Monthly Archives: April 2011

Collaboration!!

Collaboration ’11 opened at the Jamestown Arts Center Friday night. We missed the opening, so we went this weekend to see the boys’ artwork. I thought it would be so exciting for them to see their work hanging on the wall in a gallery setting. It was exciting for me to see it!

V’s painting is in the middle of the second row in this picture. Let’s get closer:

There it is, the swirly tie-dye-like painting. N’s was at the end of a row.

It’s the top one there, the one that’s clearly a tape resist. We were so surprised and delighted to see this hanging next to it:

First place, student division overall! I had to confirm first–the ribbons hang next to the bottom of the picture? So that belongs to his? Yes, I was told, that belongs to his. V immediately congratulated his brother and seemed to harbor no jealousy whatsoever.

I hadn’t mentioned the possibility of awards, although V had read the flier for himself and knew it was a possibility, although probably, he said, unlikely. I don’t want them making art (or doing much of anything, at this age) with a goal towards an external prize, especially given how subjective it is. A different judge could have been looking for something else entirely. I simply told them about Collaboration and asked if they wanted to participate. I’d hoped the process would be about planning and working towards a goal and the excitement of seeing their work on the wall–and it was.

I was also interested in how they approached it. V had an idea of the finished piece and a plan. He told me what he needed, he sketched it out, he painted it, he was pleased, and that was that. N had an idea about the technique he wanted to use–oil pastel AND tape resist with watercolors–and he tried it out. The first attempt wasn’t so successful. The second was closer, but he still wasn’t happy with it. For the third attempt, he went in a totally different direction. He still used oil pastels, tape, and watercolor, but he abandoned his first plan (criss-crossed tape and rainbow stripes of pastels and watercolors) and went with something completely different, which was, I think, much closer to his own style in the end. He was much more engaged while he was creating it, and that was the one he liked. I think he’s proud that he worked until he had a piece he was happy with, because he mentioned it while we were at the art center.

We all enjoyed looking at the other entries too, and I think it opened the boys’ minds (mine, too!) to all the different ways to approach a 12″ by 12″ square. There were three-dimensional pieces (that could hang on the wall), collages, photography. Artists used Lego pieces, candy, items found on the beach. There were deconstructed books, handmade books, paintings, drawings… so much creativity, from people of all ages. And there’s nothing like a room full of creativity to spark more ideas. I’m so glad the boys got to be a part of this!