Exploring the varied ways artists get ideas out into the world is a large part of the eighth grade art experience. Imagery and issues of inspiration and influence, street art, photography, and media production are the focus of this class. Opportunities to express personal perspectives and develop individual style are emphasized throughout the art projects this year.
Units of Study:
Inspiration and Influence
Students look at ways they can learn from and be inspired by other artists by looking at a wide variety of artwork and making something “inspired” by another artist. Students create work influenced by an element they have observed or admired in the work of another artist.
Street Art and Graffiti
Through documentaries, video clips, a field trip, and discussions, students learn about the complex world of graffiti and street art, and ways in which both have influenced the mainstream art world. The topic brings up strong opinions and stimulates dynamic discussions about issues of art, laws, rights, property, public vs. private space, and freedom of expression. The girls invent and design, in their own style, Graffiti names on banners to hang in the classroom.
We explore Illustration as a form of expressive communication, through learning about the way certain shapes, compositions and colors can influence a viewers experience of an image. Students illustrate their own simple “Little Books” with images that illustrate a story of their choosing or creation.
In advanced photography, the girls are able to use the photographic knowledge and skills they have acquired during the past two years to create carefully crafted images. After a review of basic techniques and skills, they explore assignments dealing with light, composition, and abstractions through subject matter that is of interest to them. For their final project, they select a topic and create a series of images around the theme of their choice. Throughout the unit, they look at the work of various photographers, examining different photographic styles, concepts, and techniques. Through regular critiques, the girls offer thoughtful, candid, and supportive observations about the photographs of the other students, noting what worked in an image and why, and commenting on emotional, technical, and visual elements.
Digital Video Production
In sixth grade, students learn how to storyboard a video. In seventh grade, they learn about the construction of images through digital manipulation. This year, they direct, film, edit, and produce insightful, powerful, and polished public service announcements for broadcast on the local cable access station and the Internet. Discussions about media topics, such as who produces media, media distribution, why media is made, audience, media consumption and other related issues are an important part of the Video Production Unit as the girls learn how to become active producers of media, rather than passive consumers. Working in small groups, they come up with topics they want to address that they feel are important. Topics have included drinking responsibly, not smoking, animal care, gun control, supporting local music, consequences of unprotected sex, dangers of gangs, organ donation, and one group once chose to make a documentary about the making of all the other videos. They learn how to use digital video cameras and how to edit their footage on iMovie. Weaving their video footage with special effects, titles, narration, and music, the girls create powerful and entertaining public service announcements that clearly present their ideas to the world.