Henrique Oliveira is one of many inspirations for our next Studio Art project at CCS. He is a Brazilian artist who reclaims scrap wood from temporary walls in the city of São Paulo. These walls serve as barriers and enclosures for various sites.
As the barriers deteriorate with weather and time, different colors and textures appear. Oliveira first noticed this outside his window while he was preparing for his senior show in college. He had begun as a painter, but the colorful scraps of wood changed this. Now he is best known for his fantastic environments, rooms, and vine like sculptures. In 2011 the African Museum of Art, in Washington, DC included Oliveira’s work with that of Sandile Zulu. To walk around and within his installation work is transforming.
Our goal at CCS is to create an environment from found objects in MINIATURE for an invented character. One of my students has created a character from grocery store twist ties. He is also, as many of my male students, an avid Minecraft player. The object of this “indie sandbox” game is to craft multilevel structures from various kinds of building blocks. I want the students to use the Minecraft game as a model for their own creative process. As I am not a gamer or a 14 year old, my own way of getting into the process is closer to The Borrowers, a fantasy novel series by Mary Norton. Her characters are tiny people who borrow small every day objects likes buttons, spools, thimbles, pins, and other detritus that collects in most households, to build their own houses.
In preparation for this project we will watch a slideshow (included below) of art made from found objects, determine how many and what kind of rooms or environments we want for our character, and students will divide into groups of 2-3 to design on paper their ideas. After we have a design we will need to collect these objects from home. This will include shoe box, mint tins, buttons, pins, scraps of plastic or small containters, thread, needles… A list will be sent via email to parents to help them start the process.
As storage is an issue, we will have to build small and store our sculptures in the supply closet of the church. Of course, as the itinerant art teacher, I will carry as much as I can in the back of my jeep as well. As we construct our environments we will post pictures on this blog. Enjoy the ride!