Rex Ray is a really fun artist to introduce to students not just because he has a very unique approach to creating art, but because he is contemporary and still alive! A lot of the time we focus on master artists who lived a long time ago. I love finding contemporary artists to throw into the mix to keep things fresh!
Super quick background information on Rex Ray (I can’t help myself): Rex is a San Francisco based graphic designer who one day stumbled across one of his advertisements in a magazine. His ad felt stale to him and Rex had the sudden urge to reassemble the image. He cut it up with his scissors and formed a collage by gluing together his old, familiar image into a new formation. He began making several collages every night before going to bed. The next day, he would turn these small collages into giant paintings. This became Rex’s new art technique: destroy something familiar and piece together something refreshing new out of the old pieces!
We started off by painting color fields using warm colors. Kids love this part. We put on some music and let our paintbrushes fill the page with reds, oranges, and yellows.
When these were dry, students were told to cut up their color fields into 2-4 panels. We mounted our squares and rectangles of color onto black paper and glued them down. Some of the kids were reluctant to cut their artwork, but they seemed happy with their new pieces when they did.
Once everyone had their panels glued down, I demonstrated the tissue paper bleeding technique. Students cut out shapes from cool colored tissue paper, placed them on top of their color fields, and painted liquidy glue directly on top of the shape. Kids loved watching the colors spread and thought it was cool that the colors underneath shine through. (Like a stained glass window!)
Next week, we will finish tissue paper bleeding, add some details in oil pastels, and make frames out of construction paper. I look forward to sharing the final pieces!