It’s been an incredibly busy summer creating traveling exhibitions and building a new digital archive, a new Web site, and a new Street Art course. Here is the syllabus for the course.
St. Lawrence University Street Art Graphics!
AAH 3014 SYLLABUS – Fall 2015
In this 200-level studio course, students will work individually and in groups to create street art in the form of wheatpastes, stickers, stencils, silkscreens, and a final project that will be placed in a public venue in Potsdam or Canton. A social media component is also included to meet other street artists, see their work online, and become part of the global street art community. The course will examine concepts of character design, appropriation, memes, tropes, and culture jamming, as well as the “do-it-yourself” DIY punk ethic that is the basis of much street art. In addition, the course offers students the opportunity to conduct research and write about street art ephemera for an online digital archive available on three platforms:
- St. Lawrence University’s Richard F. Brush Art Gallery Street Art Graphics Web site;
- the campus subscriber-based Artstor Digital Library; and
- Artstor’s Shared Shelf Commons, a free, open access international digital image library of arts and sciences.
The Street Art Graphics digital archive is based primarily on contemporary street art stickers and ephemera related to street culture from countries around the world, including Canada, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Indonesia, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, and the United States. Topics addressed include animal rights, consumer capitalism, the environment, football, gender and sexuality, labor, police brutality, political protests, racism, social justice, and surveillance, among others. The course will enable students to use real world examples of street art culture to understand current global issues. Incorporating critical thinking and visual/media literacies, students will learn how to annotate images, hone their writing skills, and contribute their work to a vibrant and unique digital image archive. A digital geo-mapping project at the end of the semester will further contextualize items in the archive. A new Web site for this purpose, entitled People’s History Archive, will allow students to publish mini-exhibitions about street art ephemera with timelines and maps.
- To learn how to create, analyze, and interpret images and situate them in global socio-historical contexts
- To learn about different rhetorical strategies artists employ in order to communicate their various messages
- To improve writing skills
- To gain a better understanding of digital technologies and their real world applications
- To contribute materials to an international digital image library of arts and sciences and scholarly Web sites
Ultimately, this course is about creativity, finding your own voice, and figuring out what you want to communicate as an artist. Craftsmanship and careful attention to detail in your work are also very important.
advertising poster for the Leningrad Department of Gosizdat
(State Publishing House), 1924
Although this is a studio course, there will be a fair amount of reading and writing, which are important skills in your career as an artist. Therefore, even though we will be meeting three hours a week in person, be expected to work outside of class. You are welcome to use the gallery workspace during regular open hours (M-TH from noon to 8:00 p.m. and F/Sat from noon to 5:00 p.m.).
Attendance & Participation
Attendance is mandatory. You are allowed no more than three absences during the semester, but after that, each absence will lower your grade by .50 of your final grade. Late arrivals or early departures will be pro-rated and counted as absences. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to contact a classmate to make up any assignments. Demonstrations and presentations will not be repeated. Cell phones are not allowed in class. Please bring your journal to every class. With advance notice, some classes will meet in the Newell Center for Arts Technology.
Quality of Work
Projects should demonstrate your creativity, idea/source material/research, craftsmanship, attention to details, technical elements and mastery, experimentation, progress, effort, and evidence of time spent on the assignment. Did you go beyond approaching your project as an exercise, and thoroughly investigate your ideas? In what ways?
Evaluative factors of projects will include:
- Development and Preparation
- Prepared for class & ready to work
- Sketchbook, models, or other prep work
- Other research and development
- Overall Craft
- Craftsmanship, care in execution, and attention to details
- Technique/technical skills
- Material and process sensitivity
- Concept and Creativity
- Full development of initial ideas
- Creative approach to concept, original design and content
- Consideration and application of formal knowledge
- Effort and Final Presentation
- Final touches/clean-up as necessary
- Articulation of idea/intent in critique
- Critique skills and comments for others
- Ready for critique on time
The final grade will be evaluated primarily from the quality of your work based on the objectives of the assignments and how successfully these objectives were accomplished. Completion of all work is essential, and attendance and participation are mandatory. While effort will be considered (attitude, progress, improvement), your final grade is based mostly on the overall quality of your work demonstrated in the final portfolio. We will discuss criteria for evaluation as a group, so that everyone is clear about grading.
