Reading 2

Creativity and Imagination: Tools for teaching Artistic Inquiry by Karen Heid

Professor Karen Heid states through her research that “The cycle of visual inquiry  suggests that artists arrive at decisions for making artwork by perceiving  conceiving, expressing and reflecting” and that this theoretical model provides guidelines that can assist art educators in the creation of art lessons for our students. We all do this in our everyday teaching, but I have never thought of putting so eloquently!

The study group for the research was an elementary art class (11 kindergarten and 11 third graders) who were being taught about Surrealism. Using synectics as an approach for the students to understand how two objects that are not normally put together appear normal and metaphors, the students were able to complete multiple tasks which took them through the creative inquiry process. Students created a chart of organic and inorganic items and then brainstormed (fluency) with team members to join an organic and inorganic object into one idea and then perceived how the two objects could become one. The students came up with many ideas and began to formulate images that would mesh the two images into one. The students conceived concepts from the words on the list which lead to drawing (creating) what the two words which became images (symbols). The students elaborated on the ideas and the images visually created by joining the two ideas into expressing in concrete representation of how the two images could believably become one. They used the metaphoric images which took the idea from a literal translation to a visual translation (such as if pigs could fly). With all other aspects of visual inquiry in place, the student could look at the final results andreflect on their ideas, compilations and choices and how they all joined together to produce the work of art AND what was learned throughout the process!

As a high school visual art teacher, I know that these steps are crucial in understanding a process from first conceptions through the finished product… brainstorming, researching, creating and reflecting back on the process from the initial ideas/sketches to the finished product. There is not one step that is more or less important than the other- they are all gears that make a machine run. Without the whole  “package”, there may be skips in the machine or just not function at all. All components create a true artistic inquiry.  This article refreshed me because it helped me to remember that a wheel is a wheel- I don’t have to reinvent it, and I may already be using it, just under a different name.