I just finished RAGBRAI, an annual bicycle ride across Iowa, for my 20th consecutive year. This year is the first time my stomach has not done somersaults over the contemplation of preparing for a new school year.
My new role in life is as CEO of our family company, Hoppe Roofing, Inc. As much as I will miss my students (all great teachers understand this kind of love), it was time for a new "job."
Even though it is out of my hands now, I am concerned about my students' future visual arts education; the school I left did not hire an art teacher or even an artist to fill the art education position. They simply transferred a generalist into this specialist role. The real deal that I truly want to share is that no matter how much heart, soul, passion, love, and more you pour into building an elite visual arts program and relationships with high quality student artists, the teaching position is sometimes seen by the school as nothing more than just another position to be filled by a warm body. This makes me sad for the future of art education.
Second time around with the A.R.T. 2017 was a win-lose situation. I have a great turnout of viewers but no buyers. I met wonderful people and great contacts but have created no business relationships. I have decided to switch gears a bit. The new art business relationships I am working on at the moment are a bit different than what I had tried to focus on last year but promising all the same. I'll let you know how it turns out as of this summer: August / September'ish. Wish me luck.
It was time to update the look of my professional webpage: not a huge change, just a little one. I am not a fan of constant movement on webpages, so I removed the dropdown lists--you know, the lists that pop out when the mouse hovers over the tabs above and disappear when the mouse moves on to another tab. You can still find all the same information under "About Me," "Notable Projects," and "Unit Plans," but in the form of buttons instead. I prefer to choose and click what information pops up when I'm surfing, and buttons instead of dropdown lists give me that option. Hope you like the changes also.
I am showing a few acrylic and watercolor pieces on this year's annual Artisans' Road Trip show. There are 41 artists showing work around the Iowa Great Lakes area and I am excited to be one of them. My show is at the Fieldstone RV park in the campground's community building. We keep our camper here year round so all I had to do was set up my work and put out the "Stop Here" signs.
One of my pieces, this watercolor painting, has been used for a few of the group's advertising media. It's fun when guests come in and recognize it right away. "Oh, there it is." or "Oh, I didn't realize there was a face in it... no, there are two faces."
Other than the reward of having gone through the process of getting ready for this show and then following through with it, I have made some wonderful contacts this weekend. Two different gallery owners have invited me to show my work in their galleries. Boy, now I truly have some work laid out in front of me.
Students in grades 3 - 6 are participating in the STEAM project called Indisputable ME. They are determining traits and characteristics that indisputably explain and express who they are. The STEAM elements include forensic science (personal fingerprints), technology (graphic arts), and art (visual and creative representation of self.
The science teacher and I co-taught the forensics side of specific personal identification tools such as DNA, eye/iris patterns, and fingerprints. We also taught the kids a little history of these tools. After making their fingerprints, students scanned and uploaded their fingerprints to be used as one of their indisputable self representations. Other indisputable self representation elements will be chosen by the students.
The technology teacher and I then co-taught a the free online graphics tool of Pixlr.com. We taught the kids some of the introductory skills necessary for students to begin exploring graphics editing on their own. In their process of creating personally expressive work, students will develop a series of six artworks that express those traits and characteristics they deem sharable. Work will be posted online once it is finished in an ISSUU publication.
Change: Reinventing Perceptions of Concepts & Self
My newest unit has been published on a weebly for quite a while already. I am just now remembering to post it on my professional website. The thrill and excitement of completing and defending my thesis interfered with my remembering to update my collection of units on this website's "Unit Plans" tab. Please visit my newest unit at http://tahoart7.weebly.com.
(Question posed by Anna Nichols on FaceBook. May 23, 2015)
Is it possible for a teacher-led project to result in authentic (original) art by students? Example - a project begins as a lesson in using tints and shades of a color to create a monochromatic, non-objective painting. After the student creates the painting, s/he is encouraged to continue working on it by adding drawings, painted details, or change the painting into a representational piece by adding imagined images, etc. I am asking this because I have been engaged in a fabulous discussion here, but I can't seem to get an answer to this question from any but one. What do you think?
(My personal reflections on this question.)
Over a century ago Marcel Duchamp began asking about and challenging the notion of what is and is not art, just like you are now. With his readymades Duchamp made notable statements about his boredom with “retinal art” and his search for more substantially meaningful art. If meaning is the intention of an artwork, then the piece should show meaning, either meaning of the artist’s intention or meaning through the viewer’s interpretation. However, there are other purposes for creating artworks that probably should not be neglected: therapeutic, exploratory / discovery, storytelling, historical accounts, informational / educational, personal expression, humor, etc.
Another thing that could hold value in answering your question is intention. Although the works you mention may have begun as studies, worksheets, or teacher-directed segregated drills, there is no explicit barrier that prevents such drills from the possibility of becoming something more, bigger, better, real, or authentic. While there isn't a definitive answer, my opinion is, yes, authentic artwork can be created from something that was somebody else’s idea, intention, or creation. Our ideas and works are inspired by something or somebody from somewhere.
One example I’m thinking of is if I were to take readymade garments (created by another designer/artist) and reassemble them into a sculptural weaving, I would call this weaving an authentic artwork in spite of the origin of the “intended” idea for the fibers. Another example that might support an answer of “yes” is the installation work of Sandy Skoglund. Although she made a number of the key pieces of her installations, she incorporates objects, artifacts, and other things that began with somebody else’s intentions for use and meaning. She even employed other people, under her artistically meaningful guidance, to do some of the labors for her installations. Finally, the collage work of Rauschenberg is a third example in support of work that can begin as somebody else’s idea or inspiration and then can certainly be turned into an authentic artwork once an artist imposes meaning and intention with/on/through its use.
-K - 12 Visual Arts Educator