Tag Archives: sculpture

Pigs for Sale

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You may have noticed the development of pig sculptures – I’ve had them on the counter as background in my #ootd pictures.  The project had a couple of components.  Students created armature with paper towels, masking tape, aluminum foil and a recycled bottle of juice or iced coffee (I have tons!).  The sculptures were engulfed in Pariscraft then painted.  Once they were done, the artists took their pigs to a secret location somewhere in the school and using their I-Pads, photographed them in a composition.  It was a really fun project.

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My Facebook friends inquired if the sculptures would be auctioned off.  I mentioned that to the students and a few got the professional artist bug, lol.  So, some of the pigs are for sale.  Proceeds will teach students a valuable lesson about their time and effort.  All pigs are priced at $50 each.

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These eight pigs are available.  Artwork can be collected at Chittenango Middle School.  Email me at ktashkovski@chittenangoschools.org to make arrangements to purchase.  All proceeds will go to the budding artists.

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Army of Thieves

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According to the literature for this exhibit of sculptures by Vanessa German, “when assembled together, these power figures resemble an army of women on the march”.  German creates them from a plethora of found objects.  The mannequin parts are plastered and tarred then assembled and dressed via wiring, sewing and gluing the objects in place, adding jewelry and dress that evokes some form of armor.

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They become modern soldiers lined up in effect, like those terra-cotta figurines found at the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang in China.  It is incredibly breathtaking and powerful to witness.  The work is in the Sculpture Court and in the Wampler and Robineau Galleries on the first floor of the Everson Museum of Art (400 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York).

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Tonight was the art reception for this exhibit titled de.structive dis.tillation (a nod to the chemical construction of tar), as well as for the Bradley Walker Tomlin retrospective.  I will be attending an in-service for teachers in March that focuses on the latter.  I titled this post Army of Thieves because the German sculptures stole the show, which is totally ironic in that the upstairs galleries are full of local artists work and that has ALWAYS been my dream for the Everson, lol, and includes my colleagues and former S.U. professors in its mix.  Vanessa German is a product of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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German’s dolls are meant to tell the story of/create a dialogue about the social injustices of the African-American experience.  It’s to do with destructing in order to construct.  Rebuilding a world and giving voice to a type of commitment to peace, joy and love in spite of challenges.  The result is the whimsical and harmonious sound of texture, a cultural heritage-based beauty and personification that has the potential to resonate for everyone in our community.

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It is the flavor of intense joy.  There is so much to see here!  Flea market finds that take your breath away.  Attention to detail with regard to fabric and fibers.  The sculptures are skateboarding and riding tricycles, standing on soap boxes and rejoicing as they stand for one’s tears and for the healing hope of a better future.

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You need to see them!  I really ought to plan a field trip for my Studio in Art students.  We just finished creating sculpture/mobiles of paratroopers using plaster, found objects and humanoid forms, so, this would be right up their alley.

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The exhibit continues through May 7, 2017.  The Everson is planning a day camp for students during the week of Mid-Winter recess (that starts a week from today).  Go to their web-site for more information or call them at (315) 474-6064.  They will also be doing a Saturday workshop for children, and in addition, several events such as family day and docent led tours of the exhibitions. ❤

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Going Greek

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This was a fun lesson – another one of my inventions:  Greek urns.  They are made of Pariscraft, not clay.  We used the plastic water bowls as molds, so it was a stagger start since I don’t have very many of them.

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Students placed 4 layers of plaster of Paris on the bowl.  In the following class, they were in a déja vu re-run because we needed two bowl molds for the armature.  Next, they added plastic cups (from Subway, Wendy’s, and various cottage cheese varieties).  I cut the hole at the bottom of the top cup and at the top of one of the plaster bowls.  They added plaster to the separate pieces then taped the bowls together with masking tape and went back to the plaster station to complete the step.  (Aluminum foil for the handles.)

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This was followed by painting the urn one solid color and then applying Greek patterns – and more color.

