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Most studies on Indian art will focus more on Religious art, with figures such as:

Ganesh

Shiva Nataraja (Dancing Shiva)

This is art made by commissioned guilds or organizations from old Indian historic periods such as:

Mathura or Gandhara

-This may present us with some Historical facts, but what do we really know about Indian art and artists as they are today?

One artist example that I found (www.ajayde.com):  Ajay De

Ajay De

Ajay De

born in 1967, grew up in a small suburb in Kolkata

– his first inspiration was a poem he heard playing on the radio, by Rabindranath Tagore or Gurudev, another famous Artist (Poet) from his country

Rabindranath Tagore, Also called Guru Dev

Rabindranath Tagore, Also called Guru Dev

Ajay De then went on and studied at the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata,

and his post-graduation from Sir JJ School of Art, at Mumbai.

Exhibitions . . .

His famous for his charcoal pieces

Charcoal Piece 1

Charcoal Piece 1

Charcoal 2

Charcoal 2

Charcoal 3

Charcoal 3

His solo exhibitions have been held at various prominent art galleries in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Tokyo.

New York, Dubai, Mumbai, and New Delhi.

Expressions for the Devine:

Ganesh with charcoal

Ganesh with charcoal

The first piece I saw from him was the drawing of Ganesh

Ganesh still holds his symbols (rat on scene also)

A new way of thinking about Indian art and artists.

The New Inspiration, his favorite subject: Mother Theresa

Mother Theresa

Mother Theresa

Mother Theresa 2

Mother Theresa 2

But what is more interesting is how he views his art . . .

“All my paintings reflect the complexities and troubles that besiege modern day society. They are not deliberate efforts. They flow from within. I feel that art offers solutions to all problems in life, and my work offers a direction to these solutions,”

His work still carries the resemblance of the kind of art that we mostly associate with India, but there’s an new element to his work, a social commentary.

Art  becomes a too for commentaries about Class issues, brings attention to the conditions of lower class folks.

 Rickshaw

Rickshaw

This is an old form of transportation that was once used by the elite but still in being used today. Workers are from struggling, lower class folks.

charcoal-acrylic on paper, 2008

charcoal-acrylic on paper, 2008

Studying the human conditions . . .

AjayDe

AjayDe

Just by observing and drawing art becomes a way of seeing or becoming aware of the social conditions of others

Ajay De 2

Ajay De 2

The Possible Project: What can an art teacher do for a project?

In the Chi? The porject in mind “My Kind of town, Chicago” . . .  students can do a series of studies of various areas of the city  . . .  following the L-train routes from North to South and East to West:

Chicago L-train route map

Chicago L-train route map

To answer the questions: Who’s here?

Chicago1

Chicago1

From Where?

Chicagochinatown

Chicagochinatown

How they got there?

Chicago-El-train

Chicago-El-train

I really wanted to do this lesson this semester, but because of time constraints I will have to make it wait for another time.

Lost Wax Casting

Lost Wax Casting is a simple process with a worldwide history that dates back almost as far as history itself. It is one of the most basic processes for casting, and is still in use to this day. Here is a short video covering the process as used in an industrial setting.

The video is a good overview of the process, but here are the steps laid out in a little more detail for a smaller project.

1. The first step is obtaining a wax positive, either by sculpting your original in wax, or from a mold of some kind.

2. Once you have the positive, the next step is to create a sprue and vent system. Sprues when added correctly allow for the metal to more easily reach parts of the mold, such as an extended arm on a figure, that would otherwise be difficult to reach. Vents allow for a flow of air out of the mold to prevent bubbles from forming and ruining your cast. The sprue and vent system is topped with a cup, to create a resevoir to hold any excess metal that is poured into the mould, and to add some pressure to allow for the metal to fill out the mold.

3. Once your wax positive is ready to go, its time to shake and bake, you dip your wax into a chemical slurry, and then cover it with ceramic sand, rinse and repeat. The trick with the slurry is to not form bubbles in the coating, and to get a thin but viscous layer on your wax. When applying the ceramic sand is to make sure to get the sand into all the fine details, or you will lose them in your mold.

4. When the ceramic shell has dried, your mold is now placed in a kiln upside-down and fired. This serves a dual purpose, first it hardens the ceramic shell, and warms it to high temperatures so it will not crack on contact with hot metal, and secondly to drain the wax out of the bottom. (In many kilns this can be collected and used again.) Some foundries use a separate firing for the draining, and hardening of the ceramic shell.

