Creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, and relationships to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, and interpretations. Several classes at Levey this year are expanding their creative boundaries through a “really cool” project I came across recently: making an Agamograph. I loved it as soon as I saw it. The term Agamograph comes from the name of the artist Yaacov Agam, the Israeli artist who created the kinetic art movement in the 1950’s.
This project is not easy to master. There are math skills involved, a lot of pre-planning, problem solving, reworking, experimenting, and, yes, some frustration as the artwork takes shape. Initially this was to be a color and movement project but after talking to the artists we realized this was a great addition to their academic work, so we tweaked the art to reflect current classroom projects.
Once we decided to shift the subject matter, several students had to start over. I believe in a bit of creative chaos, as it encourages new ideas and energized results. As I walked around, I saw students helping students to maneuver this abstract project, I heard laughter, there was exchanging of ideas, great suggestions and sharing. Several students were not in class the first week, so as a few students were rethinking their work, they also offered to help the new students get up to speed.
During all of this, I let several students start over—especially in the 4/5 classroom where we were working with the idea of sound and light, integrating it with their science unit. This is a hard concept to visualize, and even more challenging to show using lines, shapes, and colors.
As we began to start seeing the artwork come together, one artist was unhappy. Several people at her table had started over, and while that was the right choice for them, this artist’s work did not require a do-over. She asked several times and was frustrated when I said no. There was something amazing there even if she didn’t see it yet, and I wanted her to push herself.
As class ended, I asked her to stay behind to explain that I had confidence in her artwork and am truly excited to see what the end results will be. She doesn’t yet have the experience to see beyond where she is, but as a working artist I know that pushing the boundaries and not fully knowing where the art is going can make for some amazing results.
So, as the artists (and this one in particular) work to finish this project, it is my hope that each artist will continue to gain the confidence to trust in their unique voice and that this “skill” will remain long after the art project has faded. That is the real gift of creating art.
Kristine Biegel is a visual artist and an educator and has been Levey Day School’s art teacher for the past two years. You can see her own art at http://www.kristinebiegelart.com/