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Where Will YOU Go? (Grades 3–5)

Inspired by Chuck Tingley and Matt Grote's AK Public Art Project weego

Background

Chuck Tingley is a Buffalo-based artist primarily focused on figurative representation in drawing and painting. He and his painting partner, Cincinnati-based artist Matt Grote (a.k.a. OGRE), have created a number of epic murals throughout Buffalo.

weego, at 1503 Hertel Avenue, celebrates nostalgia for cartoons, video games, and other imaginative preoccupations of youth. Not only vibrant and whimsical, it’s very playful, with lots of youthful imagery. The imagery of this hot-air balloon fleet was inspired by the classic Nintendo, arcade, and puzzle-based board games of the artists’ childhoods. Tingley and Grote were particularly interested in how these play-based scenarios offered opportunities to escape to an alternate world, taking one away to a space that is more imaginative and immersive. As adults, they realized the value of the childlike wonder spurred by these games and the experience of playing together. Their design is an attempt to reclaim humor, whimsy, and fun as having the same power to transform our everyday lives that great art does.

Chuck Tingley and Matt Grote's weego, 2018, at 1503 Hertel Avenue

Chuck Tingley and Matt Grote's weego, 2018, at 1503 Hertel Avenue in Buffalo. Photograph by Tom Loonan.

Materials

Artmaking

  • Drawing paper
  • Black pen or marker
  • Coloring tools (pens, markers, colored pencils, crayons, etc.)
  • Optional: Paint and painting supplies (brush, cup for water)

Guided Play

  • A big box or a container (like a plastic tote)
  • Scarf and sunglasses (or goggles)
  • Paper
  • Pencil/pen

Vocabulary

Mural: a work of art (usually a painting) created directly on a wall

Nostalgia: remembering fondly (wistful affection) of the past, typically for a period or place with happy memories

Whimsy: behavior that is unusual, playful, and unpredictable, rather than having any serious reason or purpose behind it

Discussion and Video

Begin by using the Teaching Tips and Tools for Discussion. Ask students to notice all the different elements they can find in this mural. An example of how to bring in information about the artist from something your student observed: If they mentioned that the image on the top right looks like a Rubik’s Cube, or various games along those lines, you can bring up that the mural is celebrating nostalgia for the artists’ childhoods in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

Next, watch the Albright-Knox's video about the artists making the mural, below.

Lead a discussion about what students have observed, with questions such as: What do you think about two artists working together to make one work of art? Is that something you would want to try to do or would you prefer to make art by yourself? Why or why not? Is it OK for art to sometimes not be serious? When you make art, do you like making art that is serious, funny, and/or weird?

Artmaking Activity

Overview: In this activity, students will draw a hot air balloon–like object from their imagination. Using color, students will be encouraged to add whimsical patterns and designs to spur fun, silliness, and play.

1. First, brainstorm with your students some of their favorite games, sports, or toys. Write them down in a list. Students should draw any patterns or designs to decorate their basket. Once their basket is ready for its balloon, have them choose one or two items from the list.

2. Using coloring materials, students should draw those items as their balloon. Encourage them to get creative, and show how their object can be stretched, enlarged, or shrunken. Remind them to make it look like a hot air balloon that they would want to go for a ride and travel around the world.

3. Lastly, students should either paint or color in their backgrounds. Ask: You are way up in the sky—what would be around you? Pink clouds? Green birds? A colorful kite?

An alternative for this activity is for the student to make the art along with another family member to get a feel for what it was like for Chuck and Matt. They can take time to discuss what the top of their balloon will look like—what designs will they use? What colors should they use to represent both of them? They can collaborate on the drawing and coloring, sharing different aspects of the artmaking.

A teacher's example project for the artmaking activity

A student's example project for the artmaking activity

A student's example project for the artmaking activity

A student's example project for the artmaking activity

A student's example project for the artmaking activity

Guided Play Activity

Overview: In this guided play activity, students will pretend that they are "flying" to a destination of their choice. While they are in the air, they are to use their imagination to go through each of the five senses to create the environment. When they are done with their "flight," they then write down everything in their "flight log."

1. Explain to your students that it’s time to mimic the bottom right hand corner of the mural. If the students have a box or a container (like a plastic tote) that is large enough to sit in, that’s great. If not, they can just sit in a chair to pretend. Encourage them to put on a scarf, and sunglasses, and then enter their "flying" container.

  • Ask: Where do you want to go? Why do you want to go there? (If there are younger siblings in the house, they can go too!)

2. Now the students should embark on their adventure.

  • Ask: What do you see around you? Do you feel anything? Is it windy way high up in the sky? Are you snacking on anything? Do you hear anything? Are there any good or interesting smells?

3. Once the students arrive at their "destination," ask them to leave their container and write down their flight log. It can be a description of how it felt to go on that "flight." 

  • Ask: What did you see? Feel? Smell? Hear? Taste?

Wrap-Up Discussion

How did it feel to make a work of art completely from your imagination? Did you like including things that you enjoy outside of art?

If you collaborated with someone to make the art—share what that experience was like. Did you like making an artwork with someone else? Why or why not? Would you want to do it again? What would you call your duo?

Optional: Share your creations on Twitter or Instagram with #AKBeyondWalls and #MuseumFromHome!

Additional Resources

Check out Chuck Tingley’s work on another AK Public Art project, The Freedom Wall.

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