Monday, 26 August 2013

Better Out Than In

"Better Out Than In" by Colleen Rose

What is it about mental illness that makes us shudder?  Why is it socially unacceptable to talk about depression, anxiety, mood swings and other disorders?  

Visit Bell Let's Talk

Visit Kids Help Phone

Students need opportunities to tackle delicate and sensitive matters.  They shouldn't feel they should hide their fears, with little to no help from those around them.

Visit Your Voice

What would happen if we addressed these concerns head-on?  What if our classrooms could provide a chance for students to express their thoughts and feelings about mental health?  

Visit Whisper
Wouldn't students find a bit more relevance in our schools if we dealt with some of the more troubling issues that affect them daily?  If we avoid these issues, how are we helping them learn about their world?  How are we helping them cope?

I created the artwork above because no one is immune to mental strife.  I have experienced both anxiety and depression, as have many of my family members and friends.  One of the best forms of therapy is having the ability to talk to someone who is willing to listen; to provide another perspective.  Since a picture can be worth a thousand words, sometimes art can be the best therapy...  especially when words are hard to express.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


I wasn't going to post this.  At first.

My kids helped me with some 'preliminary' work for my art, and now that they've gone to camp, I'm distracting myself by writing this post.  Go figure.

Don't forget to click the sound on in the top left corner for the full effect.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Watch out, kid.

What do you think?
That's nice
It doesn't matter
Sweet that you thought that it did
I'm interrupting
your progression
Steering my course,
watch out kid.

*in case you were worried, this is sarcasm.

Condoning Censorship?

Yesterday, I shared some ideas about Postmodern Principles and teaching with new media.  This morning, another thought occurred to me while watching Jay Z's "Picasso Baby":

*heads up: anyone who might be offended by a few swears & artistic expression shouldn't watch this*

What if Jay Z was a student in my class?  Would I be stifling his creativity because I only allowed him to make art the way I wanted him to?  Are my projects a creative facade, making me appear to have control of my classroom, while suffocating any true original thought?

I really admire Ian Sands.  He's an excellent art educator... creative ideas, engaged students, and the willingness to question what he does (maybe the best part of all):

If we were students in our own classrooms, would we have freedom to learn, or would our efforts to push the boundaries be silenced?  

So... if we silence the voices of our students, are we condoning censorship?  What would happen if we questioned our methods, and we didn't like what we saw?  Would we change anything?

Listen Up

Can you hear me, see me
now that I have a voice
In your face, in your mind
you've got no choice
No going back
to where you were before
New territory, no boundaries
so much to explore
Independent, driven
hoping to find
My place in this world
loosing my mind
Reaching past you
don't silence me, don't shun
Fear's cold grip
strikes like a gun
Go with me instead
put a toe in the water
It's a dance, a puzzle
a place we'll matter

*yes, it's loosing, not losing.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Playing with Vine

This is the first post on my new blog, which I've created for the sole purpose of playing with new ideas & media.  I've been completing my Honours Specialist course this summer, and I've been introduced to some pretty cool ideas... and now I want to play with them.  After learning about Olivia Gude and her Postmodern Principles, I created an assignment that focused on Recontextualization.  Then I started to complete the assignment as if I were one of my own students.

One of the things that I like about using Postmodern Principles is the ability to appreciate contemporary art without having to rely on the traditional elements & principles of design (for analysis).  Even movements like Dada can be viewed in a new light -- fewer restrictions, more understanding.

Photomontage was a technique that Dada artists used, providing opportunities to create new meaning from a combination of different materials used together.

The Art Critic, Raoul Hausmann
After taking a look at a few photomontages, I came across this video:
The beginning of the video seemed like a photomontage, but made out of video instead.  I started to wonder how I could use this technique to make my own 'videomontage', and began looking for technology that could help a bit.  I remembered some of the short videos that my students made using Vine, so I downloaded the app & started to create.  Here is my first attempt (showing some footage of preliminary work for this project):

The video doesn't show any sort of recontextualization, but I had to start somewhere.  I've played with the app through the day today, and love having the ability to stop & start taking video so easily.  I just wish the videos could be longer than 6 seconds!

*Bonus: I found out the videos were saved to my phone, so if I want to make a longer video, I can transfer the files to my computer & use editing software to do whatever I like.  Awesome!

For art teachers who are interested in multiple intelligences & TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behaviour): by focusing on the concept of recontextualization rather than the material, I can imagine much more freedom in my classroom.  If students wanted to create photomontages with paper, that's possible, but so are sculptures & videos.