Fergus1s’s Weblog
I hope this blog is somewhat educational.

Computers, art, and overcoming creative blocks in the classroom.

For those of us in the arts who have a bit of a phobia about technology, I will share with you my experiences over the past month while working with troubled youth in the alternative education system. I have been helping out over at CAS (Cornwall Alternative School) as part of a community project, between my lessons at O’Neill. It has made for quite a hectic semester, as many of these children do not conform to stereotypical ways of relating in the classroom. Some people may not appreciate the fact that they cannot relate in a formulaic way to the children, but I enjoy the fact that we have been allowed to step outside the box, and try new ways of relating.

As I was responsible for the art strand of the project, I had to pick a subject they could relate to, first of all, and then find a way to relate to them, and get them engaged and interested. Many of these children have a variety of behavioral problems, and personal issues. They give up easily, and get frustrated, so it is important to take any new subject on, in small steps. Showing these students elaborate works of art often leads them to shut down, and they give up on themselves. Many of them were not interested in drawing at all.

I chose the subject of street art, and graffiti. Because many of the children were interested in hip hop culture, it seemed like a natural fit. I gave them the option of relating to traditional means of artworks: pictures, mostly. This was met with skepticism. But then, we decided to take it to the computer based environment. I have been doing some research online, and came across the program graffiti creator. (http://www.graffiticreator.net/)

This program allows a person to create a graffiti “tag” (signature) by simply entering ones name, and then altering the colors as required. The kids took to it like fish to water, and many, if not all were engaged, and enjoying themselves. We came out of the lesson with a product that the students could feel proud of. “Tags” could then be hung in the classroom, as a group. It was probably one of the most successful lessons I have ever taught.

Many of the children at school do not have access to computers outside of the classroom, but the great thing about computers, as well, is that you eliminate the judgement call of “talent” when it comes to art. Our culture tends to judge art this way, but the digital environment is a great place to develop ideas. I am also a fan of photoshop, though I am still learning about it now….critics of technology should consider the fact that in the classroom, we try to find ways for our students to express themselves, and for those not attracted to traditional mediums in art, the digital environment can be a great alternative. It is so important to keep open minds. Art, like the rest of human pursuit, has been affected by technological advancement, and integration. We would do well to embrace it.


2 Responses to “Computers, art, and overcoming creative blocks in the classroom.”

  1. I checked out the website and really enjoyed playing around with the graffiti tools. I have always been into graffiti and think this could be a possible tool I would use in my potential classroom.

  2. […] Age Art? I was reading Fegus1’s Weblog and was inspired to check out the site he mentioned on graffiti. I have been interested in graffiti […]

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