Unit 1: Visual Thinking : Interpreting Artwork

Possibly the hardest thing about creating a piece of art is actually coming up with an idea. If you’ve ever had the problem of finding an idea or culling the multitude of ideas you might have  – join the club.

So what is the best way to come up with a starting point? In the first part of this unit we will be looking at different ways we can come up with an idea and how these ideas can then be translated into a finished work of art.

Here are some questions to get you started. You should address these in your visual diary:

1)     What type of music do you enjoy and why?

2)     Is there a visual aesthetic that the musical group/band/artist has that appeals to you?    What is it and why do you like it?

3)     What was the last film you saw and what aspects of it do you remember?

4)     Describe a memorable even in your life?

5)     Where did you grow up?

6)     What is your earliest memory?

7)     If you could say something to the world what would it be?

8)     What visual techniques have you explored previously? What did you enjoy and why?

9)     Do you have a level of interest or competence in techniques previously explored?

10)  What materials and techniques would you like to explore further and why?

After you have written some responses, pair up with someone in the class and share your responses with them. Ask three to five questions of each others responses. Now take it in turns to describe what you think the really interesting responses/parts of responses are. After you have some feedback try to fill in gaps in your own responses or make additions.  

Now its time to do some research. Your job is to do two things.

1 – find 3 examples of contemporary artists who inspire you. create one page in your visual diary for each artist and fill it with images of their work. Annotate the images noting the reasons why you like the work.

2 – Now try to find 3 examples of these or different contemporary artists speaking about their work. (you can use the ones on this site or find yur own) Try to find information on artists working in different mediums (painting, video art, ceramics). You can use the internet but dont forget about the books in the library : )

You should then answer these questions;

  •  What is their identified inspiration? You can quote them directly but don’t forget to say that you are doing so.
  • What do they say are the sources for ideas?
  •  What are the artists influences and their background/culture? Are these important to their work? How can you see evidence of this in their work?
  • How do they use and experiment with materials and techniques
  • Describe their exploratory processes.

Make a note of anything you find that seems to form a parallel with your own ideas.


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