Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gargoyles & Monsters: Fun with 3-D Clay & Design

In this summer issue of Sound Off, we recall some of the last art projects done by CHRHS students in art teacher Russell Kahn's class. As we're always searching for new art mediums to feature, this project first required students to make a drawing of their proposed gargoyle or fantastic creature, then work off the drawing to make a 3-D design in clay as a precurser to working with their hands with more sophisticated elements. How they chose to work the clay, is, what we'll get into. Note: not all drawings of the projects were available at the time of the photos.

"First I wanted them to draw what they were going to make so they could get a realistic sense of how to work the clay. They are starting with this mini gargoyle project and the next two projects will be with plaster and paper mache."
-Art Teacher Russell Kahn

Artist: Emilie Oesterlin

We were supposed to be making a gargoyle and I decided to have more of a bird theme. So I thought that owls watch over things like gargoyles do and I incorporated that theme into my project. 

Artist: Zoe Grant

We were all starting to make gargoyles and mine had legs that were really long and skinny. So, my friend suggested that I make a mermaid instead. I just wanted something to be a little more soft and more feminine than a gargoyle.

Artist: Lexi Hersey

Well for some reason, this one reminds me of a gargoyle and I didn't want to do the traditional (depiction) of one. They're kind of creepy and scary. I wanted something a little more whimsical.

Artist: Sam Ellis

I just kind of wanted it to be gothic, kind of the traditional gargoyle. So I made this more like a bat with wings. I'm very happy with it. I think it came out better than the drawing did.


Artist: Josh Dean

Originally I started off with the Invader Vin concept; it's a cartoon character. Then I decided to put a little twist on it. I wanted to do something unique; everyone else is doing scary stuff.


Artist: Martha Moskowitz

I kind of based this of a gargoyle I'd seen in Paris when I visited. And I tried to bring a gothic approach to it with pillars and the church-like setting. And gargoyles always sit like they own the place, so I made a throne for this one. 


Editor's Comment
I found it very interesting that given the concept  of creating a gargoyle, this art project seemed to divide in its interpretation along gender lines. Most of the boys were more apt to make the gargoyle forbidding, adding more creepy elements to it. With the exception of one female student who had actually seen a stone gargoyle close up while abroad, most of the other girls, on the other hand, tended to deviate from the project's original concept, instead anthropomorphizing the creature into something more visually pleasing and non-threatening or more whimsical.

In any regard, it's refreshing to see how Mr. Kahn allows each student to interpret the project on his/her own terms...even if it doesn't adhere to the original concept. Art is about teaching skills, not getting the formula 100% correct.

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