Welcome to the 2nd of our 12 weeks of Artful Summer!
Art Idea #2 – Art is a lot about Speech
You know what a maga-zine is. Magazines like Time or Vogue are printed in many, many thousands of copies. A Zine is a small magazine. Often printed in editions of 100 or so. The topic could be anything. But often zines explore subculture topics like Skate or Punk or Art.
A few semesters back, an Art 110 student named Stephanie made a fantastic zine called
To the jackasses at work
Stephanie was female, lesbian, young, and listened to music that people her age often listen to. She worked at Papa John’s pizza. She had a friend there who she said she considered to be her best friend.
The same semester that Stephanie took Art 110, she also took a Women’s Studies class. Between her Art class, her Women’s Studies class, and also being around a self-discovery age like 20, she learned a lot about herself that year.
I hope that being more self-aware doesn’t cost you friends. That particular semester, Stephanie came to appreciate that her “best friend” at work, while he liked her, he kind of hated every aspect of her identity. He thought women were stupid. He was vaguely homophobic. He thought the music “you kids” listen to was lame.
In Stephanie’s case, learning more about herself wound up making her kind of angry about a lot of the people and attitudes at her job. So she made a zine about the whole thing. Her zine was angry. But also satiric and very funny. The drawings were simple. Really simple. But the captions were fantastic.
Art & Speech
A lot of art is about speech. A lot of art is about politics. And a lot of art is not about those things. Although, some would argue that all art is political art. That not making a political statement is a political statement in itself.
Social Realism (1920’s & 1930’s) was political art. The movement that followed it, Abstract Expressionism, (1940’s & 1950’s) was non-political. Some argue that to make non-political art you have to be well-enough off that you can afford to not concern yourself with the issues of the day and instead make art about the spiritual or the sublime. When pandemic lockdown protesters are brandishing AK-47’s in the streets of Lansing, Michigan, when George Floyd is murdered in the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota, do we have the luxury of making non-political art?
We’re making zines this week. Your zine does not have to be angry! Or political! 🙂 But it could be. As I learned from Stephanie, a zine can be a powerful way to express your frustration over something.
I don’t know if making Zines will be a part of your career work. You never know. A small Graphic Novel might be a great way to communicate with an audience. But even if your career focuses on more PowerPoint-esque communication tools, the ability to make simple pages with graphics and a few words will serve you well in almost any career.
Week 2 – Art Activity #2 – Zines
- Get a piece of paper. If it wasn’t a pandemic, I’d ask you to get an 11×17″ or larger piece of paper. 11×17″ is great! 22×30″ is fantastic! But if you’re trying to stay at home, I don’t want you to have to go out shopping just for Art 110. It’s a bit small, but an 8-1/2×11″ piece of paper will be OK. Or, if you are going out shopping these days, you might pick up something larger at Staples or an Art Store. It’s up to you.
- Fold your paper as I show in the video below.
- Now that you’ve got a zine booklet, take markers, pencils, paints, crayons, whatever you’ve got, and tell a story of your choosing in your zine. Be angry. Be funny. Talk about your life. Talk about your career. Talk about Chemistry. Talk about Music. Talk about the Pandemic. Talk about your Job. Talk about your awesome/lameass GF/BF. It’s your zine! Talk about whatever you want to talk about.
- When your zine is done, either take pictures of the pages, or make a video of it.
- Make a new Medium post and name it Week 2 – Art Activity – Zines
- If you made a video, you already know how to post it on YouTube and embed it on Medium. Actually, last week many of you managed to paste your YT link on M, but not “embed” it. Not a big deal. But normally to “embed” your video (to have the video appear in your Medium post so it can be watched there without having to hop over to YT) you just Paste the URL on a new line in Medium & Press Enter to convert that link into an embed.
- If you take photos, you can upload them directly to your Medium post.
- Questions to answer: What were you going for with your Zine? How successful do you think you were? What made your zine work or not work? What would you do differently next time? Can you think of other zines you might like to make some day?
- Once your Medium post is done, you’re done with this week’s Art Activity. You do not have to give me the URL. I already have your URL on the roster page and will come by your Medium website to look at your work and give you points.
Artist of the Week
This week we have 2 living artists to think about. Tom Sachs works in many media. Johanna Fateman is a musician and art writer. Both have included zines as part of their oeuvre.
- Poke around The Internet and learn about Tom Sachs’ work. You’ll find lots of work beyond the zines. But also see how he has used zines.
- Poke around The Internet and learn about Johanna Fateman’s work. Again, she’s done more than zines. You can check out everything, but also see how zines have been a part of her art practice.
- Make a new Medium post analyzing these two artists.
- Name your post Week 2 – Artist – Tom Sachs & Johanna Fateman
- Compare and contrast – discuss how each artist works. Can you characterize any core ideas or concepts or working processes for each artist? Give examples of some of their work and describe what you think they are trying to say with that work. How do zines fit in with their work? What does their work mean to you? Does it strike a chord with you? Or is it too different from your life experience to relate to? Or is it a different that affords you the chance to think about things you haven’t thought about before?
- Photos – include at least one photo of Tom Sachs or his work or both, and at least one photo of Johanna Fateman or her work or both.
- You’re done with the Artists of the Week for Week 2.
Starting this week you will check out some of your classmates’ work from last week and leave them insightful comments on Medium. Try not to simply say “very cool” or “I agree”. Look at their work and see if you can tell what elements are working or strong, and which elements could be better or would be more effective if they were handled differently.
- Drop by the class roster
- Visit any 5 classmates’ Medium blogs. Try to check out different classmates each week so you get to know the whole class. Feel free to visit more than 5! Especially this week. It’d be nice to “meet” everyone through their “hello” videos.
- Leave insightful feedback as described above.
- After you’ve visited 5 classmates and left comments, or 3 or 7 or however many you actually do, then email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and say, “Hi, this is Kim Kardashian, and I left comments on 6 people’s websites this week.” Only don’t claim to be Kim Kardashian. Insert your own name. It’s on the honor system. Just visit by Sunday at midnight and email me.
- Once you’ve sent me your email, you are done with Classmate Feedback.
- Once you’ve posted your Activity Blog, your Artist Blog, and done your Classmate Feedback, you are done with Art 110 for this week.