A Visit to SF MOMA

On Monday, our trip to MOMA and Zeum was quite inspirational. We were able to view amazing self-portraits from an array of visual artists like Robert Arneson’s California Artist (shown on the left). We were able to gain insight into a variety of artists’ processes. What issues/factors motivate them to create work. What choices they make in their work to convey meaning. The impact of those choices on the work itself and how the audience perceives it. Ultimately, the intention of this trip was to help you to understand the artistic process and perhaps help give you inspiration and guidance for your own digital self-portraits.

In telling a digital self-portrait, you must be specific. Narrow your ideas to a single idea/theme. Focus and do not be general. Do not tell your life story. Keep it simple. Some ideas that stuck with me during the museum visit was that the artists’ work that we examined responded to a variety of themes. If you are having trouble, maybe pick one of these, or adapt it:

1. Create a response to how people perceive you. (currently or in the past)
2. Create a response to how you may have been stereotyped.
3. Explore a strong memory.
4. Explore a common emotion.
5. How do you value your family’s tradition/culture? (a cross cultural/generational tale)
6. Express a relationship of yours – a person, place, object.

An interesting framing of your story can be told through the lens of you at the age of your students. So, if you are an 8th grade teacher, maybe you can create a digital self-portrait about yourself when you were in 8th grade — but, be specific — pick one of the topics above.

That’s it. Keep thinking and planning. Create your scripts. And for now, we’ll leave you with MOMA’s description of Robert Arneson’s California Artist:

California Artist description
Digital Self-Portraits Workshop 1.1: So many thoughts, so little time… 15 June,2011Matthew Williams



Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams is a filmmaker and media educator who has recently transplanted to Oakland from Los Angeles. He believes that you are what you eat and feels everyone should have a multitude of dietary options for self-realization. Matthew is the Educational Technologist at KQED.

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