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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Last marks of the painting classes

On the last few days of school I introduce Ruben “Sadot” Fernandez, a Mexican aerosol artist, and set the children free with cans of paint. Many of my students, being well traveled, have seen performance aerosol artists on the streets of NY or Seattle or Los Angeles. We watch videos on line.
The most important thing I look for is that the student manipulates the paint in some way- scraping, masking, lifting, layering, stenciling, etc... this is not about just one layer of paint. This is about decisions. Many of the students initially full of bravado find it harder than they thought, and some of the others, with a more careful aesthetic, find the method quite interesting. They admit that the process reveals something of who they were at the moment of creation... it is a fast medium, and the image is often just a relic of their experience.

I leave this assignment to the end because it is the carrot in front of the kids... keeping them on their best behavior. In fact, I make each one sign an honor code pledge before letting them have access to a can of paint, AND I insist they wear a bandana and paper respirator. I would love to afford good masks for each of them- but the department is usually broke by this time of year.

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