Art 4 – Street Art and Social Commentary – 9/30



1. Look at the following article and video. Post a comment about the similarities and differences between the art in Iran that makes social commentary and the street beautification art in the video. How does the graffiti art in the final segment of the video fit in to your conclusions? Or, is it different than the other 2 types?

 Street Art of Tehran

2. Read the following, paying particular attention to how he uses stencils and a “tatoo style” influence. Explain how he cleverly uses images rather than words to make his point. Are they visual metaphors, puns, image inversions….? How would you describe his system and visual strategy? (When you have time, if you are interested, you may want to watch the film Exit Through the Gift Shop.)

The Story Behind Banksy

3. Note how the following mural by Blu is both humorous and political. No comment is necessary but think about his visual strategy.

Blue in Belgrade, Serbia

4. Does this street art animation by Blu make a political or social commentary? Explain.

Art 3 – Process of Abstraction – Scully and Mehretu – 9/29, 9/30


Watch the following video and make notes in your sketchbook on key issues/questions that Scully introduces on abstraction.


1. the video of Julie Mehretu working on a large scale mural,

2. a gallery site containing her drawings and paintings,

3. a video interview about some of that work which was on exhibit, and

4. a summary bio from Wikipedia.

In your sketchbook, list your responses to her creative process.  Consider: what do you think guides her in her creative process? Why is that little yellow square so important in its placement?  How does she decide what to add, take out, or leave in the piece?  Why do you think she avoids talking about the piece in formal art terms (elements and principles of design)? Why is it important to her that she starts on a ground rather than blank white canvas/paper?



Think about what your process will be in creating an abstract piece and whether or not yours has any similarities to hers.

OPEN STUDIOS Art 2,3,4,AP, Photo, Photo P.P. and I.S. – Oct. 1-2, Oct. 8-9, Oct. 15-16 – Due by Mon. 10/17


Over the next 3 weekends, Santa Cruz County artists will open their studios to visitors to show their art and art making processes.

For each art class enrolled attend a total of 3 artists studios. (Art 2, Art 3, Art 4 – any type of art from glass to textile to painting, printmaking, or photography.)

Photo students must attend studios of photographers; Independent Study and AP 2D, focus on your medium and style.

For each visit, you must take notes and be ready to share:

1.  your impressions of the studio, the artist, and their work.

2. the artist’s techniques and processes (this information is posted in their studio, if you don’t see it, ask about their technique.)  AND,

3. the inspiration for your own art work (either by a desire to emulate the artist or for a manner to differentiate your work from the artist).

For extra credit, ask questions directly of the artist and share results of your “interview.”

For extra credit, you may attend and share accounts about more than 3 artist studios.

For extra credit, attend the Preview Show at the Santa Cruz Art League on Broadway (see link.) Share the artist and title for what you would award as the 1st 2nd and 3rd place in the whole show and explain why.

Students may attend the studios together but they should have independent notes.  You also may be inspired to visit particular artists by hearing others’ comments.

Do all three on one weekend or one each weekend but don’t leave until the last day! You can share each Monday or by the final Monday. Plan it out.

There are Guide Booklets in art rooms 216 and 222 with maps if you want to plan your weekend trips.  South County is the first weekend,  North County the second, and some artists are open for the third, Encore weekend.


ART 1 – Ellsworth Kelly – due Fri. Sept. 30


Look at the following 2 articles on Ellsworth Kelly and the interview with him in the video.

In your page of SKETCHBOOK NOTES:
1. Comment on at least one piece of advice that’s useful for you as an artist.

2. Comment on how his seemingly simple works actually reflect his sensitivity to form and how they are connected to emotion or expression.

For your sketchbook DRAWING HOMEWORK, do an hour of simplified contour drawings or watercolors of various individual objects (as we did in class with plants).  You may use a few pages for this or work in smaller frames on the page (so you can think about composition as Kelly does).

Art 1 – Mark Tobey and Calligraphic Linework – due Fri. Sept. 23



In the video, observe the modernist paintings of Mark Tobey (1890-1976). Look at the quality and character of Tobey’s calligraphy-style linework. Notice how he arranges the lines for spatial and emotional effect.

In the link below, study the four Tobey paintings. Read the “Biography” and “Philosophy of Art” sections.
In your sketchbook, respond:
Tobey said, “On pavements and the bark of trees I have found whole worlds.”
1. Was Tobey simply copying tree bark or was he doing something else?
2. What are some of the symbolic possibilities of Tobey’s calligraphic white line patterns?
In lieu of your weekly sketchbook drawing, spend at least one hour working on your non-objective drawing (started in class). Include some calligraphic linework inspired by Tobey’s paintings.

ART 2 – Artful branches and cross-contour – 9/29


1. Look at the student studies of branches using cross-contours. Read the section on cross-contour in the Student Art Guide.

Line Drawing: A Guide for Art Students

2. Look at the Almond Branches by van Gogh and read the commentary about the context and the composition. Take notes on the major points:

3. Notice the method of this artist working on a reproduction of van Gogh’s Almond Branches.

4. Read the biography of  and comments on Patricia Tobacco Forrester. Take notes on the major points:


5. Look at all the images and compositions by Forrester at this site and the google images below it, and others if you want. Consider how she uses positive and negative space in the compositions:

6. Consider the visual and emotional effect of the branches by van Gogh and Forrester in terms of both their symbolic significance and  the visual effect.  Which image is most impressive to you and why? How does this contribute to your understanding of  and sensitivity to the form of the branches? Write down your responses.