Making a creative journal addressing the future calls for a spectacular visualization strategy. Viewing a Japanese animated adventure film by Hayao Miyazaki called “Spirited Away” or looking through graphic novels are ways to teach my students about communicating through their imaginations. In order to project them ten years into the future, they can see by the examples I show them how by using a metaphor for themselves in the form of a super-hero or a cartoon character, they can communicate their untold story effectively. The key then, is in finding the most effective symbol or metaphor to represent themselves.
Three lesson plans will be presented as necessary components of the unit. All three lessons help develop powers of visualization. The art of designing a logo, which reflects the future, is one of the important lessons presented here. We learn the purpose of logos and their value of signifying the students’ self image for the future. I ask them some things to consider:
“What message do you want to convey about yourself?”
“What symbol or letters or character shapes do you want to use to represent yourself?”
“How can you transfer your symbol into a black and white Linoleum Block Print?”
The technique of designing, cutting, and printing their own Logos will be a necessary part of a lesson called “Linoleum Block Logo Prints.” Last but not least we will make a rough draft or as they call it a “mock up” of the final journal. Students will be asked to plan the full ten pages and make the miniature rough copy (5 1/2” x 4”) as a guide for the finished journal. There will be choices they have to make for color, use of materials, style (formal or informal), what metaphor to use to represent themselves. And how will the writing be presented? Handwritten or typed on the computer?
Constructing a 6”x 6” x 6” three-dimensional, five sided UNI-cube out of cardboard will be the lesson to lead us into the unit. The student will choose what he wants to take with him into the future. He makes a thumbnail sketch, which will indicate how he pictures the interior of his cube. The three dimensionality of this project gives him wings and allows his imagination to soar.
Before I present the UNI-box lesson, I will introduce two particular artists whose work creates a different and distinct “sense of place.” The artists are Salvador Dali and Edward Hopper. While the landscapes of Dali are a good example of a surrealistic dreamworld, those of Edward Hopper are perfect in their use of simplified planes against which figures are juxtaposed.
We will discuss the work of two artists whose graphic works are enhanced by writings or words. Joseph Cornell and Frida Kahlo are two such artists. Cornell’s style of working stands in direct contrast to the artist Frida Kahlo. Each one drew from an inner world of imagination but Cornell’s symbolism was mysterious and withdrawn, while Kahlo’s was outspoken and bold. Two different personalities say things differently. Showing a film about Kahlo’s life and a diary that she kept will enable the students to see the sources of her visual expression. Her life provides miraculous determination in the face of adversity. It stands as a powerful lesson for my students whose own success with this unit will transform any prospects of their own adversity into a powerful and positive statement. Their journals will represent their dreams and hopes for what lies ahead. Like Kahlo, the journals will be the place to go to. They can keep my students grounded by reminding them of those dreams.
On the other hand, Cornell’s three-dimensional boxes filled with objects and memorabilia are often assemblages and collages, which represent the inner life of the artist. Each box is like a three dimensional diary of things that caught his fancy. Students are asked to recall the photos and memorabilia that they love. They are asked to bring in objects that they treasure for their journals. After looking at the work of Joseph Cornell we will create our own five sided cube which is filled with a vision of our future. This we call our “Unibox.”