Sunday, December 13, 2015

Romare Bearden Inspired 'My Block' Collage

After their Pop Art inspired print project, 4th grade artists looked at the work of another American artist named Romare Bearden. Bearden lived in New York City. We looked at and discussed one of his collage artworks called "The Block."
Romare Bearden, The Block (1978)
Students noticed that there were many different buildings and a lot of detail -- windows, people, signs, etc. Students also noticed that some of the buildings looked like they were made of brick. We discussed how the street in a city is very busy, with many different kinds of buildings, such as apartments and restaurants. We also talked about how we can tell that it is a city street, but the mix of materials, colors, proportions and views are not completely realistic. For example, you cannot really look inside the stairwell of a building from the outside, and the lightbulb in one of the rooms is much larger than the people around it. The longer we looked at it, the more there was to see!
We then began our own mixed media collage artwork, using a long piece of construction paper to start the city street. We talked about what kinds of buildings students could add, and how to overlap and layer different materials together to add detail and interest to our street. There were many different materials to choose from, including construction paper, corrugated paper, metallic paper, fabric, felt, tissue paper and foam.
Students thought carefully about what other details they could add to their street, such as traffic lights and stop signs. Some students were inspired by visits to Boston, New York City, and Rio de Janeiro. After they were done with their collage, they used a black pen to add details such as window frames, bricks, and signs for different buildings.
At the end of our third class, we did a turn and talk so that students could talk to a partner about what inspired their collage, what they were most proud of, what they might change, and what was most challenging about making their artwork. For our turn and talks, we use a fortune teller that contains these questions, instead of fortunes, to help jumpstart our conversations and make them more fun.
Many students were proud of specific details in their mixed media collage, and their use of a particular material. Some students found it challenging to work with the fabric and felt materials and add the level of detail they wanted with them. Below are some examples of our finished collage city streets, inspired by Romare Bearden. Some of them will also be on display for the 4th and 5th grade winter concert in December, so look for them in the connector hallway that week!
Ava, 4th grade (Mattson Graves)
Elena, 4th grade (Mattson Graves)

Wellington, 4th grade (Doherty Barbieri)
Trisha, 4th grade (Cikacz)
Lily, 4th grade (Dubuque)
Halle, 4th grade (Dubuque)
Shahd, 4th grade (Doherty Barbieri)
Edward, 4th grade (Cikacz)

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