Activity 2: Text Based Art
Creative Art Activities in a Time of Social Isolation
We’re putting together arts activities, inspired by the Vega Arts Workshop Series. Anyone can do it! No background in art-making is necessary to complete these activities using simple, low-cost materials in your home already, or easily acquired at essential services locations, such as grocery stores and drugstores, as well as online through retailers like Blick and Amazon. A new activity will be shared every two weeks starting Friday, April 10, 2020.
#HowlAtHome asked first generation graffiti writer Al Diaz—best known for his collaboration with Jean Michel Basquiat on SAMO© that appeared in lower Manhattan in the late 70s—to help shape an art activity that anyone can do at home.
Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Robert Indiana, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as graffiti and Conceptual artists all used text and language in the place of more traditional materials to emphasize ideas over visual forms.
“I consider my work to be illustrated writings. I’ve been inspired by popular songs, literary cliches, epic poems, political slogans or quotes, television jingles, overheard conversations. I also create narratives about things that I see going on around me. All of it is relevant, all fair game.” – Al Diaz
Tag photos of your artworks on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook with #howlathome and #howlhappening to share your creations with us and connect to everyone who Howls at Home! Please email an image of your final project to Howl’s Education Director, Katherine Cheairs at email@example.com”>.
Activity #2: Text-based Art – How to Start Creating A Text-based work
Start with a word, phrase, text or image that evokes a strong impression, makes you laugh, expresses how you feel about a particular topic or object. If you hear or see something that evokes a strong reaction make a note of it. Grab a pencil, notepad or smartphone for brainstorming. Choose any material that has text, such as magazines, paper, newspapers, etc. It’s also possible to start with an object, like a piece of string.
Key Themes: Free Expression; Power of Words & Language
- Pencil and pad for brainstorming
- Newspapers, construction paper, magazines, printed copies
- Paper, canvas, cardboard, inside wall of your apartment for a backdrop and/or surface
- Letter making implements such as rubber stamps or stencils etc
- Markers, spray paint, or chalk
- Computer, a scanner and a printer
AL DIAZ ARTIST STATEMENT
We all have some message, thought or idea that we feel strongly about and would like to share with others. For most of us, the spoken and written languages we use daily are the easiest and most accessible medium for self-expression. Marrying ideas, images, and feelings with form, Words express how we feel: amused, angered or sentimentally “moved.” If we were to open a scrapbook in our minds we would ﬁnd pages of images accompanied by phrases, sentences and single words. TEXT-based work gives words visual life.
I’ve been publicly “using my words” since the days when Jean-Michel Basquiat and I bombarded lower Manhattan with our SAMO© grafﬁti 42 years ago. The act of taking a thought, a poem, a lyrical/rhythmic phrase, an expression of lust, frustration, anger—to write it out and make it visible to others—brings it to life in a unique way.
I consider my work to be illustrated writings. I’ve been inspired by popular songs, literary cliches, epic poems, political slogans or quotes, television jingles, overheard conversations. I also create narratives about things that I see going on around me, like current events. All of it is relevant, all fair game.
Contributing Artists: Terry Arts, Gale Citron,Naomi Gold, Erik Hanson, Ian Knife, Sarah Reynolds, Silvia Sanza, Sal Schiciano.