Andy Warhol’s talents have been questions, criticized and ridiculed through the decades as being in-genuine, unoriginal, and ‘not his’. This week we are going to explore not only the techniques of Warhol, but study the world events that surrounded his life. With all things considered, at the end of the week, I’m going to ask you your opinion. That means there is no definitive wrong answer, instead the only right answer is your honesty.
What makes a great artist? Is it technique or vision? Does it have to be both, can it be exclusively one or the other?
Should Andy Warhol be considered a great artist?
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Focus 1: Contrasting Cans
Pop Art is art of the everyday, it is relatable to the entire population of a time. Great Pop Art, steps out from the mundane everyday it represents. Some artists use dots, some use collage, and Pop Art is all about standing out, and your art making a statement that speaks louder then the rest. A tool Warhol used to do this was everyday items recreated in vibrantly eye catching contrasting colors.
Contrasting colors are colors that are opposite of one another on the color wheel. To explore the color wheel I taped a giant sheet of butcher paper on the table, used a compass and ruler to draw the pie, and just squirted blobs of colors in each. Then they were off!
The Project: Campbell’s Planters
- Tin Cans (Cleaned & Sanitized)
- Spray Paint
- Vibrant/Neon Acrylic Paint
- Campbell’s Soup can label or image of Campbell’s Soup can
- A day before an adult should use pliers to press down any sharp edging of can and then spray paint inside and out with white spray paint, to give a blank canvas, and preserve the can from rusting.
- Placing an image of Campbell’s soup can have the kids draw the emblem on their own can. (Lettering is optional)
- Then they need to pick two contrasting colors, and then one or two additional colors.
- Then they pain the top of the can one of the contrasting colors, and the emblem the other.
- Paint in the rest, or just leave it white for lettering of their favorite soup.
Focus 2: Everyday Color
Have them color in their soup can of yesterday with two contrasting colors.
What was it like for Andy growing up?
He was born into the time of The Great Depression in an industrial based town. After over a decade of that the country fell into World War II, where the production of everyday luxuries were replaced with the production of weapons, and vessels of war. Finally in the 1950’s Warhol experienced a grand Renaissance of luxury for the majority.
With his art, Andy took the everyday mundane and made it extraordinary, even his 25 cats named Sam. For this concept there were so many books that would allow me to incorporate literature into our artist study. I went with the book Uncle Andy’s Cats.
The Project: Drawing Sam
Focus 3: Mass Production
With emergence from the Great Depression and then World War II, the world was finally at a place where simple dreams of favorite foods, great entertainment, and ownership was suddenly an attainable reality. Demand sky rocketed and mass production filled the shelves, the country was thriving once more. Warhol was no exception, with a team of assistants who he termed the factory his art not only represented mass production, but was a product of it itself.
What’s great about this country is America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.”
The Project: The Vibrantly Mundane
- Map colors (or colors, or markers, or paint, let them decide)
- Multimedia Paper
It was not my intention to have two YouTube projects this week, but I can say they made life a little bit easier, and the kids seemed to have no complaints. This one by Mrs. Megan Burrows made life so incredibly simple, and fun.
Focus 4: Celebrity Icons
Who’s your favorite celebrity? Why do you like them? If you met them what would you say?
Andy Warhol was able to meet many celebrities in his lifetime, not to mention becoming a celebrity himself. Portraying celebrities in his art was another way that his art was considered, “pop” art. Celebrities have faces we can all recognize, all relate, and all experience some form of emotion from. to capture these celebrities like he did, also helped to capture the spirit of an era, allowing us to feel the excitement and vibrancy of a new age.
Today’s project is going to combine everything we learned through the week. We will print multiples, use contrasting colors, and use popular images that most anyone of our generation can relate.
The Project: Celebrity Print Making
- Transparent Sheet (We used page protectors)
- Washable Markers
- Any medium (oil pastels, water colors, crayons, or a mix)
- Multimedia Paper
- Portrait Print Out of favorite Celebrity
The day before starting this project I asked the kids who their favorite celebrities are. We ended up with Wyatt Earp, Kratts brothers, and Velma. I downloaded public portraits of these characters/figures and edited them with a black and white sketch filter so to do away with distracting details before handing them out to the kids.
- Taking the celebrity portrait, you will place the transparent sheet carefully on top (taping may help).
- With a washable marker we traced out the facial outline, not every detail.
- Then before the ink dried we placed a sheet of paper onto the transparency.
- Press Firmly
- Once you have printed the amount of images you want, paint it.
- Don’t forget to use contrasting colors.
What do you think? Does Andy Warhol deserve to be considered a great artist?