- Curriculum: Art | Art Criticism | Language Arts
- Age/Grade: Elementary 3 | Middle School | Above 14
- Subject: Drawing | Analysis and Theory
- Materials: Pencils | Markers
- Institution: Art Gallery of Ontario
- Location: Toronto, Canada
- Duration: 1 - 2 Classes
An activity provided by the Art Gallery of Ontario designed to help students understand meanings and representations of symbols and to synthesize 2-dimensional imagery into 3-dimensional forms
To learn about Keith Haring's art, specifically his art-making methods and his use of line and shape to create a symbolic language.
To understand that line may be used expressively to represent emotions.
To understand that shapes may be used as symbols, representing meanings.
To translate two-dimensional symbols into three-dimensional forms.
To participate in group discussions, contributing personal ideas as they relate to symbolic language.
To create lines that represent emotions.
To create a visual language by assigning personal meanings to original shapes.
To design and construct a free standing three-dimensional sculpture.
Pencils and/or markers
Educator's set of Line Cards (large cards 8 1/2" x 5 1/2")
35 Sets of Junior Cards (including 5 line cards and 5 expression cards 4 1/4" x 5")
43 Sets of Expression Cards (including 8 expression cards 4 1/4" x 5")
Blank Cards (approximately 10 for each student 4 1/4" x 5" cartridge)
Drawing the Line video
Arrive one hour before studio program is to begin.
Set up the projector and organize the slides.
Cue the video
Check that line and expression cards are in order.
For Grade 4-6 students:
1 bag for every pair (contains 5 green expression cards & 5 green line cards)
1 bag for every pair (contains 8 red expression cards & 8 blank cards)
For Grade 7-9 students:
1 bag for every student (contains 8 red expression cards & 8 blank cards)
Check that there is a chain, board and 6 blank cards for every pair.
Make sure that the supplies are ready on the table.
For Grade 4-6 students:
Scissors, newsprint, pencils, pieces of Mayfair coverstock doubleweight and colored markers.
For Grade 7-9 students:
Utility knives, newsprint, scissors, pieces of painted corrugated card, black markers.
The first section will introduce the students to the program and its purpose. The Educator will explain that all the art activities that the students will complete during the program are inspired by the art of Keith Haring. Ask the students introductory questions such as "Has anyone ever heard of Keith Haring?" and "What is contemporary art?'. Talk about how Keith Haring's art is connected to New York City in the 1980's.
If there are two groups in the studio, one group will be introduced to Haring's work through a slide presentation, while the other group watches a video. Each presentation will last about 15 minutes.
1. Haring in front of electronic billboard image he designed, Times Square, 1982.
2. Lamppost graffiti by Haring and others, 1982.
3. Tower of people. Chalk on paper, 1984.
4. Baby. Baked enamel on metal, 1981.
5. Pyramid and Spaceship. Acrylic, spray enamel & ink on paper, 1980.
6. Face. Enamel on incised wood, 1983.
7. Barking Dogs. Ink on vellum, 1983.
8. Dogs jumping through person. Vinyl ink on tarpaulin, 1982.
9. Monkey King. Vinyl ink on tarp, 1984.
10. Statue of Liberty, Day-Glo sculpture, 1982.
11. Maquette for Schneider Children's Hospital sculpture, 1987.
12. Sculpture installation. Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. Sculpture Garden. New York, 1985.
Slide Presentation (emphasis on materials)
Eleven slides will introduce Haring's symbols, style and materials.
The first three slides show the Radiant Baby, probably Haring's most popular image. Included is an example of graffiti on a lamppost. Haring was influenced by graffiti art and each graffiti artist had a personal tag that took the place of his/her signature. The baby was Haring's tag. He drew it on lampposts, on the subway and on his artwork.
