new views

Happy New Year 2017 all!  My residency is winding down and there is still so much to do and create.  It has been an incredibly rich and wonderful time being here. Posted below are some of the current things going on…

This is an image of the large mural we have been working on with Beth and her students. They have finished stage 2, watercolor painting over their drawing. This will be their creation of a winter scene for their large bulletin board in the basement.  Stage 3 to come next week….snow.
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The clay work done by several students in now finally out of the kiln and ready to be glazed for their final firing.  You are able to see the detail and objects they impressed into the clay. Stay tuned
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Updates on some of the other projects: the postcard project didn’t get off the ground but it is a good idea for possibilities in the future. The elevator proved to be too difficult and late in beginning to tackle.  However, there is a very special project connecting 2 of the classes with students who have extra needs with some of the engineering students. Photos and explanations to come soon… very exciting. The Honors Humanities class with Mr. Soik are working on ArtPlosion final visual art piece to tie together some of the big ideas they discovered in reading and talking with each other. There will be an end of the year book that documents some of their creations, documentations and finds.

My exhibition in up in the NHSARTifacts Gallery on the 2nd floor. There are 18 wooden paintings with an artist statement about the work. There will be a reception this Thursday from 3:45 – 5:00p. Please join us. img_0804img_0802

 

 

Interview with artist, Rafael Francisco Salas

This month we had art professor and artist, Rafael Francisco Salas visit North High to share his art, influences, and process with our students. 

Rafael Francisco Salas, Untitled Portrait (Houses), oil on canvas, 22 x 42 inches, 2010

Rafael Francisco Salas, Untitled Portrait (Houses), oil on canvas, 22 x 42 inches, 2010

North High Art Department: What/who is your biggest inspiration?

Rafael Francisco Salas: I mentioned a few influential artists – Isa Genzken, Cy Twombly,  and Byzantine artwork

In addition, old country music as it relates the landscape, and then of course the landscape of rural Wisconsin itself.

NHAD: What is your favorite medium to work with?

RFS: Oil paint and charcoal

NHAD: When did you start painting?

RFS: I always was interested in making art, but didn’t begin oil painting until I was about 23 years old.

NHAD: At what age did you start being an artist?

RFS: Pretty much my whole life.

NHAD: Why did you choose to do abstract painting?

RFS: Great question. Abstract art (to me) is able to communicate beyond language. If a painting has a human figure, a viewer responds with the knowledge that the painting has a person in it. But abstraction requires a different reading, that is more personal and emotional. It comes from the gut.

NHAD: How long does it take to finish a painting?

RFS: Sometimes they move along quite quickly, like two or three weeks. Other times a couple of months.

NHAD: Do you enjoy changing your media & materials?

RFS: It’s exciting and very challenging to work with new materials. Sometimes it’s a disaster!

NHAD: Is all of your work based on your experiences?

RFS: Yes, most of it is pretty autobiographical. It’s what I know.

NHAD: What made you want to go into art/study art?

RFS: I always enjoyed it and was inspired to make art. Plus I was never good at anything else!

Artist Statement: 

My current artistic project begins by describing the landscape and its moods that I have observed in Wisconsin.  They include natural occurrences as well as man-made events and architecture which complement and conflict. Our creations and habits rub up against what is native or wild. Those interactions describe our new selves.

The use of non-representational and still life elements in my artwork creates a dichotomy between figure and ground, between the perceived and the felt. Like the nature of the landscapes I observe, the artwork aspires toward a certain nobility, but often illuminates a poignant contrast to that aspiration.

Country music is the appropriate soundtrack.

About The Artist Lecture Series

The Artist Lecture Series is an in-school program at Sheboygan North High School that invites local and regional visual artists to share their journey as artists with the beginning, intermediate, and advanced art classes. Visiting artists present and expose art students to such as but not limited to: a digital portfolio, actual artworks, talk about about careers, and the opportunity to interact with the artists. This program is organized by the Sheboygan North High Art Department. 

How Does Art Unite Us

Drawing Intensive students were given the task of creating an 18″x24″ art advocacy poster addressing, “How does art unite us”. Students chose their own medium/a to turn their idea into reality. Each poster shares how they view art and their lives. 

The above prompt was issued by SchoolArts Magazine as part of an annual art advocacy poster design challenge. 

