Street Art Collage
Year Levels: 4 – 10
with Dee Zabel
Click Here to download Lesson Plan
In this activity you will explore the work of Portuguese street artist, Bordalo II, and create your own relief animal collage. A collage is normally flat, however this will have 3D elements and come off the page, like Bordalo II’s artwork.
There are many different types of Street Art; stencils, graph, paste ups, and installations to name a few. Street Artists, like most artists, often develop a style and gravitate towards different themes in their artwork such as different types of lettering, large murals, pieces or characters/cartoons. Bordalo II is known for his large-scale relief installation artworks of animals. These 3D installations are created from trash, then some are spray painted to make the animal look real. Bordalo II is motivated to create these artworks to make people aware of consumerism and waste, climate change and how trash is killing the world’s wildlife.
This activity is great for linking to sustainably as most of the materials you will need can be repurposed from around the house. To start, it’s time to clear out your kitchen, bathroom and bedroom drawers! Straws, empty tubes, bubble wrap, bottle tops, paper clips, safety pins, egg cartons and cardboard are all winners.
Your collage can be left as is, or if paint is available you might extend your students to paint their collage realistically.
*There are several steps in this activity, and it would be best completed as a series of shorter lessons to allow for tuning in, collecting, planning and making time. Instructions are included as to how best break up each part of the unit.
Art Elements & Principles
Shape, Texture, Form, Balance, Contrast, Unity
Cross-Curriculum / Capabilities Links
Sustainability, Ethical Capability, Science (Biological Sciences)
- What do you notice about these artworks?
- Why do you think Bordalo paints just half of some of his artworks?
- Bordalo II creates relief sculptures, how is this different to creating a sculpture in the round?
A relief sculpture ‘comes off’ a background. You cannot see the back of the sculpture.
A sculpture-in the-round can be viewed from all sides (i.e. a vase or statue).
- Have you seen any street art in person?
- Do you think these artworks were created legally or illegally? Why do you think that?
Legal: Looks like it took a lot of time, neat, the artist has signed it, it’s in a sensible place, the quality of paint.
Illegal: Looks rushed, messy, unfinished, in an inappropriate place such as a train.
- Where have you seen street art that is legal/illegal?
- Melbourne is known for its street art culture, however there are rules in place to ensure that people do not vandalise property. Even Hosier Lane requires the artist to seek permission to paint on a building from both the owner and council. Do you think this is a good idea?
- Some of Bordalo II’s work is done for gallery exhibitions, why do you think street artists have gallery shows?
- Create a relief collage of an endangered animal.
- What materials can you collect around your house to repurpose in this artwork?
- What shape is your animal? How will you position it? Front on? Side on?
- Paint your animal with acrylic paints in a realistic style.
- Make a 3D animal sculpture using recycled materials.
PART ONE: Tuning in, planning drawings and collecting materials.
Step 1: Begin by watching this short video with Bordalo II.
Step 2: Create sketches of three endangered animals with a focus on shape, texture and pattern. These are rough ideas. Experiment with different views of your animal – front, side or top views.
Step 3: Collect a range of materials from your home to use on your relief collage. See materials list for suggested items.
PART TWO: Making a Relief Collage.
To build your relief collage you will need a sturdy background surface. This can be made from part of a cardboard box or just a piece of cardboard.
Step 5: Select your favourite animal drawing from your practice sketches.
Sketch your animal onto the background. Make sure the animal fills most of the background.
Step 6: Start by cutting out background shapes with cardboard such as the head or body. These will need to be glued down first and other features layered on top.
*You will need a strong Craft Glue for this. Supertac is highly recommended as you only need a small amount and it will reliably hold tricky objects in place.
Step 7: Begin building up objects to create your animal collage. Start with bigger objects first, and add smaller/lighter objects on top last.
Think about the textures Bordalo II uses in his work, and what textures and patterns are on your animal.
Taking it a Step Further…
EXTENSION ACTIVITY 1: Paint the Collage with Acrylic Paints
When complete and the glue has dried, The collage can be painted using acrylic paint. Here are some options to try:
- Paint the animal realistically like Bordalo II.
- Paint only half of the animal.
- If you have mainly used cardboard in the collage, you may like paint it bright colours like the raw materials Bordalo II uses.
Try painting the background to look like a wall. Sand and PVA can be added to paint to make a more textural background.
EXTENSION ACTIVITY 2: Creating a 3D Animal Sculpture
Bordalo II also creates free-standing sculptures. Try your hand at creating another animal sculpture that can be viewed-in-the-round. When finished, install your sculpture in the garden, footpath or around your home to photograph.
EXTENSION ACTIVITY 3: Story Writing
If your animal could talk, what would it tell people about what’s happening to their environment? What do people need to know to save its species?
Discussion / Reflection
- What was challenging when making your character?
- If you could paint your character anywhere, where would you paint it and why?
- Many of the artworks included in this unit have been long since painted over. How would you feel if your work was painted over? How would you feel if your artwork was tagged?
- If you did any of the extension activities: Which material did you enjoy using the most? What was more challenging or advantages of using different materials?
Materials & Equipment
- A good-quality Craft Glue (like Supertac)
- Recycled / Found Objects, such as;
- Bread Tags
Coffee Cup Lids
Corrugated Cardboard – Carboard box
Old pencils, pens or markers
Mesh from fruit bags
Objects: Flossers, string, keys, etc.
Plastic Food Trays from Biscuits
Don’t have these materials at home?
Click Here to view recommended materials
Related Artwork, Links & Sources
- Investigate artist Bordalo II (Full Name: Artur Bordalo)
Visit his website to learn more: www.bordaloii.com
- Look at images provided (below) of Bordalo II’s artwork for inspiration.
- *The images provided here are all copyright free and available from Creative Commons. (Source links are provided for each image)
- Click Here to download Lesson Plan
- Click Here to view recommended materials
Image Source Links:
Share Your Outcomes!
How did you go!? We’d love you to share your artwork with us on Facebook or Instagram!