Last month the hallways of Brooks became the scenario of a strange phenomenon: all of a sudden large painted cardboard objects began to populate the gathering spaces around the school. These objects were part of an assignment in Ms. Griffus' sculpture class to explore concepts of popular culture and what happens when you "maxi" something "mini" that fits in the palm of your hand.
Members of Brooks' Media Club came up with some questions they posed to Ms. Shanna Griffus:
Media Club: What's the name of this project and how did you come about integrating it in your curriculum?
Shanna Griffus: The project was inspired by the pop art movement that took place in the 1960's and 1970's. We talked specifically about artist Claes Oldenburg. Oldenburg would take everyday objects and change something about them so that people would look at them in a new light. If things were small he would make them large and if they were hard he would make them soft. He liked to play around with and push the boundaries of what art is.
MC: What was the response from students? It's obvious some of them went to town with it. Were all students that enthusiastic?
SG: I definitely think most, if not all students were enthusiastic about this project. I also heard many students walk by my room while they were in progress and comment about how they wanted to make them. I think the main thing is that students liked the choice they had with this project- it was all their choice/idea from sketching, the building, to painting. Students also liked working with partners. They especially loved the outcome and seeing what they made.
MC: How does this project relate to your program and to other content areas?
SG: This project is relevant to my program mostly because of the use of recycled materials and studying of contemporary art. We used all recycled cardboard (mostly leftover from other projects or pulled from the cafeteria), I like for students to transform objects and to think of them as opportunities rather than trash. I also teach mostly contemporary and relevant artists in my classes. The other content areas it relates to would definitely be math- we talked about proportion, basic forms, and started the unit by creating cubes, cylinders, etc. out of cardboard.
MC: Is there any piece that stands out for your for any particular reason?
SG: I think the majority of students were successful with this project. I think some of the video game projects (xbox 360 controller, wii mote, and gameboy) stood out because their level of detail and going above and beyond in that aspect. I also think the pencil and eraser that says "for really big mistakes" was very successful- it was clever and I liked they ha details such as the eraser being used and the pencil being sharpened. I think the mascara was really clever too- they had left over mascara on the rim to show it was used. I could go on.... I just think when students thought about that extra little (clever) detail, it really pushed the project.
MC: Thank you! This was really fun!
(For a photo gallery of some of the artwork, click here.)