Introduction to the Visual Arts

Activities, ’13 Summer

updated: Tue 14 May ’13, 9:23am

The majority of these activities will involve the Tout micro-video platform. You can use it on phone, tablet, laptop or desktop with a webcam. Tout’s 15-second video clips force us to get to the point! If you are not prepared, you can just “um” and “ah” and say nothing in 15 seconds, however, if you pre-think 2 thoughtful sentences about art, aesthetics, culture, and ideas, you will find that 15 seconds is plenty of time to express 2 complete sentences: two complete thoughts about what specifically you find compelling in a work of art.

I think you’re going to enjoy the speed and power of our 15-second Touts. But a real danger is that if you don’t seriously consider the informative, analytic ideas you want to express in advance, it’s just so easy to waste 15 seconds. So, how will we grade these? Many classes give you a percentage, “well, you didn’t analyze as deeply as I’d hoped, so 75% on this assignment.” Of course, when you want something in life, like applying for a job, asking someone to marry you, or leveling up in World of Warcraft, there is no “75%.” The HR director either hires you, or someone else, your partner either says “yes,” or “no,” you either complete the challenge and level up, or you don’t. So these Touts will either be full credit, or no credit. But don’t panic, if your ideas don’t go deep enough, I’ll Tout back and give you a chance to do it again.

All touts should have 2 hash tags (and any additional hash tags you like)
1. #art110s13 – the hash tag that lets us find ALL the touts for our class!
2. #art110s13sxxxx – where “xxxx” = the last 4 digits of your CSULB Student ID – this hash tag will aggregate all of YOUR touts. You’ll be able to “turn in” activities simply by “turning in” your hash tag

Your Lecture & Reading Touts will have a 3rd hash tag: #art110s13l1 for lecture 1, art110s13r2 for reading 2, etc

Each of the 9 weeks that we have readings (Weeks 1-9), and each of the 12 weeks that we have lectures (Weeks 1-12) you should do 1 Reading Tout, and 1 Lecture Tout:
Lecture Response – after watching lecture videos, watch the hash tag (all the Touts your classmates have made so far) for this week’s lectures, and then offer an idea about the lecture that none of your classmates have offered yet.
Reading Response – after reading this week’s chapter, watch the hash tag (all the Touts your classmates have made so far) for this week’s reading, and then offer an idea about the reading that none of your classmates have offered yet.

Week 1: AH: Talk Art

Tout 1: What is art? (your definition)
Tout 2: Thoughts about Art110 (what your hopes for the class are)
4 Reply Touts – watch your classmates touts and reply to 2 or more “What is Art” touts and 2 or more “About Art110” touts.
DUE THIS WEEK: 6 Activity Touts + 2 Read/Lecture Touts

Week 2: AH: Find Art

Tout 1: Wherever you are this week: Long Beach, Colorado, China, or anywhere else, go and “find art.” By find art I don’t mean a painting on a wall or a sculpture on a pedestal, I mean more “accidental art” or literally “found art” or “unintentional aesthetic experiences.” It might be the configuration of leaves on the ground, or gum in the street or skid marks on the sidewalk. It might be a reflection on a window or on the water. Find something that you find interesting or curious or compelling.

Now think about 2 strong sentences on what you see in this “work” that makes it matter to you. When you’re ready, point your phone or tablet at it, hit record on Tout, and give us your 15 seconds of narration. (BTW, if you happen to “find art” in a spot that doesn’t have 3G/4G or WiFi, you can still “Tout” anyway, and the Tout App will “queue” your Tout till later when you have signal and it will upload it then)

3 Reply Touts – watch your classmates touts and reply to 3 or more “Found Art” touts.
DUE THIS WEEK: 4 Activity Touts + 2 Read/Lecture Touts

Week 3: AH: See Art

Museum Visit
Last week we “found art” around us, and this week we’re going to an Art Museum. If you’re in the Long Beach / Los Angeles vicinity, you should go to LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. LACMA has an enormous campus with a huge, encyclopedic art collection, and after a time “wandering in the desert,” LACMA today is one of the hottest Art Museums in the world. They’ve also got a lot of indoor and a lot of outdoor works for you to look at, so you can see and think about a wide range of work and settings. If you’re in another location this summer, just LMK where you are and we’ll pick someplace great for you to visit.

Please do 6 Touts while at the museum. At least 2 indoors. At least 2 outdoors. And no more than 2 in any one building. As usual, think about the work before you push record and then give us 15 seconds of powerful ideas.

2 Reply Touts – watch your classmates touts and reply to 2 or more “Museum Visit” touts.
DUE THIS WEEK: 8 Activity Touts + 2 Read/Lecture Touts

Week 4: 2D: Draw Something

Sketch your name in Bubble Letters
The example video shows you how to create a “bubble” style letter with a drop shadow. Sketch your name. Next week you’ll use this to paint from. When you’re done sketching, do a Tout of your sketch and talk about your experience sketching.

