As KQED Arts Education kicks off 2014, we are focusing on the work of artist Ala Ebtekar, who takes traditional Iranian painting techniques and mashes them up with his own visual culture, which is influenced by graffiti and hip hop. He is the newest artist featured on KQED Art School.
Local educator Cecilia Garcia shared a project inspired by Ebtekar’s work that she did with her students at James Lick High School in San Jose. The idea for the project came about during a KQED workshop last summer presented in collaboration with di Rosa and Ebtekar. Below, Cecilia describes the process of creating the mural project with her students:
I used concepts from the di Rosa/KQED 2013 summer workshop, which focused on the use of Common Core Standards in the Visual Arts. The artist, Ala Ebtekar, was the guest speaker and the inspiration for the student mural. I wanted to use the creation of the mural as a learning tool for my beginning Art students. Our first unit of the school year was “line.” I wanted students to express “movement” through their use of line. “Artistic Process: Creating” and “Artistic Process: Responding” were the Visual Arts Standards used in this project.
My students’ objective was to create a figurative mural. I first introduced the concept of creating a mural and linked it to advertising for Apple computers and iPods. My students began the process by modeling for each other and using contour line. Students then used colored markers to add a variety of line to fill in the figures, for example zigzag, spiral, hatching, etc. Students began to add tempera paint to the figures on the foreground to complete the mural. Through the collaborative art process, students came to understand the value of being creative.
Students completed the process with a written critique of the Figurative Mural. Students then concluded with a final class discussion of what it takes to be an artist and the value of collaboration.
Here is the lesson overview aligned with content standards:
Artistic Process: Creating
Student objective: Create a figurative mural
Process component: Experiment/Imagine/Identify
- Students are introduced to the concept of creating a mural, then compare and contrast murals with public commercial images like the Apple iPod ad campaign.
Anchor standard: Initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.
- Students begin the process by modeling for each other and using contour line.
Visual Art standard: Utilize multiple approaches to begin creative endeavor.
- Students then use colored markers to add a variety of line to fill in the figures, for example zigzag, spiral, hatching, etc. Next, they add tempera paint to the figures on the foreground to complete the mural.
Enduring understanding: Creativity and innovative thinking are essential life skills that can be developed.
- Through the artistic process of creating a mural, students understand the value of being creative.
Essential question: Can all people be artists? Does collaboration expand the creative process?
- Students participate in a class discussion of what it takes to be an artist, and the value of collaboration.
Artistic Process: Responding
Process component: Critique/Evaluate
- Students complete a written critique of the figurative mural — 1) Describe and analyze 2) Interpretation and assessment
Thanks to Cecilia Garcia for sharing her excellent lesson plan. We hope her project will inspire you to study the work of Ala Ebtekar with your students and use it as an inspiration for your own art lessons. And feel free to share your students’ art projects with us anytime by sending an email to ArtsEd@KQED.org.