This project was influenced by student readings from select pieces of literature that featured many kinds of differences -from racial to religious, to cultural and many more. Once we each read a passage from a book, we silently went to the wall and wrote the word that came to us as we read. This “word wall” remained for reference as we began to brainstorm ideas for a drawing based on the theme of Embracing Differences.
We also looked at “Outsider Artist” portraits as we learned to draw portraits ourselves. The website called outsiderfolkart.com was a source for examples of portraits created by artists who have little or no formal training in art. Two examples are shown below.
Below, Cher Shaffer, Outsider Artist Harriet Wiseman, Outsider Artist
The assignment was to create a portrait that expressed the idea or theme of difference. Any medium or combination of media could be chosen to complete the drawing or collage. For this piece, the idea and expression of thetheme of difference was more important than perfect accuracy in size and placement of the features of a face. The artists’ written statements about the meaning of each piece were designed to inform a viewer about the students’ intentions in making the piece, and are an integral part of the project. Below is an axample of one of my student’s explanations, as well as a photograph of her at work on her composition.
“My vision for this drawing was to show how easy it is to stereotype a person based on anything and everything – except for their personality. The words on his face, a few of the many labels we put on each other, all describe his physical traits, looks, background, and people he interacts with. The only thing I wanted to have showing his inner depth and character are his eyes, which contrast strongly. Although he seems sad, or even weak, his eyes reveal a hidden strength. This one boy is representing the pressure to conform and the feel of being an outcast that everyone experiences.” Mary Boyd Crosier 8th Grade