•  Sketch Book Exploration #1: Theme Based Art
    Mary Cassat Mary Cassatt The Child's Bath
    THEME VS. SUBJECT In art, theme is usually about life, society or human nature, but can be any other topic. Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a work. Themes are usually implied rather than explicitly stated.
    In artwork, the subject matter would be what the artist specifically has chosen to paint, draw or sculpt to represent the theme.
    DUE SEPT. 19
             Design Challenge... 
                      1. Brainstorm 5 different Themes that you would like to work with this year .
                      2. Research an artist that works with the above 5 themes (a different artist for every theme) Resource: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/
                            Document a. an example image b. name of artist
                            c. a brief biography about the artist and their artistic focus
                            d. describe the over all theme/big idea of the artist work.  Also describe the subject matter that the artist uses to     represent the theme  
                            [documentation needs to be included in your sketchbook]  
                      3. Create a full page piece of artwork working with one of the above themes. 
                      4. Medium: your choice of material i.e. Graphite, Colored Pencil, Paint etc. 
                      5. Focus on at least one Principle of Design throughout the piece i.e. Movement, Balance, Emphasis, Pattern, Repetition,  Proportion, Variety, Rhythm,       Unity   https://www.getty.edu/education/teachers/building_lessons/principles_design.pdf
                      6. Compose an artist statement describing your process and meaning within the piece [Include in your sketch book] 


    Theme: What does this mean?
    To create meaningful art an artist needs to find a theme or topic with which they have a strong personal link. It needs to be personally linked to you the artist. Think about what interests you. What fascinates you? What are you passionate about?
    Some examples themes/motifs that you could choose from (but you are strongly encouraged to develop your own):
    • Metamorphosis – life cycles, change, alteration, transfiguration, mutation
    • Music – sound, making tone visible, music culture, what do music and art have in common?
    • Dance – movement, rhythm, repetition, physicality, meaning in gesture
    • Legend/mythology – ancient, primitive, modern, stories, archetypes, moral lessons, religion, ritual, social obligations
    • Nature vs. Science – current issues (bioethics) technology, how do we understand the world? Our place in the universe, limits of scientific knowledge, art and science, Cubism, Futurism, Orphism, etc.
    • Myself - diary, memories, esteem, place in the world, pride, shame, family, heritage, ethnicity, self-portrait, friends, loves, enemies.
    • Gender issues – male & female, role in society, in family, in evolution. Advantages/disadvantages of being one or the other. Stereotypes, cultural roles, sexuality, gender in politics, gender reversal.
    • Scale – close-up/magnified, objects blown out of proportion, large vs. miniscule, other worlds of scale, space, positive/negative, color and texture.
    • Other worlds – underwater, space, extraterrestrial, microscopic, imagination, computer/virtual world.
    • Animals – other life, instinctual, life cycles of, physical/spiritual power in, ecology, animals as symbols, cultural associations with animals.
    • Art and the senses – ways of knowing, art that smells, tastes, feels, etc. Art that appeals to alternative senses.
    • Cryptography – art as code, codes in life, symbols, signs, text, sense in nonsense, order, mathematics, key to understanding.
    • God/religion – creation, destruction, judgment, what is holy? Role of religion in society, metaphysics, personal sense of god, mercy, forgiveness, justification, sin, sacrifice.
    • Kitsch – what is kitsch? What is beautiful? What is not? Value, mass production, pop culture, your own personal sense of kitsch, aspects of society as revealed in its kitsch.
    • Graphics – use of line, color and composition to create a graphic identity, advertising, mass media, manipulation of imagery, the (blurred) line between what reality and the graphic representation.
    • Human anatomy – body, muscle, bone, skin, weight distribution, issues of beauty and human body, use/abuse of the body, skin (color?), aging, disease.
    • Dreams – meaning, analysis, associations, truth in, the bizarre, wish-fulfillment, imagery, Surrealism, the subconscious, Sigmund Freud. 
    • Chance – allowing chance to dictate art, automatic drawing, the Exquisite Corpse, Surrealism, Dadaism, kinetic art, image association.
    • Emotion – human feelings, expression, knowledge through emotion, emotional situations, culture and emotions, controlled/uncontrolled emotions, conveying emotion, color, line and shape and emotions, Expressionism, Fauvism, Abstraction.
    • Collection/series – repetition, repeated objects, objects in a series, objects that share something in common, distant vs. close relationships between objects, association.
    • Beauty/ugliness – what defines these? What constitutes the appealing or the repulsive? Manipulating materials so that they take on appealing/repulsive qualities.
    • “The Wedding”-  from the engagement ring to the sealing kiss
    • Architectural renderings-  showing (exploring) the interior and exterior space with a strong focus on light, perspective and structure

    • Exploration- using realistic and non-objective animals (stipple technique….a series of black and white ink drawings moving into color)

    • Portraits and the human form

       Monkeys or primates

    • Junk yard still life

    • Tomatoes, from seed to fruit

    • Fantasy characters – gargoyles, fairies, dragons, etc. – convincingly rendered

    • Low riders

    • Circus life

    • My ancestry

    • Crime and punishment

    • Women in feminine roles

    • “Seven deadly sins”

    • “Things that make me smile”

    • Historical events

    • Reflections of images wherein the reflections are an emotional exploration (of literal reflections)

    • Instruments that make music

    • Icons w/in our society

    • Strength of women (Cindy Sherman, Barbara Krueger)

    • Dreams and dream images (Chagall, Dali)

    • Dance images (degas)

    • Struggle to find one’s self (identity)

    • Figure studies in strong lights/darks

    • Car interiors

    • Abstract portraits

    • Illustrate a classical character or story in a new or modern way (superemofriends)

    • Childhood memories and feelings

    • Evolution of an item as it deteriorates or decomposes

    • Portrait/figure distortions in color/shapes (ed paschke)

    • Personal or social issues

    • Cultural diversity – social issues (diego rivera)

    • Visual puns/hybrids (magritte)


Last Modified on August 29, 2019