5. The final step in the casting process is to pour the metal, a metal pour requires a team of people working together, and is itself a complex process. However for small scale items (A small piece of jewlery for example) , you can do this yourself, with a smaller scale furnace. (They even have competitions for micro-furnaces that could fit in your hand when they aren’t hot.)

6. The very last step is just to break of the shell with a hammer, then clean and finish your piece by sawing off the sprue, then filing and polishing your finished piece.

Although commonly used for metal, as described above, the lost wax casting process can be used with just about any material that can be poured into the empty shell of a wax mold. (Usually just a plaster mold, when you aren’t pouring something molten hot.)

While pouring metal isn’t an option in most classroom settings, much of the rest of the process, of making a wax sculpture, then creating a mold from it, are excellent things to learn and can be done at many levels with kids. Paticularly connecting how artists affect industry (Which is in your state goals.)  and in ideas of making multiples. When looking for lesson ideas, one can draw from a wide range of information as well, as this is a process used in many cultures, finding a relevent example for your students requires only a little history research.

Tarot and Identity

Tarot cards originate out of italy in the early 1400’s and were originally in use as part of a card game. (Which is still popular in france.) The way we have come to understand the tarot as a spiritually connected icon and divinatory tool however, is dated much later during the 1700, when the cards began to be connected to mysticism and the occult through The Order of the Golden Dawn.

The tarot deck itself contains seventy eight cards divided into two parts the Major Arcana, numbering twenty-two cards, and the Minor Arcana numbering fifty six cards divided into four suits. For divinatory purposes the deck is shuffled and a number of cards laid out in various patterns that have symbolic or spiritual meaning, using the symbols on the cards to intuit the meaning of the results.This process of identifying and anyalisng symbols is something which has engaged many non-mystics in the study of the tarot, Carl Jung being one of the more notable examples.

Jung saw in the the “face cards” of the Major Arcana symbols for various archetypes, steriotypical or idealized figures often seen in forms of storytelling, and also identified archetypes for each of the four suits in the Minor Arcana. Here are a few examples from the Major Arcana.

0. The Fool

The Fool is the first card of the tarot deck and is a card of new beginnings and leaps of faith. The fool itself often represents the questioner     in a reading. in a storytelling sense The Fool is as the protagonist moving forward into the rest of the deck.  The fool is also seen as a symbol of innocence and wonder, and is most commonly interpreted as such in Jungian use of it.

1.The Magician

The Magician is a card of mastery over the universe, it is a card of power and the ability to control and direct it. It is also a card of self actualization and awareness. It is also sometimes interpreted as a symbol of  thought and or magic.

9.The Hermit

The hermit is both a card of experience and of wisdom, but also a card of attainment, of lighting the way or showing a goal in some aspects. The archetype of the hermit is connected to the wisdom and creates an advisor figure.

12.The Hanged Man

In the Tarot deck The Hanged Man is one of the most difficult symbols to interpret, though it has connections to martyrdom, it is not often read in that manner. It is a card of sublime mystery, and can also be seen as a card of knowledge. In Jungian thought it is a card of sacrifice, but one that is required by the situation.

Studying archetypes and looking at the Tarot as an example of archetypes could be useful in teaching as a way to discuss identity with students, by either having students identify with a symbol or charachter archetype, or by allowing them to create their own symbols to represent themselves, the concepts that create and shape their identities can be explored. It can also give students a method of looking at the different ways art can be understood and viewed by audiences, as there are many different understandings in the meanings of an individual card.

1. There is a great book called “GLOBAL ART: Activities, Projects, and Inventions From Around the World” by Mary Ann F. Kohl and Jean Potter. This book has great artistic ideas that can help you teach about culture, science, etc.

2. Another great book is “Teaching Art with Books Kids Love” by Darcie Clark Frohardt. If you need a book that will help you remember the basic elements and principles of design…this is definitely the book to get! The lessons are a bit biased, but you can also alter them quite easily to make them fit your lesson plan.

3. Here is a link that I know you guys will enjoy. Another link is of IIlana Yahav’s work. I think instead of a lightbox, you could use dark sand on top of white paper. For kids who enjoy using their hands, although sand is quite messy, it would be quite a fun project to do depending on the colors they had for a background and the way it would be documented.

4. LESSON PLANS! I have never gotten so many good ideas just from one site! CHECK IT OUT PLEASE!

Video link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTrOTwPONuQ

….I love this video…and him.

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