Pop Art Self Portraits

Following our Colour Theory unit, the Grade 9 Visual Arts class explored Pop Art! Pop Art is usually easily identifiable from it’s simple, bold and bright images. Some may think it’s called Pop Art because the colours “POP!”, but it also stems from the fact that artists were inspired by images from popular culture. We specifically looked at famous Pop artists:

  • Andy Warhol — known for his colourful, repetitive prints of soup cans and celebrities.
  • Roy Lichtenstein — known for his cartoon-like paintings, often created using primary colours.
  • Keith Haring — known for his paintings featuring thick-lined, simple figures and bright and bold colours.
  • Yayoi Kusama — known for her outlandish, fascinating paintings made up of beautiful colours and detailed dot work

Before we looked at Pop Art as a class, students were asked to research an artist and present on that artist. Three students researched Warhol, Haring and Kusama and were able to provide the class with a bio of each artist and their major works. So going into the unit, the class had an idea of who these artists were and what Pop Art generally looked like.

In order to put our knowledge of Pop Art to paper, students were given the task of creating a Pop Art Self-Portrait! This project is usually done in the classroom using Photoshop and a projector, where students trace their image onto a piece of paper…however, some adjustments had to be made in these circumstances!

Students printed an image of themselves off at home and outlined the key features of their face/upper body with a Sharpie. Then, they used a bright window to trace the lines onto another piece of paper and then “Pop-ified” it!! Pop-ifying varied from applying dots like Kusama or Lichtenstein to using super bright colours all over their face like all Pop artists did. Students were given the option of including a speech bubble (inspired by some of Lichtenstein’s art) expressing something they think about often during the pandemic (e.g. “What am I having for dinner?”).

Check out the results below!

 

Coronavirus Inspired Art

Throughout Visual Arts, we have discussed how creating art is one of the greatest forms of self-expression. We can create art about anything to show what we feel, how we feel and why we feel it. We create art to communicate. There is no right or wrong way to make it. Coronavirus, a pandemic and online school is not anything we saw coming. Lots of questions and emotions can arise from situations like this.

Before the break, the class was in the middle of learning about Colour Theory. Our initial classes online focused on the psychology of colour and the idea that colours can be used to express specific emotions.
What these Academy Art students did was create art inspired by how they were feeling in the initial weeks of the pandemic, with a focus on colours and what they associate with those colours.

The results were all so different! Students had to get resourceful and use whatever materials they had access to at home. Some painted, some drew with pencil crayons and some made digital art or a collage. It was so interesting and inspiring to read each student’s reflection expressing how they feel and what their art signified.

Academy students create COVID-19 inspired art
The thing that inspired me was the way I was feeling. I was sad and lonely and found myself craving socializing…The way I thought of describing it was by a roll of toilet paper and it felt right to do so considering what’s going on. It’s related to the problem going on with the world right now and the roll will unwind and tell more of a story the more it unrolls more and includes how I am feeling via pictures. It is important [to create art] because it helps you express yourself in pictures and let people know how you are feeling as well as let you get some of that weight off of your chest. – SE
Academy students create COVID-19 inspired art
I have been having a lot of FOMO when I was quarantined, after seeing photos and snapchat stories, but in reality there is not much happening out there….My mom is in the right corner not looking very happy. I am in the top left corner crying. I don’t know why I put myself crying but it’s just there. My cat is in the middle between my mom and I. He is having a really good time and is loving the quarantine. I am in the middle thinking there is nothing going on in my house. I think there is all the colour in life, which is supposed to be people and being outside and fun just outside me. I’m not in there, because I’m in the black, But in reality, it’s all black anyways. – AF
Academy students create COVID-19 inspired art
I used black because it sort represents being sad and the red represents people being sick. what i was thinking when i did my art i was thinking about being protected against the virus the red symbolizes the danger because i cant go out -FL
Academy students create COVID-19 inspired art
I used blue to represent how hot the flame is in hell to kill the virus. I also used blue for the splatters to show how calm I feel about this whole situation. The reason why I chose black for the background is that I feel this shows respect for the people who have died; black is the colour of mourning. White is in this piece because for me, white means life, which contrasts the black for mourning. The white represents the people who have survived after they’ve had the virus…Art is a way to express your feelings and deep, inner thoughts. It’s a good outlet for feelings like fear or anger. Instead of letting these feelings build up, you can express them through art. My art conveys the fact that I strongly dislike the Coronavirus. If other people feel the same way, then when they see my art, it might connect with them (and me).- NP
Academy students create COVID-19 inspired art
I chose blue and green because the average colour for a safety mask is blue and if i think of the coronavirus i see green…It’s important to create art in difficult times because art helps express how you feel…I feel like the message to viewers is that people are trying to fight the virus and there is maybe hope. -OS
Academy students create COVID-19 inspired art
I used dark blue, dark purple and orange and brown. I also used a very dark green because they remind me of how I fell during this time and my emotions. Art can help with your emotions and feelings and it is very relaxing for some people that have a hard time explaining themself. – CK
I am inspired by my artwork because I am sad and worried about other people and inspicaly poor people because they can be affected by coronavirus. The colours I chose are beige, blue, gray and white. I chose these colours to make me feel sad about coronavirus. – AE

