It is finally spring! Well, sort of. Ignoring the random bouts of snowfall in Chicago, The Great Artdoors is too excited to get back outside for art-making! This week we are thinking about aerial photography and the “birds eye view” perspective, looking at examples taken from helicopters during Vietnam or more modernly videos captured by drones. We decided to create our own sort of weather balloon/kite/drone device that looks like something straight out of Up, using balloons, a point and shoot camera, fishing line, and lots of tape! Check out the Gallery through this link for photographs taken by the aerial balloon contraption we created!
Today for the Great Artdoors, teens looked into the NVAM collection at Regina Vasquez, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, and and her work with Fatigues Clothesline. “Fatigues Clothesline is a vehicle which bridges a gap between survivors and their family, their therapists and the advocates who are advocating for us in Washington DC by providing communication, symbolism, awareness and Change regarding military sexual trauma. By allowing our survivors to be heard once and for all!” We discussed the seriousness of this issue, the importance of Fatigues Clotheslines work for the victims and spreading awareness, and how our choices with clothing are impactful. Clothing is used as our personal identifiers, whether that be our choice of brand, make, or imagery.
“My t-shirt is covered with colorful words that I use to define myself such as sensitive, proud, devotion, commitment, and friendship. The words are covered with hands. The hands are representative of how other try to hide me behind their own perceptions.
-Hunter // 17 // Westinghouse College Prep
“I feel like what Regina Vasquez is doing with Fatigues Clothesline is for a very good cause. The fact that we need to speak up more about military rape is empowering. I completely understand that, more than anyone else possibly could, without getting into details, this is a really important issue to me. Rape is serious.”
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.
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.
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:
The National Veterans Art Museum and YOUmedia have partnered together to create The Great Artdoors: a public art workshop series! Teens are invited to participate in the drop-in workshops every other Wednesday from 4:30-5:30PM at YOUmedia on the first floor of the Harold J. Washington Library. Get a preview of what the teens are doing on the Great Artdoors window in the front of the library on Jackson Blvd!
To recap: teens have had a walking tour of the loop, identifying and discussing commercial vs. fine art public art as well as exploring and photographing possible places for creating public art. Teens were introduced to different artists working with graffiti arts including Iraq veteran artist (U.S. Marine Corps) and Hip-Hopper Melvin Lyons. Teens discussed the artists’ processes, how public art can be large scale and intensively planned with a team or more spontaneous and individual, what is legal vs. illegal, and also looking directly at the graffiti laws in Chicago. Teens collected images that represent or inspires them and used these images to make packing tape image transfer and practice wheat pasting.
Here are some reflections of YOUmedia teens on the Great Artdoors:
“I’ve had a wonderful time with Marcus and Moki during my few weeks in The Great Artdoors. I’ve made tape transfers, wheat pastings, and even some calligraphy! I can’t wait to see what projects they come up with in the future.”
“My experience with the workshop so far has been great. I learned how to make wheat paste and I also learned how to reach my inner creativity and embrace it. Like: I liked the wheat-paste activity where I slapped my image on the pillar. Dislike: the breeze when we went out on the field trip. Suggestions: We could spray paint actual walls. Learned: How to get in depth with your creative side and express it doing creative things.”
“We went out in the neighborhood about a month or two ago and we looked at street art, murals and sculptures. I like how we keep everyone involved; like how Moki, Marcus, and Daniel keeps everyone involved in the activity. I disliked how we didn’t have enough time to see everything. “