Continuing my pastel explorations with my grade one students, (because they seem to be loving it)I decided to extrapolate some earlier free draw experiments focused around graffiti… I wanted to show them the fun of letting go and doodling with a loose intention. I wanted to show them the joyful art of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Let me start by saying that my fascination with his work and works like his comes from my difficulty to paint in this style. I haven’t yet been able to tap into that inner child. I have also recently noticed that I’m learning how to recognize the inner child when watching my students make art. This would be really interesting to see how they interpret the ultimate channeller of the inner-child.

I started with the briefest introduction of the artist and how this was a continuation of the graffiti art they made. I reminded them about my love of mistakes and how they are good with my now usual question: “why is it OK to make mistakes?” Sone of my little geniuses replied: “Because we learn from them.”; “Art doesn’t have to be perfect.”; “Art comes from the heart and only has to be you”.

I then handed out the construction paper (14″ x 17″) and pastels (I’ve been using the broken nibs to reinforce the idea that we needn’t waste materials and that every little bit can be used to create something). Then I showed them a fantastic how to video: “Basquiat Dinosaur for Beginners from Mr Schuetter’s Art“.

Most started working while the video was on, so after. I encouraged them to ask me to pause the video and they did from time to time… when I started getting the expected calls of “I’m done”. I’d encourage them to add touched, thicker colours, or bolder outlines.


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