February 12, 2017

Visiting Artist: AMBERELLA

Our school-wide theme for February is "measurement" and we had a special guest come in to the studio to explore the concept of scale with us!

Amberella is a Philadelphia street artist who makes the itty bitty messages on candy hearts into large scale public art pieces. Many of her wheatpaste hearts contain thoughtfully selected texts that convey messages of love, solidarity and empowerment to passerby.

In preparation for this collaboration, my students "studied" candy sweet hearts, and came up with some favorite love notes, which were sent Amber's way. 
Along with a bunch of Amber's messages, the kids picked "NO MATTER WHAT" from B.J. Novak's "The Book With No Pictures", which I looove (both the phrase and the book).

In the days before her visit, we prepped canvases by painting them in monochromatic color schemes. Some kids just have a ball attacking a blank canvas, nah'mean?

We ended up with a whole rainbow of canvases ready to be upgraded with Amber's messages!

During her visit, students saw slides of Amberella's "goth hearts", saw some of her latest products (this collab with UO and this one with Pizzeria Vetri) and had q&a with the artist. I love when they get to meet practicing artists, and learn that being an artist could be their job!

After this introduction, we mixed batches of wheat paste, and used the tools of the trade to paste hearts onto canvases. 

We were all verrrry gooey from smoothing the glue covered papers onto the canvases.

At the end of the day, we had a slew of candy colored posi vibes that we'll hang around the school.

February 4, 2017

Haas and Hahn Favela Playhouse

Inspired once again by the artist duo Haas and Hahn, we took a cue from their Favela project, and focused on intentional design.

Questions I asked students as we examined the neighborhoods revitalized by Haas and Hahn centered around the purpose and practicality of their projects:

  • who do you think lives there?
  • why would someone paint a whole neighborhood, instead of just their own house?
  • how did the artists plan for this project?
  • why do you think they chose these designs?
  • what tools did the artists use, and who do you think helped?

I assembled this small cardboard playhouse and had our students examine the interior and exterior. Using our conversations about Haas and Hahn as a a starting point, interested designers created design submissions with marker. 

One design was chosen and students worked to carefully replicate the color schemes from the drawing in tempera paint.

At the end of our week, things got a little crazy and the house got a very special, very silly, pre-Kindergarten wrap job.

While some students were working on the design end of things, others were using our hand painted blocks to create mini neighborhoods of their own. Use "Haas and Hahn" in my search bar to see a post about creating those blocks. We've painted over them and continue embellishing them since - they're beautiful!