Amidst all the excitement of mural painting, extra early release days, upcoming holidays, and much awaited Art-y Partys, the busy bee artists at James Weldon Johnson found the time to squeeze in a large scale self-portrtait project based off of one of Ms. Holloway's FAVORITE artists, Kehinde Wiley.
Wiley is a New York based artist who primarily works in portraiture and has been heavily influenced by master portrait painters throughout history. Most of his work deals with issues of power, race, and pop culture. His paintings are like poignant visual essays that speak directly to contemporary ethical subject matter that our students are facing (and learning about) in our society every day.
We watched a super inspirational video interview with Wiley taken from his most recent exhibit, "A New Republic" hosted at the Brooklyn Museum earlier this year. Kehinde Wiley's paintings allow me to instruct the students on proper use of light, proportion, the elements and principles of art, but most importantly, issues of social justice :)
I then went through an in depth powerpoint presentation comparing and contrasting Wiley's works to that of master painters from the past who influence him today. The students analyzed and discussed not only the deeper meanings in his work, but also the artistic choices he makes with his intricate patterned backgrounds and how they overlap the subjects.
We took our time with this project and you will be amazed with the work these guys are turning out!!!
These incredible pieces are made from provoking thought, dedicated time, and authentic creative license. The students were asked to think of a powerful pose and an object that represented something about what makes them feel powerful.
After completing a rough draft of their powerful self-portrait, the students came up with a patterned design for their background and painted this on a separate paper. After the background was dry, students began sketching out their final self-portrait on the large manilla paper before using conte color sticks to add a bit of shading and emphasis to their drawings. We then cut the final portrait out and glued it onto their painted patterned background paper.
The last touch was to overlap parts of the background design onto their drawn portraits, giving that recognizable sparkling, finishing 'Wiley' touch to these masterpieces. I am super impressed with the work these guys are pumping out, and I'm so happy to have these pieces for entering into middle school competition in the spring ... I foresee several WINNERS already, wouldn't you agree??!?!
I wish I could upload every single one, but alas, 318 uploads lasts longer than a planning period ...
Hope you guys out there are as pleased as me with these 'EMPOWERMENT self-portraits' :) :) :)
Thanks for taking a peek, come back to see what else is happening in Ms. Holloway's art room soon!