This year my professional goal was to learn more about contemporary artists and to create art lessons inspired by these artists. I taught about William Wegman and Justin Vining. We looked at contemporary artists inspired by microscopic things and living artists that used Disney as inspiration. At the end of the year, my students learned about Shinique Smith, Nicolas Lampert and various artists that used stuffed animals as a theme in their art (blog posts to come soon about all of these ideas).
Recently, I asked some of my favorite bloggers to tell me about contemporary artists they taught about in their classroom. I wanted to find out how other elementary art teachers used contemporary art in their classroom. I received an interesting range of ideas.
Nic Hahn, fellow midwesterner and author of MiniMatisse, said, “Marty Cooper is a recent artist that I featured in my class.
He does stop motion animation. Cool dude, but some of his work is a little ‘non-elementary’, so do your research before.” Here is how her students brought cartoons to life.
Nic also introduced me to artist Michelle Stitzlein who creates some wonderful recycled sculptures. She does artist residencies making amazing bottle cap mosaics with kids. Check out her website. If you do bottle cap art, she might be a good reference for your lesson. Nic Hahn has a seemingly endless amount of ideas and knowledge to share!
Phyl of the popular blog There’s A Dragon in My Artroom said, “OOH! How about Michael Albert! This is the pop artist guy who cuts of and collages cereal boxes and other food packaging, and then calls it ‘cerealism‘! Makes me smile. I did a blog post a LONG time ago, here: http://plbrown.blogspot.com/2011/03/cerealism-no-thats-not-spelling-error.html Why do I like it? Because it is light-hearted and silly, and kids ‘get’ it. How did I teach it? It was a natural progression. My students had learned about surrealism; they had learned about pop art. So they got the humor behind the name ‘cerealism’ and they were intrigued by something so common, cereal boxes, being used by a ‘real’ artist. I was very open-ended in my lesson. I shared images of Albert’s work, and cut up a heap of cereal boxes, and let them choose how to design their own collage using the pieces. Some kids searched colors, others looked for specific letters and words, and so on.” I remember reading this blog post a loooonnnng time ago and loving the idea.
Sheryl Depp, of Primarily Art with Mrs. Depp, recently taught her students about contemporary artist Romero Britto. Pop art seems to be a favorite to teach at the elementary level! There are so many great artworks that kids love. Sheryl created a handout for her students to complete a patterned heart project. This seems like a fun and easy project to leave for a substitute. I love Sheryl’s blog and enjoy seeing what she does in her classroom.
Heidi also taught a split-level class about Wayne Thiebaud and his sweet artwork! She shared two different project ideas, a gumball machine and cupcakes. Look at these student-made cupcakes.. aren’t they amazing!!? I’m totally impressed. Wayne Thiebaud is 95 years old!