Saturday, February 7, 2015

Process Art....

Value in the Making...

A lot of big ideas have been spinning around in my brain these past couple of months.  As I am trying to sort them out, I find myself reflecting on what I do everyday in my classroom.  One of these daily activities is creating art units and lessons that are engaging, interesting and fun.
(we can't skip fun...after all, we are working with children)

Lesson ideas are easy to come up with, yet I pause with slight hesitation with every component of the lesson, to ask myself, "Is this ok?"  I ask myself this question because I am not the art teacher who cranks out pretty projects or mattes all student work to look good.  And although that should not concern me, there is always the little voice in my head asking, "Is this ok?"

This week, I have been busy developing new 4th, 5th, and 6th grade units.  In doing so, I have covered my composition book (where I "write" all my lesson...ideas), my computer screen and my desk with sticky  notes.  A bit like a game of Tetris, I keep moving them around to make sure they fit into idea.  
A week, or so, ago, my one of my 5th grade classes asked me "What are we doing next?".  I always seem to respond with, "I don't know, what do you want to do?"  Little do they know, I know exactly-ish, what is next.  But in this instant, one young lady asked if the class could offer ideas.  After taking  a vote, from numerous suggestions, we landed on "Perceptions of Space"... my idea.:)

In my process of connecting the sticky notes, I began researching contemporary artist Richard Serra.  His monolithic, steel sculptures are amazing.  I had the pleasure of walking through one, a few years ago.  It made me feel really small.  As I was clicking away, looking at his drawings, I thought back to my college years, as a BFA student.  One assignment that I remember is choosing various artists and re-creating one of their artworks, simply by knowing measurements and materials.  I remember being down in my parents basement, with a few oil sticks, trying to figure out Richard Serra's process for one of his drawings.
And then I read...."involved in the Process Art Movement".

Hmmmm....This sparked my curiosity because even as a Art History major, 15 years ago, this movement was not entirely mentioned in my books.  But, there it was...on Wikipedia.

Process art is an artistic movement as well as a creative sentiment where the end product of art and craft, the objet d’art, is not the principal focus. The 'process' in process art refers to the process of the formation of art: the gathering, sorting, collating, associating, patterning, and moreover the initiation of actions and proceedings. Process Art is concerned with the actual doing and how actions can be defined as an actual work of art; seeing the art as pure human expression. Process art often entails an inherent motivation, rationale, and intentionality. Therefore, art is viewed as a creative journey or process, rather than as a deliverable or end product.

And, aside from developing a process oriented lesson, I thought back to what my students do everyday and how we get to the end.  

mess up
try again
step away

and we go through a process.

Sometimes we come up with something great....sometimes we do our best ;-), but it is within the process that my students grow.  It is within the process that my students build all those 'real world' skills that are necessary....
But who sees that from an art work on a wall?

Now, as I Tetris the sticky notes together and the little voice asks, "Is this ok?", I can respond...
"I think so." 

Now, all I need is a balloon animal artist.

xoxo, SMocK you.