Keith Haring Sculptures

Term: 4 Year: 2019

The brief: to create a 3D sculpture, resembling a figure in movement inspired by the work of Keith Haring. Demonstrated knowledge of construction techniques and design process, whilst reflecting the quirky ‘dance-like’ essence of Haring’s iconic street art figures.
Student agency can be a powerful aspect that drives the direction of art practice in the studio. By term 3 the students expressed a desire to build or construct in 3D. They were ready to learn new techniques and be risk takers.

As a group, they explored and discussed numerous works of Keith Haring, whose engaging pop art approach to graffiti, and figurative sculpture adorns many public places. Numerous questions arose around recognition of style and what identifying characteristics to look for: What was/is his viewpoint/message? Describing and articulating his art practice, design and colour choices, the dialogue between his paintings and sculptures, and so on. Discussion intensified as the exploring and expressing stage in our Unit ended. As any art teacher knows, time is scarce with only one lesson per week, with young practitioners.
The next phase of the Unit included lots of experimentation, as the students designed their 3D responses to reflect the style of the artist in focus.

This stage of the process, was dominated by construction prototypes, and problem solving. Students used their drawings and deign templates to cut from sturdy cardboard (the canteen was a great provider of boxes from the bakery). Students focused on the art elements of “form, shape and space”. Construction methods of tabs and “L” shaped braces reinforced the walls followed by use of a hot glue gun to adhere the walls to the top and back. Papier Mache sealed the edges and created the ‘canvas’. Vipond paint was applied for the base colour, followed by optional detailed contoured patterns with Posca pens.

Throughout the process, the students were encouraged to use art language, design and sculpture related terminology written on the ‘Construction Techniques’ chart, when describing or annotating their work process.

The collaborative installation took place with the help of T-pins to exhibit each 3D figure touching the other on and up the felt wall. This reflected the ‘present and perform’ strand of the curriculum, leading the group into the ‘respond and interpret’ phase. As the student’s see their work in a gallery setting, it serves to instil a sense satisfaction, and presents an opportunity for reflection and response. Furthermore, encouraging students to reflect during and after each stage of construction, lends itself to more authentic artistic process – so it becomes dynamic and informing.

Petra Glaser
Visual Art specialist – Toorak College