Today marked the start of Art All State 2011 - in their 24th year! The last two years I've been an Artist/Mentor but this time around I'm just observing and photographing the process.
In 2009 I was also asked to do the annual tee shirt design - [2009 here...]
Unfortunately, because I've been teaching teens so long, it's SUPER HARD for me not to just blurt out "YOU GUYS SHOULD TOTALLY DO THIS" etc etc - when the whole point is for the students to come to a consensus themselves.
But it's great fun, and I'm looking forward to what they create from simply:
- muslin cloth
The idea is to take limiting materials and transform a room into a huge installation art piece. They work together in ways they typically don't in regular art class.
From my experience with teens, you kind of have to tell them directly if an idea isn't working. Because artistic teens are passionate people, they tend to want to do projects that are about self-expression and get really conceptual. They seem to be worried that just doing something literal isn't conceptual enough. That artwork needs to say something.
I don't feel that way at all - the best installations I've ever seen have been all about simplicity. For instance when the Whitney had a Mario Bros. room - and you walked into LEVEL 1. You felt really tiny and all the art was pixelated. Really cool.
Teens are like that - there is a reason why they like to write their names over and over again in different fonts. They are focused on finding their own identity. It's natural.
But there is nothing wrong with it - and it's all about their own learning process. It's hard for me not to put my own spin on it being an artist myself.
I'll post what they make tomorrow! We'll see!