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Sheboygan North High IMC

Artist Spotlight: Megan Woodard Johnson, mixed media

newnhslogo_copyOn November 15, mixed-media artist, Megan Woodard Johnson visited period 7 Drawing Intensive artists. She talked about her work, her process, ideas, and inspiration. During her presentation they came up with a list of questions. Due to length of time allocated these questions were emailed to Megan for her responses. 

Art Student: How long do you usually take to get your artwork done?

Megan Johnson: I can usually finish a piece in 4-5 days. There is a lot of waiting in my process- for glue to dry, for paint to dry between layers, etc. But once I’m rolling, the image tends to evolve really quickly.

I also frame all of my own work- which can take as many days as the painting itself. I save a lot of money this way, and have control over the details- but it’s time consuming.

AS: How do you sell work? Where do you find buyers?

MJ: The first thing to know is that I sell work by being patient and persistent: I start by having it out in as many different venues as possible: group juried exhibitions and art fairs; art guilds and art center events; art-making demos, open studio tours, and giving workshops. People do not always buy work right away- but they become engaged with me and stay connected via email updates or following me on social media. If they like my work enough to follow me, eventually there is a piece they like enough to buy.

I currently have work in the two John Kohler Arts Center gallery shops and a gallery in Cedarburg. Both opportunities came about because the owner/buyer had seen my work in other venues, and I had struck up a friendly relationship with them, so was easy to find when they had space for new work.

I participate in a few summer art fairs- and have had to do a lot of research to find fairs in places where I think the customers will be interested in actually buying my work. So far for me, that means people in more urban areas, with an appreciation for art and the income for purchasing art for their homes. (For me, large, well advertised shows in Chicago have been great – but I didn’t figure that out until I suffered through some very quiet, local, non-juried art and craft fairs).

I post new work routinely on Instagram and Facebook, and keep my website up to date with work and prices, so have made a few sales through those channels (followers DM me or email me and we take it from there).

AS: Where do you get your inspiration from?

MJ: I find a lot of great art on instagram and even pinterest that inspire my color palettes and sometimes my mark-making and technique.

As for my content, I’m inspired by how intricately humans are linked together, across the globe and across time. I’m also inspired by the things that humans make for practical use- especially old things that show the impact of time.

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AS: Any doubts about your current career?

MJ: No. But that wasn’t true until 2 years ago- and I’ve been at this a long time: I graduated from college 20 years ago.

When I decided to stop doubting my work, I stopped doubting whether I was really deserving of the title ‘artist’. When I stopped doubting that, I stopped doubting whether I should put my work out into the world more, and take more chances with shows etc. When I stopped doubting that, my work began to find its audience.

AS: What is your favorite medium to work with?

MJ: There is no one favorite medium for me, and there is no working in one single medium for me- I love them all, but need to work with them all together to say what I want to say. I have found that I do not connect with photography or digital arts as a maker- I need messy hands and direct contact with my art. (But as an art appreciator and consumer- I love them!)

AS: Are you always proud of your work?

MJ: No way!!! I have made some ugly, awkward, awful and totally un-successful pieces – LOTS of them! I don’t resent them- but I also don’t frame them up and show or try to sell them.

AS: Do you feel that there are colors that you gravitate towards?

MJ: There does seem to be a pallette I pull toward- colors that have a faded, warmed-up quality. I love color in general, and have a very strong foundational knowledge of color theory. (Study color theory very seriously- I really believe it’s the underlying subtle element that will make your art work or not work.)

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AS: You already found your ‘art style’. Do you ever think about starting or trying to find a completely new style?

MJ: I’m 42 years old, and have been making art seriously in one way or another for 25 years. I have a style that in some ways has always been a part of how I make art. Look at college and High School work of mine you will see a combination of clean, almost architectural style drawing with very loose, gestural painting and scribbling. It’s a yin and yang for me- both qualities feel equally important in all parts of my life.

The series of work I’m currently working on- with the layers of collage, the house-shapes, etc. is what is happening naturally in my studio- but I know it will change and evolve. My approach in my own art is to follow a path or a series until it no longer feels comfortable. When I’m restless with what I’m currently doing, I know it’s time to let something new develop.

AS: Do you get nervous to present in front of classes?

MJ: Yes. For sure. I’m very happy talking one-on-one about my work, but a room full of people is a little daunting! You guys were a great audience 🙂

AS: What techniques do you use when making your art?

MJ: Basically, I start by gluing small pieces of vintage paper all over the paper to create a textural background. I slea that with clear acrylic matte medium, and then start painting. I paint with acrylics, then sometimes remove that paint with rubbing alcohol to get a washy effect. I’ll coat over the whole piece with matte medium several times throughout the piece- sealing down layers, and allowing me to then add different mediums on top of the paint: graphite, pastel, oil pastel, colored pencil, gold leaf. I’ll glue down more collage elements to help create the lines of the houses.

AS: What is the best part about sharing what you love?

MJ: I always love chatting with people about what they find interesting. When they find something that I’ve painted interesting, and want to know more about it- or tell me what they’re drawn to, it’s incredibly validating and heart-warming.

AS: How do you price your artwork?

MJ: I have a basic awareness of my material expenses, so I want to cover those for sure. And I want to be realistic not only about the hours that it takes me to finish one painting- but the years of experiences and training I have in this field, so I try to value my work in a way that respects that.

I look to work done that feels similar to mine in size, medium and the audience it might appeal to, to get a feel for how pricing is going in the world right now. I’ve also had good feedback from the galleries I’m with- in terms of letting me know if they think my prices are appropriate. And now, with 2 years of solid sales in this current series, I feel confident that my pricing is solid.

I very much want my work to be priced in a way that allows it to be attainable to buyers, but attainable does not mean cheap. Buyers in my target audience will spend $100 on a massage, a dinner out, a nice pair of shoes or a concert ticket and not bat an eye. Art for your home is something you purchase because it moves you, and it will be in your home for a lot longer than an hour or an evening or a fashion season, so I’ve tried to keep that in mind as I’ve priced my work.

About Megan 

img_2145Early in her art career, she fell in love with printmaking because she was enchanted by the way an image would evolve and build with each new layer of ink. Gradually work, family life, and relocations made access to printmaking equipment more difficult. Experimenting with new materials, she discovered that physically layering actual papers and bits of collected ephemera into paintings and drawings allowed me to make images with a depth that she had never reached with standard printmaking.

Her mixed media approach illustrates how a variety of moments define a total experience. The materials she uses carry the stories of learning, recording, and processing: vintage school books, ledgers, hand- written correspondence. The materials themselves each have a life and history, which is then woven into the stories she tells by adding expressive layers of paint and drawing media.

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The notion of the meeting place between private moments and shared or universal experiences is her constant inspiration. She loves watching the wide range of personal responses as viewers uncover layers in her work, recognizing book pages or documents from their youth, or finding memories pulled to the surface by familiar patterns and colors. These very personal connections for each individual actually turn out to be common shared experiences, as viewer after viewer recalls similar memories and responses.

Megan’s recent work examines the notion of creating private spaces: places, both literal and imagined, that provide a sense of refuge. She is interested in how the creation of a personal space must be unique to each individual, while at the same time the experience of having or claiming these spaces is almost completely universal.

 

About the Artist Lecture Series

The Artist Lecture Series is an in-school program at Sheboygan North High School that invites local and regional visual artists to share their journey as artists with the beginning, intermediate, and advanced art classes. Visiting artists present and expose art students to such as but not limited to: a digital portfolio, actual artworks, talk about about careers, and the opportunity to interact with the artists. This program is organized by the Sheboygan North High Art Department. 

 

NHS Artist Lecture Series welcomes Megan Woodard Johnson, mixed media artist

The North High Art Department is happy to announce its November visiting artist, Megan Woodard Johnson. 

Megan is a mixed media artist living in West Bend, WI. By layering vintage ephemera with paint, various drawing media and found objects she tells evocative stories which speak to universal experiences as well as personal memories. 

She studied Graphic Design and Printmaking at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV. She is a member of the Cedarburg Artists Guild and the League of Milwaukee Artists. She has exhibited her work in numerous shows and galleries in Southeast Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. 

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Muralin’ with Summer School Art Kids

This week a group of middle/high school art students will be creating a 4 foot by 8 foot painting welcoming visitors to the Sheboygan Area School District. This mural will be installed on the 3rd floor stairwell inside the administration building, 803 Virginia Avenue in Sheboygan. 

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Finished Mural

Here are images of their creative process. This process involved designing, selecting, finalizing, and painting their contributions to to the mural. Also, part of the process was to edit the painting to reach the desired result of this collaborative project. Students worked independently as well as in pairs and/or groups. 

A Qualitative Research Study of Arts Education and its’ Impact on Post-Secondary Success. Written by Jenny Sturchio.

This past school year I had the opportunity to work with Jenny Sturchio. She is a grad student at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee. Her ideas for her Capstone Final was to research how secondary art education impacts post-secondary success. The Sheboygan North High Art Department was one of her subjects for this research. I found it interesting to read her perspective on secondary art education and her correlations to post-secondary education. It is always neat to read what others think about the arts programming, activities, and relationships that exist within a public high school art program.

Feel free to download this PDF. Courtesy of Jenny Sturchio. 

Here are some excerpts from her research. 

“I find we are presented with material in a very linear way and are expected to understand it in that way as well. By participating in the arts, it has given me the chance to explore ideas and come to the conclusions in a more fluid manner. Having space to work through things abstractly has been beneficial for someone with a right brain way of thinking” (Answer from survey participant, 2016.)

“By being involved in the arts, I was able to find my passion. Being exposed to and given the chance to dabble in artistic curriculum, it opened up doors that would not have been possible otherwise. In a society where math and science are deemed the only suitably successful careers, including arts is a more holistic approach at education. Art has given me more ways to problem solve, and overall another perspective to walk through the world with. I think it is important to keep the arts in secondary education because that is how we keep it in post-secondary, which is important in creating innovators of the world” (Answer from survey participant, 2016.)

“When dealing with a struggling student they refer to creative teaching techniques to create a platform for the student to find success”.

“Not only do they [teachers] consult with the art department for their own classroom integration, but it is observed that arts-active students are more deeply engaged in classroom activities than those who are not”.

“My recommendation would be for high schools to provide professional development for their teachers that covers arts-integrated education”. – Jenny Sturchio

About

J.Sturchio. A Qualitative Research Study of Arts Education and its’ Impact on Post-Secondary Success: This narrative research project was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master of Arts in Education degree for the College of Adult and Graduate Studies at Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, WI. 50pps.

Feel free to download this PDF. Courtesy of Jenny Sturchio. 

AP Studio Art Portfolios 2016

This school year, 2015-2016, two NHS art students worked on their AP Studio Art portfolios. Both students communicated their intent through varied media such as collage, markers, paint, and artistic vision. These works are on display in the Lower Level from May 18 – June 1, 2016. 

The students arrive in AP Studio Art with a solid foundation in the arts and with breadth pieces of art completed from which to choose. Since AP students have had substantial experience in direct formal art making instruction, the AP class instruction is structured more like a college-level, independent study course where the student and instructor confer to identify an area of concentration for further development based on the student’s strengths, skills, and interests, for example, portraiture, landscapes, abstractions, illustration, and so forth.

Ashley

I am a senior at North High School. I am currently in AP Studio Art and my studio works consists of photographs I captured in the past few years that have a special meaning to me. My artwork tends to focus on nature, and with each body of work, I strive to communicate a variety of emotions to put together a unique portfolio. I used a method called Zentangle to focus specifically on the movement in each piece. I emphasized this element through the use of vibrant lines and the use of value and contrast. Through the different shades and textures, I wanted to tell a different story of my life through the emotions each piece portrayed. Each artwork is a building block that represents a part of my life and what makes me unique as a person.  

 

Mikayla

The inspiration for most of the pieces comes from fairytales. My intention was to take a happy fairytale and distort it in a way that gives it a different or darker meaning.  The overall feeling of each piece leaves the viewer to feel uneasy and a sense of mystery and also a desire to figure out what each piece means. These pieces all hold a story behind them, creating an even deeper meaning.  I experimented with acrylics and collage and even a combination of the two. I feel as though collage creates a deeper contrast and help the viewer form a more solid idea of the work. I also included one piece that does not fit the fairytale theme, “Even The Mountains Have a Song,” for fun and to display that in the midst of creating one theme, random pieces art can create themselves without any intention of them being there.