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They are stunning.  I love them!  Really substantial two and three feet sculptures.  I want them to write a note to their future selves and store it inside the vessels.  I am always thinking about my thirteen-year-old self.  Is she proud of who I have become? (I know she is!)  The note would serve as an artifact, the way Ancient Greek urns found in an archeological dig teach us about the culture that once was.  So fun!

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Combo Lesson

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Studio in Art is one of those jack-of-all-trades courses.  I cover drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics and technology.  I teach still life, landscape, portrait and abstract concepts as well, so it is a little bit of everything.

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Every so often I do this sculpture/installation/photography project based on the work of American artist Sandy Skoglund.  I love how this lesson has so many concepts all rolled into one.

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First, students create the armature then plaster and paint a rat sculpture.  I’ve always done it with rats because they can be simplified and look both uniform and unique – usually students create a tail that makes their rat easy to identify in a “police line-up” of rats, lol.

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I usually give students a small Gatorade bottle then show them how to add newspaper or paper towels and masking tape to shape the armature, adding tagboard for ears and aluminum foil for the tail. This year I drank a bunch of Simply Orange and Simply Cranberry and we used those bottles to make giant-sized rodents.

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I have fourteen students in class.  They painted the rats gold – there were three hues from which to choose.  Every time I do this lesson the rats are a different color.  We’ve done them in red, blue, yellow and green, so I thought the gold ones would look fun.  Plus, I just bought more metallic paint.  It is Sargent’s metallic acrylic. Love it!

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Next, we take a tour of the school to spot areas that we travel everyday – to make the invisible visible.  We look through viewfinders made out of index cards to see the space from a number of different angles.  There are some wonderful bits of architecture in our school that make for great photographic landscapes!

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I have the students create storyboards – just a sketch of what they want to do for their photograph and I give them a hand-out with some questions to help them solve the riddle of this project.  For example, what emotion will they convey?  Will it be funny?  A depiction of social injustice?  Romantic?  Who will be in it?  What will they do?  What will they wear?

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In addition, we talk about POV – will the camera be at eye level or above eye level (w/ photographer standing on a ladder or standing at the top of the stairs looking down) or will it be at rat level?  And is it an active or passive photograph?  Is the viewer directed to what the people are doing or what the rats are doing?  Or is the viewer looking at what the people are looking at?

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You see, there are a lot of options and a lot to think about.  Sandy Skoglund’s models wear the same color to create rhythm and harmony.  Successful images would be ones where the photographer coordinated their models to do the same.

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I assigned the dates for their photographs, which were taken during class or after school if they wanted to take the shot upstairs (no one did this year). The rats were housed on carts that they rolled out to the installation area.  They did this unsupervised (I know!  Can you believe it?  I am actually letting go of my inner control freak!  It’s a slow process but it is happening!).  I gave them the camera and they came back with the rats and several shots. They told me which one they wanted and I printed them.

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While this was going on, the rest of the class worked on a wood sculpture lesson based on the work of Marisol Escobar.

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All of the photographs are on display in the school hallway.  In addition to seeing great art, the fun of it is to view and search for their rat – is it a star or a supporting player? And of course, it is fun when they see themselves as models in their friends’ pictures.

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Artwork is assessed as follows – how closely it resembles the storyboard vision, composition, which includes how well they have utilized foreground, middle ground and background concepts, and if characteristics of the work resemble Sandy Skoglund’s.  The rats were assessed separately (armature, plaster application, paint application).

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Yeah – this lesson encompasses so much, I think.  They must create a sculpture then create an image with a point of view, make that image come to life…and there is a lot of freedom, and yet, there is also tremendous responsibility.  So many of the images were nearly spot on from the original storyboards!  It was a really amazing experience this year – for my eighth graders and for me.

 

Field Tripping

On Friday, I took my Studio in Art students on a field trip to three locations.  It was a tight schedule that we stuck to like organized folk and not the fickle dreamers people imagine we are.