Work will be discussed in critiques and individual conferences. You will be given grades for assignments in individual meetings at midterm. If you have specific concerns about your grade or would like grade feedback before this time, please schedule a meeting with me. There will also be a final critique and final meeting for feedback at or near the end of the semester.
4.0 – Phenomenal
3.5 – Excellent
3.0 – Very Good
2.5 – Significantly above average
2.0 – Adequate fulfillment of ALL requirements of class
1.5 – Less than adequate fulfillment of MOST requirements of class
1.0 – Passing but not meeting the requirements of the course
0.0 – Failure to meet the minimum requirements of the course
Note: Completely fulfilling the requirements of the course in a solid way is considered a 2.0 grade. To excel, you must demonstrate additional commitment and effort that will be evident in your work. In order to receive your final grade, you must attend an individual checkout meeting in which your work space area is proven to be cleaned and returned to its original gallery condition.
Required Publications @ SLU Bookstore or Amazon
- Stickers: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art by D.B. Burkeman with Monica LoCascio (Cathy will hand out in class)
- Street Art: The Graffiti Revolution by Cedar Lewisohn
- Street Art Cookbook: A Guide to Techniques and Materials by Benke Carlsson and Hop Louie
Other readings will be handed out in class and/or posted in the course’s Sakai site. Please print them out and bring to class when I assign them. Assigned readings are mandatory. Each reading is designed to enhance your learning outside of class and give you the intellectual tools to make, critique, and discuss art. Critiques and artist statements and evaluations must reference the assigned reading. You may be required to write responses or summaries and/or be quizzed on any readings or lecture materials.
Optional Publication @ SLU Bookstore or Amazon
- Street Art Book: 60 Artists in their own Words by Ric Blackshaw and Liz Farrelly
The Owen D. Young Library is starting to build a small collection of resources related to street art. In the meantime, I have brought in several books and journals from my personal library for you to refer to. Please don’t take them from the gallery or lend them to anyone. Some of these resources would be difficult to replace.
The gallery will provide most of the tools and equipment you will need for this course (journal binding materials, X-acto knives, cutting mats, silkscreens, ink, etc., but you should plan on buying a large sketchpad (18×24 inches) from the bookstore, as well as drawing pencils of your choice.
The first class project involves having you create a text-based street name and a visual “brand” or avatar. The avatar can be image-based or text-based, and it is one that you will use, re-use, and refine throughout the course of the semester in your artworks and on various social media sites. You can draw or paint your avatar or use Photoshop, a Xerox machine, etc. It’s “do-it-yourself” (DIY) and totally up to you. Using these street names, you will create primary (or secondary accounts) in Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram, and/or Twitter. On Flickr and Facebook, sign up for at least five current, active groups related to street art (keywords = street art, stickers, wheatpaste, stencils, etc.). You are encouraged to join many more than five groups in order to give you a better sense of the global street art community. Go to my Facebook page to find suggestions for street artists and collectives.
Sign up for regular mailings from:
Bookmark these Web sites and spend some time with them:
- Stickerkitty (Cathy’s research blog)
- Stickerkitty’s Flickr collection (click on “albums” for easier viewing)
- Hatch Kingdom Sticker Museum
- SLU Street Art Graphics digital archive
- SLU Weaving the Streets & People’s Archive
- Artstor Digital Library (campus subscription only)
- SLU People’s History Archive
Later in the semester, I will add you as student cataloguers to the Artstor Digital Library, but be sure to go in and change your password as soon as you get an email prompt from me.
Street Art Studio Projects!
During the course of the semester, we will explore and work in a variety of media related to street art and street culture, including wheatpastes, stickers, stencils, silk-screens, and zines. I am also hoping that we will collaborate as a group to create a piece of public street art in downtown Potsdam or Canton. Projects during the semester may be altered, added, or removed according to the progress of the class and as time, facilities, and supplies allow.
Do the right thing!
There will be designated areas in the Griffiths Arts Center and the Noble Center to display your work. We will also try to arrange other public display areas elsewhere on campus. It is very important that you not vandalize personal, public, or private property in relation to anything you create this semester. Doing so would jeopardize the future of the course and get us all in trouble. If you are caught vandalizing property, you will receive a 0 for the course. Chances are that if you ask, you might be able to post things in certain areas with permission. We’ll talk more about this in class.