Bridging the Gap between Ancient & Modern Art.
If you’ve ever taken a look at the sixth grade Social Studies standards it is almost identical to the progression of major art periods throughout Art History. Beginning with the Stone Age, Mesopotamia, Egyptian history, Greek and Hellenistic, and so on. It is much easier for me to collaborate and work with our sixth grade Social Studies teacher on this.
The Stone Age
When introducing a graffiti art lesson, I always begin with the stone age and major events that happened during this time to shape how the world is today. It’s funny to see the expressions on the students faces when teaching them about how the world used to be so much different. There hasn’t always been technology, social media, organized sport and activities, or shopping malls to capture their attention. However, there was one thing that everyone could participate in when it came to being creative, cave art. Cave art paintings were very simple drawings that used heavy earth tones but told a story. The symbolism in each piece was very important because it captured a piece of history during the Stone Age; just like graffiti art today.
TAG! You’re It!
Graffiti artist then and now captures various issues and events throughout history that have made an impact on society. Banksy is one of the most famous graffiti artists in the modern art world today. One thing every graffiti artist does is create a TAG. A TAG is your signature for your art, your stamp on the world, proving you are a skilled artist. With my sixth grade students, I presented information that allowed them to discuss, with groups, the history of cave art, graffiti art, the similarities and differences, and the meaning of vandalism and legality with graffiti today. I provided each student with various art making materials and a plethora of fonts they could use for inspiration showing me their name, initials, or a nickname and symbols that represented them as a person. Once I gave the students those guidelines, I turned them loose for three 45-minute class periods and they created beautiful TAGS that displayed their understanding of the concept successfully.