Usually, when I cannot stand it anymore, I dedicate a class to cliches. We discuss what they are, The kids fill a sketchbook page with them. Then I ask the kids to leave those cliche's on that page - they've drawn them, and now we can go on to other stuff. Sometimes I ask them to keep the cliche's in their back pocket for some other day. Basically, tho, my goal is to share with the kids that those objects are so overdrawn that they no longer carry meaning. They are invited to draw them, but not as part of an art project, and preferably not on the art room at all. If I see a cliche after this 'class' I usually make some crazy big deal- not embarasssing the student but silly - about how I am soooo tired of seeing this ________ over and over and when will 'Suzy' explore again? This has been fairly successful for me - Jan (El Ed)
From: Maggie Tucker [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2004 8:27 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Re: AEN hs rant
"when can we make what WE want?". to my horror, in spite of all i have tried to get across in two years' worth of art studies, i have students drawing corner suns and copying care bears. one or two did interesting compositions but most are terribly disappointing to me.
Middle-school, here. I figure that type of symbolism is hard-wired into our brains, because it shows up so often. (Can you imagine artist apprentices being smacked by Raphael, etc., as they drew corner suns? I can.) If you could seque their work into something with a naif, outsider theme, you might be able to stand it.
But, philosophically, especially as I've read the posts on centers, is our being able to "stand it" the point? Sure, sophistication in imagery and technique is a goal. But I wonder how we would react if
(on the extreme, extxreme other hand) our students began working on art nvolving video production and objects embedded in gelatin?
I still feel uncomfortable when students draw crosses for their relief printing project. Even though our student community is basically homogenous in ethnicity, I feel part of my role is to enourage their sensitivity to others. I used to say that crosses were symbols devised by others, and so not unique, and I wanted them to create their own. But then I had to look at my own work. What unique symbols do I have? So I try to accept the imagery but still require involved production.
And I suspect that your high-schoolers are doing these simplistic images as a sort of a mental break.
If you persisted with their work (a la centers) they would get bored enough to evolve.