Wk 1 Surrealism
"How do we catch the unconscious mind unawares and capture the images of the unbridled imagination?" André Breton
The first day of Spiral Workshop is always devoted to cultivating creativity, using the games and activities of the original Surrealist artists. The Surrealists goal was to tap into the unconscious mind directly, “escaping the constraints that weigh on supervised thoughts.” The youth artists at Spiral Workshop play word and drawing games to create unique and extraordinary results that they would not be able to achieve through conscious effort.
We began by considering the ink blots on tiny pieces of paper. Each youth artist stared at his/her blot until an image “popped out”—much like seeing images in clouds. Using colored pencils, the artists defined and brought out the images they found in the blots, enabling others to see those images also.
After this warm up for further exploration of unconscious content, each artist chose one paper from the many large pieces of black paper with white paint blots, displayed on easels throughout the studio. Using oil pastel, the artists teased the latent images into being. Although this activity was based on Surrealist practice, the group began to experience Expressionist ways of making. The youth artists made their pieces while standing, of necessity using big movements to fill the large papers. The whole body was engaged; the stage was set—on to abstract expressionist painting next week.