Our Falcon artists have been experimenting with printmaking and creating a self portrait inspired by the contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley. The contemporary artist uses inspiration from a long history or portrait painting, textile/ wallpaper design and the way others are viewed in the grand stance of portraiture. Middle school is deep in the midst of self realization for our students and finding their own sense of self. I challenged my students to find the way they would want to share a glimpse of who they are through their own art work.
Students first designed a 4" square design for their wallpaper printed background. We discussed pattern, symbolism, and how to create a relief print. Students transferred their design to a Styrofoam printing plate by taping the design on top and tracing with a ball point pen. The printing plate was printed using a brayer and water based printing ink onto a piece of construction paper.
After the traditional printed wallpaper background was created students then moved to a contemporary art medium by creating imagery with the use of an ipad. Our art room received a Transforming Technology Grant this year which afforded us a class room set of ipads for our art room. Students worked together to use the ipad to photograph themselves in a variety of poses they felt expressed a bit about who they are as an individual.
The photographs were imported into the Sketchbook app where students used the layer function to create a new layer where their portrait was created. Students first created a contour line drawing of themselves that was filled in and painted with a variety of tools available through the app.
The students finished their digital portrait and took a screen shot image that was shared with a teacher computer for printing via the Transfer app. The portraits were printed via a color printer on transparency film. ((Insert ooohs and ahhhhs from students!)) The image was then selectively made opaque by painting with gesso on the back of the figure. The images were glued together and framed using student made matting. The art work was uploaded to artsonia via QR code connecting to the Artsonia Classroom mode where students can add their artwork, title and personal art statement to their digital portfolio. Our online art gallery is a great tool to share with parents, families and our community the creative expression our student here at the Capitol of Creativity at Skyline Middle School.
We are all thrilled with the results of our project and are planning a cross curricular expansion of the project by teaming up with a 5th grade science teacher. More exciting news to come in our exploration of how to embrace technology and design into our curriculum.