And We’re Back & It’s Cold: The Great Artdoors 2015

If snow days will not stop teens from heading to YOUmedia, a frozen Chicago will not stop us from making art! The Great Artdoors, for new readers, is a public art workshop series hosted by YOUmedia and the National Veterans Art Museum. Each week we have one hour workshops taught by an NVAM teaching artist. Each workshop is centered around creating public art in Chicago and connecting to the NVAM’s mission to create a greater understanding of war experience.

For the first workshop of 2015 we headed straight into the cold! The teens were introduced to the NVAM.org online collection, looking at veterans artists that use moldmaking techniques such as Marcus Eriksen, U.S. Marine Corps, Persian Gulf War (Kuwait), and Jim Leedy, U.S. Army, Korea. We discussed how what moldmaking is and how artist use it as a technique to get extreme details and create mass multiples.

Angel in the Desert
Angel in the Desert by Marcus Eriksen
The Earth Lies Screaming and The Atomic Skull by Jim Leedy
The Earth Lies Screaming and The Atomic Skull by Jim Leedy

We also looked at Brazilian artist Néle Azevedo‘s Minimum Monument installation of 5,000 “melting men” at Chamberlain Square, Birmingham on August 2, 2014 to commemorate victims of WWI. The ice figures were placed out with the help of volunteers and left to melt in the sun.

Minimum Monument by Nele Azevedo
Minimum Monument by Nele Azevedo

Using dental grade alginate (a food-safe, seaweed based, inexpensive, moldmaking material), the teens thought of symbols to create molds of and cast in ice to place in public space in the loop. Some of the symbols included peace signs, hearts formed from hands, and palms.

Here are some reflections from the teens about the workshop: