Snap, Crackle and Art a Commercial Success in Abstract Design

By King, Steve | Arts & Activities, October 2004 | Go to article overview

Snap, Crackle and Art a Commercial Success in Abstract Design


King, Steve, Arts & Activities


MATERIALS

* Cardboard food containers/cartons

* Rubber cement

* White glue

* Scissors

* Poster board

* Tracing paper

* Assorted patterned or textured papers

* Black markers

* Rulers

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Students will ...

* utilize contour lines to explore the relationship between negative and positive space.

* create a cohesive abstract design incorporating a variety of colors and textures for maximum visual impact.

Rare is the art teacher who hasn't started his or her clay by slurping a cup of coffee and mindlessly staring at the back of a gaudy cereal box. If one has children and faces an assortment of these iridescent boxes in the breakfast table, it makes for a surreal construction of dancing puffed wheal, smiling Olympic champions, growling corn flakes and crunching captains.

It is unfortunate that these cardboard color-rests usually get tossed when their contents are consumed. They actually make a strangely appealing and essential resource for an art project in abstract design.

To start this project, the art teacher must first accumulate at least one cereal box per student. Depending on their daily diet, this is not hard to accomplish if the teacher enlists the aid of art students to contribute an empty box apiece. It should be noted that other commercial cardboard cartons work as well. Boxes that once held crackers or cookies also provide fine raw material. (In fact, though not as unique as "Chartres Blue," there is something explosive about "Redenbacher Red" from the popcorn packaging.)

In addition to cereal boxes, the art teacher should also accumulate a large pile of assorted papers that might include discarded maps, scraps of wrapping paper, construction paper, stale manila drawing paper, photocopied sheets of music, bland gray newsprint or even old posters.

Though multi-stepped, this assignment is quite simple and results are always visually interesting. The most creatively undernourished art student will eat this project up. Think of it as the "Mondrian Munchies." Even first thing in the morning, it's light and filling, and with plenty of zip!

After the cartons are accumulated, they should be sliced down one edge and then flattened to make a rectangular piece of colorful cardboard. One can cut off the box tops to make a perfect rectangle for each student if desired.

Next is the explanation to the students that they will use their flattened cartons of commercial colors to create an abstract design using repeating shapes. The students should decide what shape it is that they will cut out repeatedly and in various sizes. For the beginning students, it is wise to suggest that they cut out triangles. Discourage extremely elaborate shapes, as they are difficult to cut out initially as well as to reproduce. …

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