Collaboration Lesson 4: Murals

Choose to Create a Painted or Clay Tile Mural
07062012_EDU_basq_warhol_collab_main.jpg
Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Collaboration, detail(click on image for full size), 1984-85, ©AWF

Using Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s model of collaboration, students collectively create either a painted mural or ceramic tile mural. Through researching, planning, design, and execution, students engage in the collaborative process from beginning to end. 

Suggested Time Frame:

Planning session: 1 class
Group Brainstorming session: 1 class
Research/Image gathering: 1-2 classes
Mural production: 1-2 weeks
Discussion & Review: 1 class

Total time:  3-4 weeks (depending on mural)  

Objectives:

  • Students work collaboratively to convey a unifying theme in a mural
  • Students brainstorm, plan, research and gather imagery and texts that reflect the theme
  • Students work collaboratively to execute the mural
  • Students assess their collaborative process as well as the final mural through writing and class critiques
 
Procedure
Glazes used for underpainting on clay tiles
Glazes used for underpainting on clay tiles

Materials:

Mural Planning Handout Brainstorming Themes Handout Toner Transfer Process Handout 
Overhead projectorLarge piece of paper (for mural template)Pencils
**various materials depending on the type of mural created**
Artist Shepard Fairey installing a mural outside The Andy Warhol Museum in 2009. Photo by Renee Rosensteel
Artist Shepard Fairey installing a mural outside The Andy Warhol Museum in 2009. Photo by Renee Rosensteel

Brainstorming and Planning Session:

  1. Discuss with students the types of murals they’ve seen.
  2. Use the Brainstorming Themes Handout to brainstorm as a class. Students must select a theme for their mural as well as four supporting ideas. For example: Schenley students chose “Schenley past and present” as their overall theme. Their four supporting ideas, reflecting the theme, were:
  3. - Students past and present
    - Clubs and Activities
    - The impending closing of the school
    - Public opinions on the closing

  4. After breaking students into groups, assign each group to one of the four supporting ideas that reflect the chosen theme.
  5. Use the Mural Planning Handout for the groups. Each student should fill out his or her own handout as their groups discuss ideas with one another.
  6. Bring the class together to present all four components (keeping a list on the board), then have the class decide as a whole which ideas to use.
  7. Decide on the mural’s size.** Have students research and print imagery, words, and symbols for the mural.
  8. Choose between making a painted mural or a clay tile mural.**
  9. **These may need to be predetermined by the teacher.

 
Students working on a painted collaborative mural

Students working on a painted collaborative mural

Option 1: Painted Mural

  1. Present and discuss the Bellefonte Middle School mural image gallery.
  2. Hang up all collected images, texts and visual elements for the mural.
  3. Discuss composition and layout and make final decisions as a group.
  4. Make photocopied acetates of the images.
  5. Divide students into either a “Pop Art” or a “Graffiti Art” group.
  6. The Pop Art group will follow the style of Andy Warhol while the Graffiti group will follow the style of Jean-Michel Basquiat.
  7. Let the Pop artist group go first.
  8. Using overhead projectors, students should project their images onto the canvas, altering the size of the images by moving the projector closer to or further away from the canvas. 
  9. Students should trace their images, and then turn off the projector and paint.
  10. After the Pop Art group is done, the Graffiti group should repeat step 8 using different imagery and text.
  11. After both groups have had one round of painting, gather the class to discuss the mural, keeping a list on the board of “Next Steps” as they reflect on the following:
  12. - What is successful about the mural? Why?
    - What is unsuccessful?  Why?

  13. Have students carefully plan their next steps to improve the mural.They should consider:
  14. - Content: images, words, symbols
    - Composition
    - Color choices

  15. Once the list is made, each group should repeat steps 6-9 to finalize the mural.
  16. Hold a class critique after the last group is done.
 
Clay tile mural created by Schenley High School students using toner transfer
Clay tile mural created by Schenley High School students using toner transfer

Option 2: Clay Tile Mural

  1. Present and discuss the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild and Schenley High School tile mural image gallery.
  2. Present and discuss Monoprinting and Silkscreening with artist Paul Wandless video clips.
  3. Cut a large piece of paper the size of the planned mural, then draw a grid on the paper that corresponds to the size and number of tiles for the mural (mark a number on the back of the tile and write a corresponding number on the paper template).
  4. Arrange all collected images, texts and visual elements for the mural.
  5. Discuss composition and layout and make final decisions as a group.
  6. Make photocopied acetates of the images.
  7. Divide students into a “Pop Art” or a “Graffiti Art” group and remind them that the Pop artists will follow Warhol’s style, while the Graffiti artists will follow Basquiat’s style. 
  8. Using overhead projectors, students should project their images onto the paper, altering the size of the images by moving the projector closer to or further from the paper. Using pencils, students should sketch their images.
  9. After all of the images are sketched on the paper, cut the grid and give each student a tile. Use pencils and graphite paper to trace the sketched images and text directly onto the individual tiles.
  10. Students should next use underglaze to paint in the color.
  11. After both groups have had one round of painting, gather the class to discuss the mural, keeping a list on the board of “Next Steps”:
  12. - What is successful about the mural? Why?
    - What is unsuccessful? Why?

  13. Have students carefully plan their next steps to improve the mural. They should consider:
  14. - Content: images, words, symbols
    - Composition
    - Color choices

  15. Once the list is made, each group should either work on the tile mural together or break into groups again.
  16. After students are finished underpainting, the tiles should be sprayed with a (lowfire/cone 05) clear glaze. If spraying is not possible, dip the front of the tiles into a shallow dish of glaze.
  17. Group should decide if the mural is finished. If not, students can:
  18. - Use the underglazes again to add/paint over the tiles to improve the mural.
    - Use the toner transfer process or silkscreening on clay how-to handout to incorporate digital and photographic imagery.

  19. Fire the tiles one last time, then place the tiles together and critique them.
  20. Mount the tiles and hang the mural.
 
Assessment

Warhol Education Rubrics

Click the Warhol Rubric headers below to reveal associated rubrics to which this lesson applies.

Aesthetics
Communication
Creative Process
Historical Context
Student Showcase
Collaboration: Schenley High SchoolCollaboration: Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild & Artists Image ResourceCollaboration: Bellefonte Middle SchoolCollaboration: Dillworth Middle School