3 Reply Touts – watch your classmates touts and reply to 2 or more “Sketching” Touts.
DUE THIS WEEK: 3 Activity Touts + 2 Read/Lecture Touts

Week 5: 2D: Paint Something

Spray Paint your name in Bubble Letters, 2 colors

This week you get to take your sketch from last week and realize it in your choice of 2 spray paint colors. If you’re in the Los Angeles / Long Beach area you really have to go to the Venice Beach Legal Art Walls. Yes the driving and parking might be a hassle, but Venice is a cultural mecca that you should experience. The Legal Art Walls are right in between the skateboard park and the basketball courts. And just across the sand from “Big Daddy’s” – home of gigantic slices of cheap pizza. The Art Walls are only open on Saturday & Sunday, from 10am to half-hour before sunset. You should really plan ahead for this one. Try to clear the day of work or whatever else if you can. You’ll be glad you went. I’ll even go myself! I’ll be there Saturday from 10am till at least 1pm. And I’ll bring 3 gallons of iced tea. You don’t have to go when I’m there, but it’d be nice to say hi if you can make it.

If you’re not in the area, you can paint on any surface you can find that’s legal. Perhaps a big piece of cardboard in your back yard.

Do at least 2 Touts of your painting: in-progress and completed. If you can have someone record one while you’re painting, that’d be great.

4 Reply Touts – watch your classmates touts and reply to 4 or more “Painting” Touts.
DUE THIS WEEK: 6 Activity Touts + 2 Read/Lecture Touts

Week 6: 2D: Photograph Stuff

Everyone Instagrams & hash tags “my life” on the same day, then Tout about the aggregate class portrait.

Thursday, July 4 will be our “Art110 Life” day. For the 24 hours of Thursday (12:01am to 11:59pm, local time, wherever you are) we’ll snap Instagram pix and please use the hash tag “#art110s13life” You can snap all the pix you like, but please snap at least 4 through the day. Then on Friday or the Weekend you can look over the big collection of pix that you and your classmates generated and Tout your thoughts on the creation.

3 Reply Touts – watch your classmates touts and reply to 3 or more “Art110 Life” Touts.
DUE THIS WEEK: 4 Activity Touts + 2 Read/Lecture Touts

Week 7: 3D: Sculpt Something

Plaster casting at any beach or sand area.

CSULB is known as “The Beach,” so it seemed that part of our summer course should actually be “at The Beach.” As with our legal painting project 2 weeks ago, we’re heading for the sand again this week. Once again, I’ll go to the beach one day: I’ll be near campus at the Seal Beach Pier on Thursday from 10am – 1pm, if you’d like to join me, but you don’t have to go on that day or to that beach. Here’s some sample and info videos from previous semesters. When we say to “use your sketchbook,” that’s not required for this activity.

• Seal Beach Pier, Just South of the Pier, Just South of Tower 2
• Parking is right there in a lot off 10th Street: $3 for 2 hours, or $6 for all day
* Bus Info?

1. Plaster of Paris (a small “milk carton” sized box is ideal) Get at Hardware or Art store.
2. Stir Stick
3. Shovel & Bucket (Plastic shovels & flimsy buckets tend to break in less than 60 seconds. Try raiding your parents garage for better stuff)
The beach itself will provide the rest of the materials we need
(If you want to try anything fancy or large or thin… like your fraternity / sorority letters or something, you might want to bring something like chopsticks to insert as “rebar” to support your creation)

• Pick a spot near the water – too far ashore the sand is too dry, too close to the water… well… you know what waves do!
• Dig a hole you can insert an arm or leg into. Then insert an arm or leg. Use bucket to get wet sand and have friends pour around body part and pack it in.
• Remove body part carefully, trying not to damage your mold. Once you mix your plaster, it sets really fast. You won’t have time to make another mold after mixing, so if you do something small like your hand, you can probably get 2 or 3 out of your “milk carton” of plaster. If you bring friends, they could make hands or feet too.
• Dump your whole “milk carton” of plaster into an empty bucket, then add half a milk carton of water — TWO PARTS PLASTER TO ONE PART WATER!! — stir vigorously till there’s no lumps. Pour plaster in your molds carefully, not quickly, or it’ll damage your mold.
• Wait about 25 minutes for your plaster to set.
• Use garden shovel or hands to carefully dig out your casting – try not to break thin wrists or ankles or fingers or toes. Then marvel at your creation!
• Fill in all the holes on the beach so nobody walks by later and falls in one! Pick up trash / clean up mess / leave beach a nice place. Go eat food. Work on your tan. Actually the sun is bad for you, so bring sunscreen!

Map to Lifeguard Tower 2 at Seal Beach Pier

Do at least 2 Touts of your sculpture: in-progress and completed.
4 Reply Touts – watch your classmates touts and reply to 4 or more “Plaster Casting” Touts.
DUE THIS WEEK: 6 Activity Touts + 2 Read/Lecture Touts

Week 8: 4D: Play with Video

Find a new mobile video app to experiment with

So far we’ve had Art History Activities, 2D Activities, and 3D Activities. Now it’s time to think about the 4th dimension: time. Of course we’ve been making videos all along with Tout, but this week we’d like to think more specifically about the temporal dimension. So find a Mobile Video app that you haven’t played with before and experiment with it. Apps like Vine, Cinemagram, and Viddy let you play with micro-filmmaking. Apps like SloPro and LapseIt let you vary the time dimension specifically with very high or very low frame rates. After you play with your app for a while think of a little “mini-movie” to make with it and make your piece. Most apps either have a website to view videos, or they let you save your creation to your “camera roll” and upload to YouTube. Go to the website or upload your finished piece, get the URL for it, and paste your URL in the text description of this week’s Tout. In your Tout, say what you were trying to think about or achieve in your piece.

