Every month, our friends at LoLA (Lots of Lovely Art) assemble an art box with everything you need to create three high quality, artist-inspired projects: an introduction to the artist, recommendations on books and galleries to visit, plus all the materials you need to make a true masterpiece. The boxes are delivered to your front door, and a subscription is really fun! (Scroll down for a cool discount!)
These past weeks, LoLA have been sharing some amazing Black artists on their instagram feed, and we asked them if perhaps they could share a bit more about some of them here, as well as one art project you can easily do at home. And here goes! 🙂
There are some tough subjects out there today for kids to get their heads around. Here at LoLA, we believe that art has the power to ignite discussion. Sitting down with your child to paint (or sculpt or print) while talking about artists and their lives is a wonderful way to open up a different type of conversation. Moreover, we find that looking at artists’ experiences through their colourful lives, and then putting ink, paint, or glue-stick to paper, can help children to explore their own feelings.
Children’s art inspired by black artists
LoLA creates special art boxes for children whereby they learn about artists by undertaking creative projects. The projects are inspired by the works of a diverse group of amazingly creative people across time, race and gender. Among this diverse group are a number of Black artists (see below). Some of them have featured in past LoLA boxes; some will appear in boxes in the near future; while others are merely inspirational to us personally.
Alma Woodsey Thomas was an African-American Expressionist painter and art educator best known for her colourful abstract canvases. Her art is quirky; she only developed her own distinctive style – large, circular abstract works filled with patterns of bright colours – when she was in her 70s!
Jean-Michel Basquiat was raised in New York City but lacked any formal art training. He created highly original work that mixed graffiti and signs with the bold and intuitive approach of Abstract Expressionism. He made many highly stylised self-portraits that addressed his personal anxieties and that included African American historical figures, including jazz musicians, sports personalities and writers.
Faith Ringgold became famous for her innovative “story quilts.” Each of these was made out of painted canvas and fabric, and each one told a story. The quilts feature narrative images and texts handwritten on sections of fabric. Many of them have political themes, especially focused on racial equality and feminism.
Chris Ofili is well-known for his highly decorated style and playful exploration of black cultural identity. Born in Manchester in 1968, he now lives and works in Trinidad. Ofili has used resin, beads, oil paint, glitter, lumps of elephant dung and cut-outs from magazines as elements in his painting!
Romare Bearden Not only was Bearden one of the most accomplished African-American painters of the 20th century, he was also a brilliant musician. He co-wrote the jazz classic Sea Breeze, recorded by (among others) Dizzie Gillespie. As an artist, he became best known for his collages, which he created mainly from painted paper, magazine clippings and bits of fabric. These were done largely in a style influenced by Cubism.
Collage inspired by Romare Bearden
Bearden’s art draws on influences from lots of places and is jam-packed with references to history, contemporary social issues, music, people and places. He grew up in Harlem (then a ghetto in New York City) and much of his art reflected Harlem’s links to America’s Deep South, to its music and its musicians. It also reflects the overall excitement and creative energy of theartistic movement known as the Harlem Renaissance.
● Collage is a really fun medium for children to experiment with!
● Print out some black and white photos of yourselves;
● Rip some interesting pages out of magazines, newspapers and old books;
● Search your craft boxes for old pieces of wallpaper and/or colourful paper
● Look at some of Bearden’s work, especially The Block and Three Folk Musicians;
● Think about composition and colour, and what message you are trying to convey.
Then start ripping, cutting and sticking to your heart’s content!
Lots of Lovely Art’s Magical Music box is released on July 1st and features art projects inspired by Romare Bearden, Wassilly Kandinsky and Pablo Picasso. LoLA releases a new art box each month. Subscribe online and get a 20% discount on a subscription, using the coupon SUMMER at the checkout.