Saturday, June 6, 2009

Miss I Need Help

The graduation present.
The first thing I changed.

My favorite part of the painting.

The only thing left of the students orginal work.

As a teacher, a comment most often heard is; “Can you help me? I don’t know what to do.”
This past week I tried to motivate my seniors. They were creating graffiti paintings. One student was getting frustrated with his work. “Miss it just doesn’t look good, can you please help me?”

The painting was dark, had lots of splatters and his lettering was all the same size. I suggested he try a stencil. He came back with “50 cents” done in red with a black out line. “Can you make it better?”

I asked him if I could demo on his piece for the class. They were all stuck in the same spot. I repainted the 50 making it bolder. “Can I add some contrast to your work?” “Yep, go for it” was his reply. I added white and rewrote his name. I was having fun and didn’t want to stop. The bell was about to ring and I asked him if I could play around with his painting. I asked him, “What was your favorite sport.” “Basketball” was the reply as he headed out the door.

Looking around the room I spotted a basketball stamp another student had tossed in the garbage. I needed a picture. As luck would have it CD’s with pictures of the students from the basketball season had just been dropped off to the gym office. The coach let me borrow one and with the help of Photoshop I had my photos.

When I was finished the only thing left on the painting that my student did was the cent sign. He received a graduation present from me and the other students had just learned they could create a “Self Portrait” using graffiti style art.


  1. That looks great Karen! I didn't realize that it was a students work to begin with. Wow, you really made it into your own.
    It's got a lot of energy in too - goes with the basketball theme. :)
    I'm doing graffiti art with my students also. They're having a blast!

  2. ok, you must have the MOST amazing job, rewarding and CREATIVE! Such a great story and the end art piece is truly incorporating both of your styles.. I'd call that a masterpiece!

    Many thank yous for wanting to help the pink proj be OUTSTANDING. I'll zip you over the button in email and the details we have at present moment.. it's all coming together perfectly thanks to you guys/girls!


  3. Glad to discover you!
    I was an English teacher though I was at art school a million years ago.
    What fun it is creating with young people.
    Love your art project. I imagine it was a hit!
    I miss it.
    All best wishes.

  4. I'm sure he loves what you did to his work! This graffiti art is SO right there with that age group.

  5. What a gift for your student, I'm sure he learned a lot and was thrilled with your gift of the painting!



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