3 Reply Touts – watch your classmates Touts, then follow the links and watch their videos, and then reply to 3 or more “4D” Touts.
DUE THIS WEEK: 4 Activity Touts + 2 Read/Lecture Touts

Week 9: Final 1/4: Your Proposal

Present your final project proposal

Wow! We’ve completed 8 Activities, read about Body, Street, and Internet Art, had mini-lectures and artists of the week, and now it’s time to move from weekly Activities to our big final project that we’ll spend the last 1/3 of the course on. Your project can potentially be on anything, but I encourage you to think about the 3 books we’ve read. Maybe an artist, or an artwork, or a movement, or a sensibility from one of the books inspired you and you can use that as a jumping off point for some artwork of your own.

Feel free to brainstorm with each other, or to ask me questions, and if your logistics permit, you could even do the final as a group project with 2 or 3 of you. I’m sure most projects will be single-person, but working with a partner is possible if you want to. Even if you can’t physically get together, it’s still possible to do a “group project” using the sorts of online and mobile tools we’ve been using this summer. So even if one of you is spending the summer in New York and another is in Shanghai, you could still “work together.” In fact, depending on what you’re interested in doing, a “New York – Shanghai” (or anyplace – anyplace else) project could be pretty great. Probably a lot of you will be in the Long Beach area this summer, so having a face-to-face partner is also possible.

When you’ve formulated your solo or partner project you’re going to pitch it to the class. We’ll still use Tout to do this, but this time we’ll let you have 4 Touts to explain your project. Of course that’s still really short, but it should be enough time to give a clear sense of your conceptual project idea, and also of how, formally, you will achieve and present it. You won’t have to respond to each other’s proposals this week, because we’re going to focus on that next week.

DUE THIS WEEK: 4 Final Proposal Touts + 2 Read/Lecture Touts

Week 10: Final 2/4: Peer Review Proposals

peer review of each other’s proposals

The only “Activity” this week is to peer review your classmates proposals. We’re also finished reading books now, so all you’ll have this week is peer review and lecture. That’s nice because this week I’d like you to peer review ALL of your classmates final project proposals. There’s only about 24 of us in the class, so it won’t really take a long time to view everything, but I’d like you to really focus on thoughtful, insightful, helpful feedback on their projects. Is the idea interesting? Will it make you think? Will it be aesthetically compelling? Can you suggest other ways to do the project?

You probably shouldn’t respond to all the proposals in one sitting, because you’ll get stale and not really give each project the full consideration it deserves. Give the best feedback you can give to each project in 2 or 3 Touts. And you’ll also be getting lots of Reply Touts from your classmates on your project. This week we’re thinking a lot about projects. In art we often speak of “Form & Content” or if you like “Ideas & Style.” Both are really important. A piece that’s visually pleasing but has no ideas or concepts behind it probably won’t make a big impact. Like a piece of candy it will be quickly enjoyed and then forgotten. On the other hand a piece that has powerful ideas but isn’t aesthetically compelling, well, we might call that “speech” and it can be important, but it’s not entirely an “art” experience. If you can spend this week helping each other define pieces that really have something to say, and that also intrigue our senses while saying it, then you’ll not only know something about art, but you will also have created a significant work of art.

Take this week’s peer review seriously. A painter in a studio might work alone, but with Public Art, Film & Animation, Game Design, and many other art activities, artists must interact with many other parties. And even the solitary painter will have to negotiate with an Art Gallery Director or a Museum Curator if others are to see their work. As most of you go off into non-art careers, you’ll be constantly engaged in similar activities: you’ll always be presenting your work, getting feedback from others, and giving feedback to others.

DUE THIS WEEK: 24 x 2 or 3, Peer Review Touts + 1 Lecture Tout

Week 11: Final 3/4: Your Finished Project

Present your finished project

And now… Complete your project! If your project is digital or media in nature, then post the project itself, or if your project is physical or installation or performance in nature, then post documentation of your project. You can post on a website or blog or YouTube or whatever works best. As we did in Week 8 with our 4D projects, you’ll post the URL for your project in the description text of your Tout. Your tout can say a little about the piece and then we’ll follow the link to see it. You won’t have to respond to each other’s projects this week, because we’re going to focus on that next week.

DUE THIS WEEK: 1 Final Project Tout + 1 Lecture Tout

Week 12: Final 4/4: Peer Review Projects

peer review of each other’s finished projects

For our last week we’re going to Peer Review ALL of our classmates final projects. Two weeks ago you thought critically about your classmates ideas, and now it is time to think critically about their finished projects.

DUE THIS WEEK: 24 x 2 or 3, Peer Review Touts + 1 Lecture Tout

Comments? Questions? What great art did you see, make, or experience today?

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