Nick, Dude, I'm sorry, I forgot to ask, hopefully you'll remember.)

Here's a classic.  The string spiraled around other string - all different and emphatically arbitrary colors, it's important to note - on a painted paper plate - again, the colors don't seem to matter.  You probably made one long ago, it's in the curricula with the stretchy string potholders, you remember, the ones that melt and burn when you hold a hot pot?  Let's call them "Stringies..."

Hold on.  Are those the same one?  No one's blue on the outer ring and the other one is brown, right?  Wait.  Is that mine, or yours?  Truth is, it could be anyone's.  (Possessives are hard.)

Let's move on.

This one baffled me initially.  It was like the last two days of school when all this stuff came home and I just put it aside and, well, took the summer off.  I remembered they talked about Impressionism and I think this was to illustrate pointillism.  They painted butterflies on muslin over a piece of rough (80-grit for the art historians) sandpaper to mimic the affect, I think...

Zack's is one of the two and Nick's is the other.

Zack made this groovy Seventies poster, they were heavy on the affirmations.

Meanwhile, Nick was busy making a "Mix Tape."

(Actually, apologies to Nick, I can't seem to find his groovy Seventies affirmation poster.  I remember seeing it, but I think he brought it home mid-year and now I can't find it.  I pretty sure it said "Sensitive, Kind, Loving, Strong" and, of course, "Awesome.")

These two owls made it into the Spring Art Show, which I think we missed because of a sporting event, or Skyline, probably Skyline.  Actually, as I recall, they didn't really want to go.  I don't know why... I may have then.

I think this year's pieces de resistance are the two clay fishes, painted and fired, the whole thing.  This project replaces the ashtray project I did.  Thirty years ago I'd've loved these as ashtrays, truth be told.  Good conversation starters and all.  Man, it's funny how time changes everything and yet, stuff stays the same.

Zack's has a baby fish in its mouth.  (Hey, boys, I've still got them, whenever you're reading this.  They're on top of the bookshelf in your room, have been for years now.  Don't mind the dust.)

I reckon I might have a point here at the end.  Boy I'd like to...

Listen, I should've probably done this piece when the stories were all fresh.  But, in a way, what's interesting is that I am approaching these today much as they might in a few decades.  What might they think of them then.

Perhaps, they'll think, "Man, that sandpaper thing was stupid."

Or, "I remember being really proud of that soup can thing."

Or, maybe, "I remember how proud and impressed Dad was with the fish sculptures."

"Why didn't we go to the Art Show?"

Beyond that, they might be reminded of what a great school system they went to, reminded of dear teachers and old friends; see what opportunity and understanding studying art and Music afforded them.

I imagine them at a distant reunion talking about Mrs. So-and-So, the Art Teacher, and one of the boys pulling up this blog on whatever device there is by then and, misty eyed and wistful, scrolling through these projects and knowing that once life was good and they were very much loved, honored and cherished.

I know I've sort of promised to get away from this sort of post, ones showcasing the stuff they do here, now, at school.  I mentioned I might do this piece and they didn't have a problem with it.  In fact Nick said:  "Oh, yeah, it would be really cool to see those someday when we are all grown up."

Well, here they are boys, but, I'll bet you don't feel all grown up... you never will, but, that's a secret for another time.

Peace, as always, thanks for looking at these, I appreciate you spending the time with me.

Update Sept. 8, 2016

I rarely change or add to or alter a post after I've finished it.  I truly think that creative work must finish, reach a state of completion.  For instance, I've shared here some lame poetry I wrote in the eighties, there were a couple of poems that had some promise and I was tempted to revise them.  I realized that that would mean I hadn't trusted myself, or believed in myself when I originally wrote them - which I did, very much.  I've also written songs and, as I play them today, so many years later, I often think of a better line or a way to change the melody or something.  I don't.  I already finished them.

Sure, around here, I fix glaring typos - of which there are many - and tense stuff, but I never change the gist of the thing.  Today I might.

You see, I forgot the end of this piece, the final image.  Here it is:

The boys both finished the year with high honors, all A's I guess you'd say.  (I threw the awards down there so they'd remember them later, they were proud of those, but they aren't really on point.)  I wanted to say something clever about how all these art projects added to the stellar education they are being afforded, or something like that...

I thought of something else though.  Just as they worked hard and made the best of the opportunity in their Art class they did the same in their academic work as well.  That's a horrible sentence but I can't seem to fix it.

Nick and Zack are seizing their shot at this.  Seeing the importance and working hard in Art and music, coupled with the scholastic work they do in math and science, social studies and language arts, gives them a hand up on the difficult trail before them.  A good song, a heartfelt story, a desperately sad painting, a beautiful new film version of "The Little Prince," all serve us just as importantly, just as nobly, just as essentially, as algebraic theorems, basic chemistry, geography, even history.

Yeah, maybe I just shoulda left it as it was...

I'm gonna tell you the truth here.  When I initially designed and worked through this piece, I had every intention of framing it around one thought.

Lets put an A in STEM curriculum and call it STEAM instead.

I decided not to, mostly because it didn't serve the memory I wanted to put down here, didn't honor the material.


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