What I learned in Class this Week….

We have been exploring different ways of teaching art and exciting the students to look at there world differently. One of the goals is to establish a safe classroom where there is no wrong answer and no self-expression is bad. There’s a little more to it, but that’s for another day.

Our teacher gave us activity prompts from “How to be an explorer of the world” by Keri Smith. It’s filled with art prompts like: Make a collection of found smells and describe them; make a collection of found paints, but don’t use paint; and mine, Illustrate your favourite street.

That was an oddball question for me, as I had never really thought about it. It forced me to think about a street I’ve seen and why it is my favourite. The first thing that came to mind was Bourbon Street in New Orleans. While I’ve still not been there physically, I’ve read about it in more stories than I can remember, and seen it in countless films, TV shows, and photographs. It fascinates me. I found this image that felt like what I wanted.

We only had an hour to make our artwork and I was pretty sure I couldn’t do a drawing I’d be happy with in that time, so I dove into other materials we always have around class. I used collage, charcoal, and coloured plastic to render the feeling of the street, as I see it in my mind’s eye.

To me, New Orleans is a magically dark place, filled with guilty pleasures, possibilities of deliscious wickedness, and music that entices the angels and us alike. It seems like a dream. anyone who has come back from there always seems to be a little shy with details about the experience. It has an iresistable draw.

The activity was supposed to be about research: where do we dig for inspiration to make our artwork. I always thought I dug into my memory alone, but I also grabbed some images on the internet to get me started. My research was from my virtual experiences of the subject, and my imagination, but I did dig for it and found it.

It would be very interesting to see what littler kids might do with such a prompt. Where would they go… Sesame Street?

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