Can You Cube?

Last month saw me embarking on a new challenge: teaching art lessons to kids. It wasn’t at all what I expected! 


As a big kid myself, the thought of trying to impose my authority on a bunch of raving animals, (picture Kindergarten Cop), left a worried taste in my mouth. “How am I gonna hold the attention of constantly-stimulated kids raised in the era of instant gratification?" I begged my brain for ideas. 


Once there in front of the blackboard, I found that most of the little ones were listening eagerly, wanting to try their hand at the art exercise. 

That openness to experimentation was honestly refreshing. Art is inherently experimental. And flourishes on fresh, out-of-the-box thinking. Most adults I’ve tried to teach have been a lot more trepidatious, even fearful, of thinking outside the box. 

As I saw each of the students (and their parents) expressing individuality in their work, finding creative ways to “break the rules,” I couldn’t help but admire them. 


Eventually, the class descended into that frantically fun childhood chaos I was dreading. But unexpectedly, and unashamedly, I was part of the mess! (Sorry for all the giggles, parents!)


Here's the How-To printout from our first lesson.


OUR CUBISM LESSON


At our most recent lesson, home-schooling teacher-mom Melanie gave a riveting introductory lesson about Picasso and Cubist art. Then we dove into making some of our own! 



Wanna know how we did it?

Take a look at this diagram:


Try the steps on your own scrap piece of paper. Choose any object you like. Once you have a feel for the activity, and some newfound confidence, try another! 


There's no wrong way when it comes to Cubism!

WHAT IS CUBISM, ANYWAY?


In the early 1900's when society was beginning to harness the usefulness of photography, artists no longer tied to a duty to represent subjects realistically in their paintings. They were now free to use their imagination.


So began a trend of looking at things in new ways, sometimes from multiple angles at once. Even the literature of the time reflected such broadening of society's thinking, with one 1950 book recounting a story from 15 characters' viewpoints.


As American poet Kenneth Rexroth explains, Cubism "is the conscious, deliberate dissociation and recombination of elements into a new artistic entity."


Take a look at these classic examples from art history. You'll notice objects have been sliced, diced, rearranged, as if to encourage you to analyze their various parts in new ways.



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