Academy Dance Committee Events

The YMCA Academy’s very own Dance Committee helped to organize two awesome dances so far this school year! We held a Winter Dance on December 19th. There was lots of candy, gingerbread house making and karaoke. Special catering was provided by alumni-run catering startup “Setonah Catering 2k19”. We held an Academy Alumni Group meeting before hand, so lots of alumni showed up to the dance which was great! The second dance was on February 13 with a Palentines (note: not Valentines) themed dance. We switched rooms from the auditorium to a smaller room where we could turn the lights off completely.

The set-up of the dance looked very cool! There were fairy lights and a black light that made everyone in the room wearing white glow! Somehow, skipping rope was made out of glow sticks and students (and teachers) attempted to jump rope. Pizza was provided as well as delicious snacks made by the fabulous Cooking Club. If this sounds like fun to you, please be in touch with Zoe or Dayna to join the Dance Committee or to attend a future dance. We are hoping to hold the next Academy dance in the Spring! We hope to see as many of you there as possible!

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

Allan Gardens Trip

On Friday, April 12, Zoe’s Art class and Dayna’s Mental Health class went on a trip to Allan Gardens. The Art class had just learnt about Georgia O’Keeffe and her beautiful paintings of flowers. The goal of the trip was to take a zoomed in and abstract photo of a flower to then recreate as a watercolour painting in class. Students took some really interesting photos of different flowers. Some photos were so up close that you could hardly tell it was a flower at all!

Dayna’s class was focusing on relaxing and appreciating beauty in nature. Prior to the trip, the class has spoken about how there is a connection between mental health and the outdoors. Allan Gardens is a place the students can visit to experience serenity only 15 minutes away from the school. Overall, the trip was enjoyed by both classes, because of both the beauty and the warmth of the greenhouses!

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

Contributing to the Urban Forest!

On September 12, three classes from the YMCA Academy took a field trip to the beautiful Toronto Islands to help plant native trees and shrubs to contribute to the urban forest! The Grade 10 Personal Fitness class, Grade 11 Math class and Grade 7/8 class all participated in this great initiative, organized by the City of Toronto. It was a beautiful, sunny day outside and the student’s ended up taking the ferry to Ward’s Island and then walking east towards St. Andrew-by-the-Lake Church. The walk was long but ended up being a nice warm up hike before getting to planting.

Once the classes arrived, a City of Toronto worker gave the students a tree planting demonstration. There are lots of important steps involved in planting a tree, especially making sure that the hole is big enough for the tree to grow in. After the demonstration, student’s paired up and started planting! The students worked together really well and got better at digging and planting with each tree they planted. It was great to see older students pairing up with and the Grade 7/8’s. About 2 hours later, the job was done! Together with other volunteers, our students helped to plant more than 200 trees on the Island! Though it was hard work, the classes did hands on work for a great cause. All students had a great time and were grateful to have spent their morning in such a beautiful place contributing to Toronto’s urban forest.