Thursday, January 31, 2013

Doodle Sculptures Based on Jean Dubuffet

Students in Art 1 and Art Appreciation created sculptures without using tape or glue.  Instead, they learned about other forms of attachment- slotting or notching, and slicing and tabing.

First, students looked at the work of Alexander Calder and Jean Dubuffet, who both use shapes to create non-representational sculptures. We discussed how doodling is a very original form of art and expression, since it comes from the subconscious. It is also somewhat universal as an expression, since many of us doodle when bored or listening to a phone call or a lecture.

Alexander Calder and Jean Dubuffet

Next, students learned about the difference between organic and geometric shapes, and drew both kinds, of all sizes on a piece of cardstock.   

Then, students spent several class periods doodling whatever came to mind on all of their shapes, while listening to music. 

Once we had our shapes cut out and were ready to create a 3-D "sketch" of what a larger public sculpture with doodled shapes might look like, students first spent time practicing notching two shapes together, and slicing and tabing shapes together using X-Acto blades.  

Some students played with making recognizable imagery

practicing our technique and exploring possibilities without fear of failure or commitment

By creating a small practice sculpture with plain white cardstock first, students were able to stretch and explore and develop the craft of attaching paper without using glue.  They were able to do so without worrying about what their sculpture would look like, or whether they would be ruining their well-crafted doodles. 

Finally, students moved on to creating a finished sculpture using the shapes that had designs on them. They played with how to create a sense of balance between the shapes that was both literal and visual.  In order to be successful, their sculpture had to stand on its own without tape or glue, and also had to be strong enough to withstand a drop from several feet up. 

Students were able to express themselves by how they applied their designs and what they doodled on their shapes.  They also arranged their shapes in a way that was expressive and unique.

The resulting sculptures were quite beautiful, and many students expressed how lovely they would be as large sculptures in a park or downtown plaza.  Imagine yourself shrunk down to the size of a lizard or ant, and enjoy their playful whimsy from that point of view.   I believe creating this piece helped students to understand that artists who sculpt also sketch 3-dimensionially, and they play with shapes and forms in their studios before arriving at a solid idea.

I like it when students title their sculptures, especially when they are abstract.

Once all was said and done, students solidified their attachments with a bit of glue so they would make it home safe.

Study in Time Magazine: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention

TED talk by Sunni Brown on the power of doodling