Looking at Things

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Taught by Jen Messier

Jen is the co-founder of the Brainery and lives in Flatlands with her partner and (too many) cats. She knows a little bit about a lot of things and can teach a lot of classes on the fly. Currently really into hydroponics, cyanotypes, and dyeing things poorly. 

You can ask her anything at jen@brooklynbrainery.com.

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In this class, we’ll do two really simple (but fun!) things: look and talk.  We’ll look at all kinds of art and objects and buildings, say this picture of a duck building I illegally stole off the internet:

and we'll explore the formal factors that make up a work. Things like line and shape, color and texture, material and symmetry. (it's white! it's shaped like a duck and made of wood! it has a door in the middle!) 

Then we’ll take the tools of formal analysis and use them to answer all kinds of BIG questions:


What’s the artist aiming for? (your guess is as good as mine--maybe they want you to stop your car, maybe they just like ducks)


How do they convey meaning through formal decisions?   (through shape! and size, but it would totally be better in red)


Is it successful?  (I'd stop!) 


What criteria do you judge something creative by anyway? (is it pretty? is it going to fall down? it is completely out of context?)


The duck's a lame example, but you get the idea.  During class, we'll project big images of all kinds of things up on the wall, and we’ll draw some on butcher paper too.  We’ll bounce all kinds of smart ideas and opinions off one another, learning not only what we like visually, but why we like it, and how to describe that feeling.  We'll end up feeling pretty good about ourselves and probably also drink beer and eat a bunch of baked goods. 

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