Archive for the ‘Art Education’ Category

“Make” Outsider Art

April 9th, 2016

Make

Make

A few days ago I was privileged to see the film “Make”. Up until then I did not think about makers or outsider art. I had to look it up. Outsider art is created by “self-taught” artists. It is produced by people, often institutionalized, sometimes handicapped, who don’t know, understand or care about the cultural restraints of art.It has been around since people first decided to paint on the walls of their cave dwellings. In the early 1920’s, outsider artists started to be recognized when European psychiatrists published two pioneering studies of art made by asylum inmates. In these studies, an attempt was made to find universal truths about human creativity. In the late 1940’s it was embraced by the art world. Jean Dubuffet, French artist and curator, called it art brut, French, but the meaning comes through. He said, “We understand by this term works produced by persons unscathed by artistic culture, where mimicry plays little or no part. These artists derive everything…from their own depths, and not from the conventions of classical or fashionable art,” a beautiful sentiment.

The documentary, MAKE, examines the lives and art of four American self-taught artists: Prophet Royal Robertson, Hawkins Bolden, Judith Scott and Ike Morgan. Each artist finds his medium and is able to transcend their limitations and produce unique works of art.

IkeIke Morgan

Ike Morgan, institutionalized for violent schizophrenic behavior, spends his days painting as he says, “… to pass the time away.” Although his imagery is not new, his rendering is and that gives his paintings a unique quality. He has, over the years produced thousands of portraits ranging from George Washington to the Mona Lisa.

 

RR_Royal_Robertson_4072Royal Robertson

Royal Robertson, originally a sign painter, deals with an apocalypse of his own design. His small house is covered with doomsday warnings, biblical quotes and alien creatures. As a self ordained profit he holds tight to the anger he feels for his ex-wife and her imagined infidelities. In his art he tries to bring sense to his madness and to create road maps to salvation.

 

 

Hawkins Bolden

HawkinsHawkins Bolden, was blinded at a young age. He created scarecrows to keep the birds from his garden. His scarecrows are created from the flotsam and jetsam of society’s thrown away objects, which he collects   and transforms into sculptures. His totems all have many “eyes” and crowd out the plants they are protecting.

 

 

 

 

Judith-ScottJudith Scott

Judith Scott, was born with Down’s Syndrome and institutionalized when she was 8 years old. Years later her twin sister found her and removed her from the institution. She was enrolled in a program where she could create art and she set about creating cocoon like sculptures of string.

 

I recommend seeing this movie to anyone who wants to understand the creative process more thoroughly. Of the movie, David Byrne  (Talking Heads) said, “Here is a real testament to the power of making art (or music, for some of us) – how that process not only heals and energizes, but the results move me as a viewer as well. They’re touching something deep, as any artist should. There’s a little bit of all of us in this work. This is as high and as fun and beautifully primal crazy enlightening as it gets.”

This movie can be purchased through Shrine Gallery, NYC and, of course, Amazon.com

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We Are All Artists

February 23rd, 2016

“We Are All Artists Now”

According to latest research, marketing research as well as medical research, art is for all and being an artist does not have to be a career. We are all artists. It is one more milepost on our quest for a holistic life. In her article “We’re All Artists Now” author Laura M. Holson says, “Our best selves are merely one doodle away.” Adult Coloring Books, Zen Tangle, and the availability of art classes on-line, in community centers and in art centers make it ever more accessible for people to develop rudimentary skills and, best of all, confidence to “just do it!”

 

Art with Seniors

I think what is most important is need to slow down and to connect, to redefine ourselves in a more holistic way. Connection is essential and we are losing it. We can connect through creativity.

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Art with Seniors

Yesterday I volunteered at a senior center, One Care in Wayne, NJ. I did not know what to expect. The attendees were all seated in a circle and some were singing along with the music, some were staring into space and some were sleeping. They were not volunteers for the program, but since they were all in wheel chairs they would be staying. The project wasn’t much, painting ceramic fish and piggy banks with tempera paint. Some did not want to paint, but before long they were giving advice from the side lines. What I found most interesting was that they wanted to talk. They wanted to tell their stories and they wanted to tie-up the loose ends they felt were out there. They drifted in and out of their stories but the art seemed to keep them a little more focused.

 

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Murals, Art and People

February 12th, 2016
daze_mural_final

Coney Art Walls: Under the Sea Summer (Brooklyn 2015)
  Student murals.   Art Direction: Chris Daze Elli

Making Murals and the Flower Show

I am a Master Gardener in training and part of the program includes volunteer hours, so I agreed to sit at the Flower Show at the NJ Convention Center in Edison, NJ. I had not been to the Flower Show in well over 15 years and it seems to have changed into a  quasi flower show with a lot of crafts and people selling solar panels, “Bathfitter” conversions and pillows. But that is not where I am going with this. I want to talk about murals.

Artists and Others

When you sit at a table at a public interest venue, you meet all sorts of people and so it was that this 60 something man came to talk to us. His wife had a booth selling jewelry and he was just checking things out. He claimed that while his wife was an artist, he was not, but simply a supporter of art, one who pushes it forward.

He was, he said, very much involved with a program called 20/20, which grew out of a need for NYC’s under performing (read under funded) schools to bring art back into the schools, where it had been lost due to budget cuts. This was accomplished through partnering with community organizations and churches and artists. It started with the visual arts and bringing murals into the school buildings or, I should say, on the school walls and buildings. Now called Thrive Collective, it includes music, media and mentoring.

Thrive Collaboration: Bringing Art To Schools

All murals are student designed under an volunteer artist. It is all about encouraging collaboration and building community and in the end the completed mural stand as public art for everyone.

The Process

The process is a step by step process. Beginning with a concept and design, to surface preparation, design transfer, coloring and completion.

The Murals

Check out some of the murals:

School Mural Portofolio

 

 

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