Artist: Stephen Braun, featured in exhibition Stephen Braun: Hindsight and Foresight are 20/20
Artwork: Dueling Liars
Process: Stephen Braun makes powerful, challenging ceramic sculptures. Braun says, “I love the planet and all of its beauty. But all I see is loss. I see the scars we leave to support our consumptive nature. We leave a landscape of heartache…it breaks my heart to see how ubiquitous we’ve been in radically changing our environment”. For this exhibit, he’s been making his trademark environmentally, and socially- and politically-themed sculptures. The exhibit includes large, narrative wall-based and free-standing sculptures, some of which encourage audience interaction, including pieces that spin and works intended to be walked directly upon, around, or through.
Age Range: Kindergarten and up
Materials: Recyclables, tape, glue, string, markers/paint optional
1. Gather any recyclable or waste material that you generate throughout the day. Humans create a lot of waste! Your collection might include cereal boxes, cans, paper products, jars, toilet paper/towel rolls - anything that your family might be throwing away could be a part of this project.
2. Spend some time looking at Dueling Liars by Stephen Braun. How do we know these characters are liars? Do you think this artwork is funny? How does the artist use exaggeration and symbols to tell us about these characters? How do we know they are dueling, or fighting?
3 Brainstorm a facial feature or body part that you could exaggerate or alter to signify something about an invented character. You could choose an elongated nose, like Stephen Braun, or come up with your own idea.
4. Pulling from the recyclables you have collected, cut, tape, and glue your materials to create your newly invented facial feature or body part. For example, if you wanted to make extra-large ears to show that your character is an excellent listener, you might trace and cut out giant ear shapes from pieces of cardboard. Remember, you can use scale, humor, and exaggeration to add information about the traits that your invented self has.
5. You can paint your new sculpture or leave it unpainted! You might prefer to use paint to cover up the recycled material that you used or you might think your sculpture looks interesting with the recyclables left revealed.
6. Using tape, attach string to your invented face/body part in at least two places. You can use the string to tie your new sculpture to your body. Now you’re the character! What is your name? What do you want to say?
[Image: Stephen Braun, Dueling Liars, 2019, raku ceramics, approx. 5 x 4', copyright Stephen Braun.]