- Curriculum: Art | Language Arts | Social Studies
- Age/Grade: Middle School
- Subject: Drawing
- Materials: Pencils | Markers
- Institution: The Whitney Museum of American Art
- Location: New York, New York
- Duration: 1 - 2 Classes
Keith Haring was interested in how signs are used in many different cultures, from Egyptian hieroglyphics to contemporary advertising on the city streets. He often signed his artwork with a "radiant baby" sign instead of his name. This lesson seeks to explore the signs around us, and to create our own.
To explore signs in everyday life.
An object, word, or picture which has a particular meaning to a person or group of people.
Keith Haring was interested in how signs are used in many different cultures, from Egyptian hieroglyphics to contemporary advertising on the city streets. He often signed his artwork with a "radiant baby" sign instead of his name. It was another way to let people know that a work of art was his.
Pencils or pens
Round white adhesive labels (Avery 5295- 3 1/3" diameter, or Avery 5294- 2 _" diameter) Markers
Masking tape or duct tape
Exploring Street Signs
Choose a street near your school or in your neighborhood where you can find different kinds of signs. You may want to choose one block or one intersection.
Look for signs in all directions; walls, streets, stores, passing trucks, billboards, and advertisements.
Look for signs in all materials; metal, paper, concrete, stone, or electronic sources. Look for signs that flash on and off.
Make a list or draw the signs that you see.
Which signs have words and pictures? What colors are used?
How can you tell what the signs mean?
What can you tell about your neighborhood by reading the signs?
How do signs help people?
What might happen if there were no signs in your neighborhood?
Picture Name Tags
Do you have to wear a name tag? When?
What information does a name tag have? Why?
How do you usually write your name?
Invent a new way to sign your name as a tag or picture-sign.
Choose an image that represents you- a figure, animal, or object.
Think of the simplest way you can make a line drawing of the image.
Practice drawing your tag or picture-signature until you can draw it quickly and easily.
To make a sticker, use a round white adhesive label and draw your tag on it.
To make a button, cut out cardboard circles and glue white paper to the circle, or use an adhesive label.
Attach a safety-pin to the back of the circle with masking tape or duct tape.
Suggested Discussion with Students:
What kind of signs do you see in your neighborhood?
In other parts of the city?
Where do you see most of the signs?
What are signs usually made of?
What are they used for?
How useful are they?
What do they tell you about?