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The Statue of Liberty Peter Max style!

Our school is only 30 minutes from New York City, so every year when second-graders study towns and cities, the students do a project based on New York City landmarks. When told this year's project was the Statue of Liberty, I inwardly groaned. To replicate 75 or more Statues of Liberty, all green, all the same, was going to be far too boring and not at all creative.

But, wait! Didn't Peter Max symbolize the Statue of Liberty with his Pop art? I looked online and found several examples of Peter Max's work. I also found an excellent book The Art of Peter Max (Harry N. Abrams; 2002), which had pictures of his Statue of Liberty paintings. This could be fun after all.

First, I introduced the concept of "Pop" art to the students. I explained that, as the art world kept changing, artists decided that any "popular" thing could be art--a Campbell's soup can (Andy Warhol), a spoon (Claes Oldenburg) or even a piece of cake (Wayne Theibaud). The Statue of Liberty certainly is popular, so why not make it "Pop" art?

Next, I spoke about Peter Max; many were surprised to learn he is still very much an artist right in New York City. As I showed students some of his earlier work, several of them recognized his style from old record albums their parents had at home--such as Badfinger Say No More, Aretha Franklin Through The Storm and Yes Talk. (Max is often credited for the Beatles Yellow Submarine, but the artist was actually Heinz Edelman.)

To keep things simple, this project would deal with only the head of the Statue of Liberty for this project. Students started their drawings start with a large "U" shape for the face. Next, a crown with seven points was added (points may show or go off the page). Next we added heavy eyebrows and a broad, straight nose.

We then added almond-shaped eyes (not round) and I showed them how to draw lips and a mouth by using a flattened "M" shape for the top lip. Her hair was parted in the middle and draped across her forehead. Some curls were placed on each side of her face.

Once the face was drawn, we outlined it with black paint to create a strong boundary for the colors. This was all done in our first 40-minute class.

The next class we would begin to paint the colors. Any colors could be chosen, but students were asked to limit the colors on the face to two or three colors. We then discussed contrasting colors and what colors they might use for a background, again limiting them to two or three. To make the face stand out, students understood it is important to choose contrasting or different colors for the background than were used for the face.

This project also can work well with markers, for those who teach "art on a cart" or substitutes with two or more lessons to fill. Just use heavy black markers for the outline-then color!

The student work was creative, colorful and individual--very much in keeping with the spirit of the Statue of Liberty and the art of Peter Max.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Elementary students will ...

* understand the Pop-art movement and be able to recognize work in this style.

* use the Statue of Liberty as a basis to create a Pop art work.

* be able to recognize and use contrasting colors to enhance their work.

* be able to recognize the Pop Art of Peter Max and use his style in their own work.

MATERIALS

* Visuals of Pop art, especially the work of Peter Max

* 9" x 12" white paper

* Pencils

* Black paint, brushes, assorted colors paint (or markers)

NATIONAL ART STANDARDS

* Understand and apply media, techniques and processes.

* Understand the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.

* Reflect on and assess the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.

Recently retired, Kathy Cunningham taught art for the North Merrick (N. Y.) Public Schools.
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Author:Cunningham, Kathy
Publication:Arts & Activities
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2012
Words:670
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