We recently visited an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art about the artist, Jasper Johns. He is one of the most influential American artists of our time as his work inspired and paved the way for a number of art movements including abstract expressionism, neo-dada, pop art, and conceptual art. Plus, he is still alive and working today at 91!
We personally felt so inspired by many of the works we saw that our notebook was bursting with ideas for
pieces that we would like to get inspired by.
The first project we decided to experiment with was inspired by the artwork above titled, Dancers on a Plane. Johns has said he was thinking about dancers on a stage. When you look at his marks you can see that there is a very specific order to the placement of the marks, the piece is broken into four sections and is symmetrical, it is rehearsed like the movements of dancers on a stage would be.
Though we did not make symmetrical art, my girls are still a little young for that, it would be a perfect element to introduce if you were doing this project with older children.
For us though, the hatch marks reminded us of a fork, especially after noticing the utensils around the edge so that is what we started with.
- paint (we used acrylic paint)
- plastic utensils
- hot glue
First we picked a few colors to work with. Johns piece uses primary colors so you could stick with that or you could mix up 3 - 4 of your own favorite colors.
Then using forks we added marks to the canvas. My girls experimented with different ways the forks could leave marks and that is okay. You can leave this open ended. We like to use artworks as inspiration points, not something to be copied or recreated.
Once the paint dried we grabbed a bunch of plastic utensils and experimented with how we might like to place them around the canvas.
Once a final position was chosen I assisted with a glue gun and quickly glued them down.
The girls are very proud of their art and love to reference his work in daily life, which can come up often since we use utensils on a daily basis! That is one of my favorite benefits of learning about new artists, it helps them continue to make connections to something they learned about in their own personal lives, and that is a great skill to have!