Monday, October 8, 2018
Jean-Michel Basquiat artist study
We opened class by reading Maya Angelou's poem (in children's book format), Life Doesn't Frighten Me. In this book, one piece of Jean-Michel Basquiat's work is used as illustration on each page. While reading the poem, we studied Basquiat's work.
The warm up for this class was for each student to recreate their own version of this book's cover.
We discussed three symbols that are prevalent in Basquiat's work: crowns, eyes and forms of transportation. Students sketched three pages of each symbol with one page dedicated to each and used soft pastels to add color.
Basquiat also incorporated a lot of text including a "code name", SAMO. We brainstormed code names for ourselves that we might incorporate into our paintings.
Each student chose one of Basquiat's paintings that particularly appealed to them from the book. We listed what characteristics, message, colors, symbols each student appreciated.
After our mid-session snack and the reading of our next book, Radiant Child, it was emphasized, again, that Basquiat's drawings/paintings were "not neat or clean, nor does he color inside the lines. They are sloppy, ugly and weird, but somehow still beautiful." We also learned that, at first, Basquiat didn't have access to traditional art materials and his first drawings and paintings were created on found surface areas.
Taking all of this information into consideration, we created the compositions of our large pieces (on cardboard) with oil pastel. Some students, who are fairly skilled at drawing, were asked to draw these compositions with their non dominant hands in order to capture the "sloppy" look of Basquiat's work.
I think it's very important to mention, here , that the children did not reference Basquiat's work while actually creating these pieces.
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