Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Phamily Photo Phun...

Wow I didn't think it was possible to have so much fun with photography, and also learn about images-how they relate to each other, and how we see ourselves and the people around us in terms of those images. The theme was Family at Tracey Hagen's 'Photo Assemblage' KIDSART workshop, held at her photo studio at Bakehouse Art Complex. We all ventured on into the main gallery as well, so everyone could spread out. Big thanks to Arlys and Lauren of BAC for kindly providing the gallery space!

Of course we could have all stayed in Tracey's studio, but as you can see from the photos, the workshop was packed; and the kids were eager to spread out and get started. Tracey began by explaining a little bit about photography, and let the kids know all about the hundreds of Polaroids taped to her studio walls. Tracey's father was a pediatric dentist in Miami Beach, and he took Polaroids of all of his patients to help them relax. She has started a project called 'Memory', which will involve a full-scale installation including these Polaroids, as well as family photos the kids inscribed and brought into her dad's office. Tracey also showed some old B&W cartoons that her dad would play in his office, to keep his little patients amused. Some of Tracey's large photos on aluminum hung on the studio's walls as well, giving the kids an idea of what an artist has in their studio-and she also showed them the camera she uses to take her pictures.

Then we split into two groups, with Luis taking one group down the halls of Bakehouse, to take photos of each other, and whatever artwork interested them. Tracey led the other group, and we all met at the gallery. Some of the kids had brought family photos from home, and some had uploaded their images to Tropicolor, which donated the printing. Tracey supplied an instant printer, so the photos the kids took in the hallways could be printed on the spot. There was as lot to work with!

Using canvas boards graciously donated by Utrecht Art Supplies the kids began shaping their assemblages (this can be pronounced a la francais as 'ah-sem-BLAHJ', if you like). With a little help from some parents, and Tracey's and Luis's expert cutting, pasting, and placement skills, the assemblages came to life. The amazing thing is that we had 11 kids and every single one came out differently. Some were angled this way, some another-some kids meticulously shaped all of their photos with scissors, while others added markings.

Even with something as seemingly simple as assembling photo collages, the kids' artistic and creative juices were really flowing, allowing them to learn about the relationship between image and space, both linear and geographic. While also enjoying the freedom to let their minds go on an inventive journey. Even if they started out just trying to make a pretty collage.

The workshop was topped off with another super lunch from World Resource Cafe, gallantly chauffeured in during a vicious downpour by artist/volunteer John DeFaro. The Thai donuts were, not surprisingly, a big hit. There was a lot of dipping...

We all sat around on the floor eating Pad Thai and talking about family, and forging relationships with other creative people. I'm pretty sure if the donuts and the iced tea hadn't run out, we would have been there all afternoon! Thanks to everyone who participated. And a big shout out to volunteer Erin McCleary of City Year Miami!

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