Keith Haring brought his admiration of graffiti art and his love for drawing together in his subway drawings, illustrated in slide #3. He would ride the subway looking for one of the sheets of black paper used to cover the old subway ads. He would then get out of the train and draw the chalk on the paper. At first no one knew from where these chalk drawings came. Some people considered them graffiti and Haring was even arrested. Ask the students if they think Haring should have been arrested? Point out that the drawings were only done in chalk, they could be wiped away and eventually new ads would cover up the drawings.
The next four slides show examples of the images that Haring repeated in many of his artworks. The spaceship, pyramid, baby, three-eyed face and barking dogs appear in drawings, paintings, public murals and sculptures. Ask the students to describe the materials used in the slides.
The next two slides show examples of paintings on tarpaulins. Ask the students why they think Haring would want to paint on tarps. Together, discuss how Haring painted these pieces: while they were hanging? On the floor? What colours did he use? Let the students point out the symbols they have already seen.
Ask them to describe the images they might recognize in slides #9 and #10 and explain that Haring used lines and symbols to create his own visual language. At this point, explain that the students will create their own visual language by using lines to describe emotions and by developing a set of their own picture symbols.
The last three slides are examples of Haring's sculptures. Explain to the students, that like Haring, they will translate their symbols into three-dimensional sculpture.
Graffiti art (its purpose and meaning)
Materials (the great variety Haring used)
Video Presentation (emphasis on materials)
The video presentation will introduce Haring's symbols, style and materials. Before the presentation, ask the students to make a mental note of the materials that Haring used, including the surfaces on which he drew (chalk in subway, paint on tarps, spray paint on walls ). They should also note all the places they see Haring images (graffiti, art galleries, murals, drawings, floors, walls, T-shirts, sculptures, buttons ). After the presentation, have the students discuss their findings.
Ask the students what they think of the subway drawings. Keith Haring brought his admiration of graffiti art and his love for drawing together in these drawings. Explain that whenever he saw a sheet of black paper used to cover the old advertisements, Haring would get off the subway car and draw with chalk on the paper. At first no one knew from where these chalk drawings came. Some people considered them graffiti art and, as the students saw, Haring was even arrested. Ask the students if they think Haring should have been arrested? Point out that the drawings were only done in chalk, they could be wiped away and eventually new ads would cover up the drawings.
No matter what media he used, Haring used lines and symbols to create his own language. At this point, explain that the students will create their own visual language by using lines to describe emotions and by developing a set of their own picture symbols. Like Haring, they will translate their symbols into three-dimensional sculptures.
Line and Expression Discussion
The students will then return to the studio to begin the Line and Expression activities. Ask the students to sit on the floor. Explain that in all of his work, Haring used line. Sometimes he drew with marker, other times with chalk. Haring's lines were usually of uniform thickness, but we can change the thickness of line to affect the expression of the line. Line can have sound. Show the students two line cards and ask which one is louder. What would the line sound like? Line can have different movements. Show the students two line cards and ask which is faster? Have them think of how the artist's had moved as he/she made these lines. What animal would move like this? Together, the students will examine how line can express feelings. Ask which one of a group of lines is happy. How does this one feel?
Line can express abstract qualities: sound, movement, emotions.
Line and Expression Activity (Grades 4-6)
The students will work in pairs. Give each pair a set of 5 green expression cards and 5 green line cards held together in zip-lock bags. The partners will work together to match each expression with a line. The students will put their cards back in the bags. Collect the green cards.
Give each pair a set of 8 red expression cards (in a zip-lock bag), 16 blank cards and markers. Ask each student to draw their own line on a cue card to match each expression, reminding them that their lines will differ from their partner's. The students will put the red expression cards back into the bag. Collect the bags. The students' line cards will also be collected so that they can be taken back to school.
Line and Expression Activity (Grades 7-9)
Give each student a zip-lock bag containing a set of 8 red expression cards and 8 blank cards. The students will draw a line on each cue card to match each expression. Remind them to think about the thickness of the line. Ask the students to write their names and the expression on the back of each line card. Have each student present one of his/her expression lines to the class. Each student will put his/her green expression cards back into the bag. Collect the bags. The line cards will also be collected so that they can be taken back to school.