My beginning art students do this first:
They create autobiographical compositions for the
front and back of their portfolios. The featured
artist is Gajin Fujita, a contemporary artist who
makes images combining references to his Japanese
heritage and his high school years as a graffiti
artist. http://www.lalouver.com/html/gajin.html (Some
adult images here) I have also featured Keith Haring
in the past. My students with widely varying
backgrounds and artistic experiences seem to like this
project a lot and are quite successful with it.
My AP and advanced students are making compositions in
which they start out by drawing pieces of string they
drop onto the table and then continue to develop by
attaching personal imagery. This is the first year
we've done this one - its going well with lots of
great variety of images. The featured artist is David
Ellis, also contemporary.
http://www.freshwatercatfish.org/ He creates gorgeous
line qualities in his work and is fascinating in many
ways. I have a powerpoint presentation outlining the
project I can send to those interested.