Fantasy Collage

By Varga, Susan | School Arts, December 1999 | Go to article overview
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Fantasy Collage


Varga, Susan, School Arts


Surrealism was an art movement in the first two decades of the century. The imagery of Surrealism is the stuff of dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and free of convention. Surrealist artists created this dreamlike imagery by the juxtaposition of incongruous elements of reality, painted with photographic attention to detail. The element of fantasy was heightened by the blending of the familiar with the unfamiliar and by the contrast of the likely with the unlikely.

From Real to Surreal

For this lesson, fifth graders used photographs of real objects juxtaposed in an unreal way. They also had to do an observational (realistic) drawing of a surprise object that had been hidden in a bag, by studying shading, blending of colors, and proportional relationships. The object was a familiar, everyday item, that had to be placed in an unlikely environment. We changed its scale and function to create a surreal object.

The goal was to free up the students' imagination and to appeal to their fascination with the fantastic. At the same time, the lesson satisfied the need to learn how to draw realistically from observation. I challenged students to arrange and organize their collage pieces into an interesting composition. Through an historical overview of Surrealistic art, students also learned about an important international art movement.

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