'Chimera' - mythical creatures
Chimeras can be found in legends, fairy-tales, and modern fables. They are often mythical creatures made of multiple animal parts that contain a special power or spiritual significance.
Initially, students created their chimera using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Students drew their completed designs onto aluminium etching plates using an engraving needle. The plates were then seeped in ferric chloride; a mild acid that bites into the engraved lines, creating visible marks. Students used repeated lines and patterning effects to suggest multiple textures and to enhance a sense of three dimensionality in their creature.
Each student attempted to complete a small edition of prints using an etching press. Ideally, each print in an edition is identical. Fastidious and uniform technical skills enable the students to create a clean and perfectly aligned print.
contemporary still life
During Term 1 students were introduced to the topic of Still Life with particular focus on Dutch Vanitas and contemporary variations of still life. Vanitas still life emphasises the transience of life and certainty of death. This is often contrasted through symbolising wealth, death and power. Contemporary still life tends to focus in on the visual elements such as line, colour, form, space and texture. With this knowledge, students composed their own still life arrangements. Using skills acquired in soft lighting and DSLR photography, students captured their still life arrangements. The process was an exciting milestone for the class as it marked a new experience.
At the end of 2020, the then Year 9 Visual Arts students completed a ceramics unit based on the works of Finnish artist, Maija Liisa Vasenius. Students created conceptual links through an expansive study of abstraction and drew upon Elsworth Kelly’s Cite and the influence of John Cage and Jean Arp’s ideas about chance. The introduction of William Burrough’s ‘cut-up and fold-in’ literary techniques inspired the title of this series, after his 1961 novel Soft Machine. This series of artworks explores the relationship between machine shapes such as cogs and wheels, and their connectedness to the human form.
animation for social action
Participating in elective Visual Arts in year 9 has provided the class with many new skills and opportunities. With our focus on New Social Realism (a realistic portrayal of relevant social and political content though art) and poetry, we began the study of the artist Richard Lewer. Richard Lewer was a great example of an artist who employed slam poetry as a backdrop for his animated work. He explored themes such as racism towards Aboriginal people, prompting our class to look for slam poems with themes that meant a lot to us and were pertinent to today's society. Some themes explored by Year 9 were sexism, misogyny, racism, violence and climate change.
To gain a better understanding of how we would approach the visuals in our individual stop motion animations, we revisited Richard Lewer's animations and paintings, as well as Gustav Corbet's photos and paintings. We picked slam poems that fit our particular interests and planned what to draw in accordance with the poem using thumb nail sketches. In order to voice over our final animations, we had to learn how to recite a slam poem energetically and emotionally.
Throughout many weeks, we spent time in and out of class drawing using charcoal and pencil, painting, and exploring other mediums throughout different scenes. With the app 'Stop Motion Animation' on our phones, we ended up taking roughly one thousand photos each. We undertook this assignment slowly and carefully, being aware of every detail, such as making sure our phones didn’t move an inch from its strategically balanced setup between photos or making sure that the lighting was consistent throughout all the scenes. With a new set of skills learnt, we were able to construct minute-long stop motion videos with a voiceover of us reading a slam poem discovered online, about an issue in society that we are passionate about.