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The first stop was the Community Folk Art Gallery on Genesee St. in Syracuse, NY, where we toured the facility – we saw student art studios where high school portfolios are prepared for Scholastic Art awards and where kids get the benefit of learning from some of the premiere artists living locally, like ceramist David McDonald.  There was also a dance studio, a black-out performance room and in the gallery space, the magnificent photo collage/assemblage pieces by Najee Dorsey, who gave a talk the night before and was supposed to be at the gallery that day but we couldn’t stay.

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I didn’t want to leave, to tell you the truth.  I would have LOVED to have met him. The narratives within these works told stories of pain and triumph, and were saturated with incredible pink hues that left you, really, in awe of his mastery of the media.  I am always amazed by the passion a self-taught artist brings to the table.  It is a fearlessness mixed with passion.

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We learned that the story of the Lone Ranger was based on an African slave who escaped imprisonment, befriended American Indians and later become a Sheriff.  And that another woman, who is still alive today, paralleled Rosa Parks’ infamy with another back-to-front-of-the-bus challenge as a fifteen-year-old girl, to help change the injustices of the laws in the South.

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Next we moved to the James Rosenquist show and the private holdings of the Syracuse University Art Gallery at Shafffer Hall on SU campus, a space that not enough people in this city even realize is there.  I mean, no one else was even visiting aside from our group and they, apparently, have a bigger art collection (majority of it: prints) than the Everson Museum of Art has.

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I learned that Rosenquist is a frail eighty-one, and that is why he did not attend the opening reception last month.  We  discovered more about his journey, which made me love him all the more.  When you see the work in this manner, you really recognize its value and contribution to Pop Art and to the art world in general.

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Assistant director Andrew Saluti’s knowledge took the cake.  Again, a sense of passion for his job and for the art in his charge.  It was such a profound experience for me.  Sharing it with my students was something I really wanted to make happen and I did that – but you know how kids are.  When I asked them their favorite part of the trip, they all said McDonald’s, which was our lunch break destination (in Cazenovia, NY) before we settled at the top of the Stone Quarry Art Park hill.

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Yes, we ran around the park in the cold rain – of course, it rained during the outside portion of our day, while remaining completely sunny in Chittenango, NY.  That is the law of dumb luck.  But I knew that they were having a blast experiencing the sculptures along the way, one in particular looking like a house from Smurf village with a tiny igloo style entrance they took turns climbing into, as though they were entering a clown car, because I don’t understand how on Earth they all fit in there – it was Tardis-like in that way.  (And yes – it’s always important to throw in an obscure Dr. Who reference now and again.)

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And yes, I know they got a lot out of that packed with art-filled day. Some more than others.  Field trips are the stuff of legend.  They really bond you in ways that are pretty profound and this fifteen student community of artists are some of the best kids I have ever worked with.

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We got back in time for dismissal, so it was probably the best field trip ever in terms of both information and time management, as well as fun.  Thank you so much to everyone who helped me make this happen.  It was just so amazing to show up at a venue and have them ready and waiting for us – and so excited to see us!  If you are an art teacher in the area, you should definitely plan a day like this if you can.  The galleries were so accommodating, each with their own sensational contribution to the landscape of the arts in the Syracuse area!

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Road Trip

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Last night Penny Santy and I took a road trip to Rochester, NY to visit the Nan Miller Gallery.

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What a beautiful place!  Nan Miller has an exquisite eye for abstract art.  I loved everything about the place.  Linda Bigness has been in Nan’s stable for years and her work was prominently displayed throughout the gallery.

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Linda’s husband told me the space is a new incarnation, now located at 3000 Monroe Avenue.  A short hop, skip and jump from the New York State thruway.

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There are sculptures and paintings, and in the back room, prints by well-knowns Keith Haring and Jim Dine!  Price points range from $1,000 to upwards of $60,000!

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The opening was very well attended by patrons of the arts (lots of sold stickers!!!), as well as artists.  Nan and her colleague Gail Leess were so friendly and informative.  If you’ve never been, I suggest a road trip.  It’s definitely in order.   You will love it!!! ❤

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For more information – http://www.nanmillergallery.com – (585)292-1430.

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