"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Surrealism Magazine Collage

This is a classic Surrealism collage art lesson- I give it a slight twist by using
a circular composition. This is a perfect project for Grades 6-8 because I find they are so imaginative and funny at that age :)
You need alot of magazines for this project; a variety of different types of magazines helps too- some nature ones, fashion, travel, current events, cooking, etc. This way, students will be able to find a wide assortment of images to mix together. I try to send out a letter at the beginning of each school year asking parents to donate any old magazines; I usually get quite a few this way.
I start this lesson off by showing students a slideshow of famous Surrealism paintings- mainly examples from Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. Have the students point out the things they notice.Talk about the fantasty, dream-like effect of the paintings, the sense of depth, as well as the high realism.
Salvador Dali, "The Persistence of Memory", 1931  Source
Rene Magritte, "The Son of Man", 1964      Source
There is a fantastic scene in one of my favourite movies, "Midnight in Paris", where the main character (Owen Wilson) meets Salvador Dali, along with Man Ray and Luis Buñuel, in a Paris cafe. It really showcases Dali's famous wacky public persona:

Anyway, back to the project... using magazines, students are going to look for strange and interesting images to juxtapoze and put together. Unrelated objects and images.
Think weird and dream-like.
They should look for a large background first- something simple and uncluttered, like a big sky, landscape, seascape, etc. I tell students to cut out a whole bunch of images and then spend time placing them and re-arranging them on the background to see what
really works the best.
So here's an example of a good background: simple, uncluttered.
Use a lid to trace a circle onto the magazine page, then cut it out.

I used to do this project collaged onto a CD. Some of you might remember back in the 90's when AOL used to send tons of free CD's in the mail?  Seriously, how much money did that cost them?! Well, I used to save those, and that's what we used as a base for our collages. Then we strung them with yarn and beads so they could be hung as seen below:

I emphasize that everything needs to be cut out really precisely so it looks polished and very realistic. Make sure your scissors are clean and sharp for this project, in particular. Once all the images are chosen and arranged how they want, they are glued on using a glue stick. Students can add embellishments, if they wish, such as glitter, for extra 'dazzle'.
Ta da!



Phyl said...

Thanks for the Midnight in Paris scene! I love that movie, and that little scene ('I see a rhinoceros!') is just a riot! Yay, Dali!

DoodlesNYC.com said...

That's so strange that you just posted this! I just did a month-long project with a couple of different groups that I teach on Surrealism. Our project looks a lot different then yours: we did a lot of painting, plus collage, and might not (is not) as a tidy looking. But the concept is the same. I'm glad to read up on your experience of it. I live in NYC and took the kids to see the show at the Morgan--a Surrealist Drawing show. If you haven't seen it, you should. They have a great book to accompany the exhibit. Thanks for the great post!

Chesterbrook Academy Elementary said...

Beautiful results;very creative.
Thanks for always sharing the work of your talented students.

Rina k6art.com said...

Hi Miss

Your eighth graders did a great job. I love the circular format - it seems like a little window. It makes you feel like you are peeking into a little surrealistic scene.

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