Appropriation plus

There are many teachers who invite students to take other artworks and appropriate them, altering things to create a fresh view if you like.

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duchamp-mona-lisa demo-mona dali-mona

Like many things Visual Artists use to generate and develop ideas, this has long been a valid one, either as a way to appreciate another artists work by making a direct copy, or altering it in some way to add interest to the original or to alter the meaning of the original in some way.

Many appropriated works I have come across still hold a strong connection to the original (like the mona Lisa examples above). I was thinking perhaps the work could be taken further without being just a creative springboard towards creating a new work on a similar theme.

For instance take a more abstract piece and alter it to look like a work in the Artists style but clearly your own, or what about taking a digital photo of the image and altering it radically in a photo manipulation program and seeing how much unlike the original you can make it.

Perhaps you take a work done one way (a painting for instance) and make it a lino cut or a drawing.

Consider making a work which may still have original elements which you play around with to create a new composition. I figure you could have a lot of fun this way and find some fresh areas to explore.

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Easy 3D

When it comes to making 3D art, there are people who might say, “Oh it requires too many tools, takes up too much space, gets too messy”. etc… Well it doesn’t have to be that way, it can be scaled down in some instances, and does not have to be permanent either.


Here’s a way to explore some 3D and get you thinking about the differing visual values 3D Artists have to deal with (space and form being just two.)

Get some lengths of poly pipe (PVC pipe plumbers use) and create a suitable layout, of a range of pipe lengths standing on their ends.

Now decorate the pipes.


– Varying the diameter of the pipes can add interest.

– What sorts of paints can be used?

– The pipes can be sanded and repainted.

– Consider limiting the amount of pipes, try working with just five.

– What if the base area of the work was limited? How does that change things?

– What historical connections can we make? Totem poles, Tiwi Poles, Message Sticks, bollards.

– What could be added to make the poles say more… Words, other materials.

– How will you design them on paper?

– How will you transfer the designs to the poles?

– What sorts of themes can you explore with these? How well does the medium fit to the theme?

– If they are on a base, how will they be attached?

– Are other Artists doing this sort of thing? How will you find out…

– What will you write in your visual diary to show the process of working with the poles?

– What are some of the ways you can extend the activity to give it more impact or interest?

– What examples can you find as a basis to explore from?

– Which are better? realistic images or abstract ones?

– What if the poles are done in a range of similar tones, rather than motifs?

So there are a few starting points to explore. Now see how many variations you can come up with, feel free to send me some pictures to post in here as examples.