Using Charlotte Mason’s approach of art appreciation we studied street art, and focused on two famous British contemprorary street artists ~
Bansky is a British graffiti artist, a political activist, film director, and painter, and he likes to be anonymous. His satirical street art depict a dark humour and his works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world. To avoid arrest, Banksy’s developed his stencil technique which enabled him to create large, detailed paintings in just a few moments.
Stik is also a London-based street artist who was homeless and lived on the streets of London for many years. His works are recognizable for his cheerful humanoids which reflect universal themes such as jealousy, anger, love, friendship etc. Stik’s stick figures, despite their simplicity, convey compassion and emotion. He uses very simple stylistic color, painting his figures in white with black outlines on a flat, colored background.
Now, why teach about street art, you may ask? And what is the difference between graffiti and street art?
College & Research Libraries News defines –
“The differences between graffiti and street art can be found in authorial intent, intended audience, and form. The most common form of graffiti is a tag or a graffiti artist’s signature. Tags are text-based and largely indecipherable by those outside the graffiti community. The intention behind a tag is the rebellious proliferation of the artist’s signature, akin to brand name advertising. Street art is a sub-genre of graffiti. While graffiti operates within a closed community, street art is an open invitation for anyone to interact, consider, and discuss. Furthermore, street art is drawn with a pictorial focus rather than textual, and it is rebellious but not purposefully destructive as there is intent to beautify the urban environment.” (Emphasis mine)
Should this art be banned? Why are graffiti artists arrested? Why are some street artists’ works protected while others are cleaned off walls? We watched an excellent 4-part YouTube series – Graffiti – Wars: Banksy vs. Robbo Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 which addressed some of these questions.
Our art activity was to use Stik or Banksy’s style and create a poster to protest or make a statement on a problem, a theme, an issue, a war, or social problems.
I went into a creative flow and quickly produced 3 large A3 posters. I used brown paper to represent an urban feel of street art. I photocopied my Banksy-styled images in black and white on some brown paper and then added Stik-inspired characters. I enjoyed word-play to name my posters.The timing of my “Migrant Waves” painting was quite amazing because the same day that I painted the poster, world news featured distressing photos of a drowned Syrian boy found washed up on sea-shore. This photo is now iconic with the Syrian refugee crisis that has flooded Europe for the past 2 years.
Lara drew our family in Stik style –Lara then created another beautiful art work. Although it is not the in the style of the contemporary artists we studied, she wanted to express her thoughts in a creative way. Kate created a dramatic Ebola poster. You will notice her graffiti splatters and lettering and Banksy’s rat symbol.
We thoroughly enjoyed our contemporary art lessons! Give it a try with your middle school or high school children!
A few more links and references:
Pop over to my Art page for more art appreciation lessons and pages.
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