Fabulous Teen Class Animals

Teen Gallery

During term 2 the wonderful Jess Johnston (teen class teacher) shared her body and face painting skills with the class.  Here are some of her notes on the processes that the students went through to produce the final images.

"A quick overview of the things we looked at in this project:
We begun the project by looking at various source images – both of hands painted as realistic animals as well as photographs of the animals themselves.  We discussed that not everyone in the class could choose the same animals as each of our hands are different shapes and hold different features.  The paint that we apply to the hand should use these features in some way whether it is to embrace that context or to create an illusion and disguise it (ie. by following the lines/folds in the hands to our advantage to hide the ‘hand’)

The students then begun working on pencil studies of their own hands –  both flat and in multiple contorted positions.
With these options in front of them they were able to choose an animal they thought would suit their hand or the shapes they were able to achieve.

From this point – with a solid image in mind – they were able to start thinking about how to achieve that final piece. We looked further into some techniques touched on last term using different types of brushes and sponges, how to create textures and realistic impressions of animals skins, furs and feathers. Conventional and un-conventional tools. Use anything you can find in different ways and see what effects you can achieve. Practice and experimentation!

+ Undertones and use of colour – learning to see a colour as not just yellow or green or blue, but a composition of light reflecting the world around something as well as the properties of the thing itself.  Eg. Enhancing the realism of our animals eye by acknowledging what surrounding colours may be reflecting into the mirror-like surface of even a black eye colour.

+ Importance of context, embracing the whole shape of the ‘hand’ or using illusion/disguise to change the context.  Context also of the final objective being a photograph – to be viewed from one angle only, with one background, no movement.

+ Ephemeral art forms, constant states of change and various states of ‘completion’ including the final piece that disappears as well as the documentation and final photographs of video that are kept as a new art piece as well as a record of the original piece.

The students were aware of my other work and asked if we could touch on some ‘special effects’ techniques too, so as group decided they would like to look at including prosthetics.  We used fimo to create the original positives and the negative mould, then a ‘home-made’ substitute for latex which is easily re-moulded when heated and requires no extra cosmetic glues.  Not all students chose to use these pieces for their final pieces but all were able to learn the processes.

The students agreed the biggest challenge for them throughout this project was understanding the time management factor.  They had multiple lessons to practice the smaller, more difficult/time-consuming elements of their piece and were mostly able to master these elements during the individual lessons.  This allowed them to understand that they were more than capable of achieving the results they wanted to and to understand the techniques without time pressures.  We discussed each week that on the final day they would have time warnings every 15mins and only 1.5hrs in total to arrive, set up their space, complete their work and photograph it.  Most made sure they arrived early so had a little extra time but It is amazing how quickly the time disappears when you’re having fun!

You can see Jess's work on her website JJ Face and Body Art