Wednesday, October 29, 2014

an artist answers:)

A couple weeks ago, The 4th graders did a line drawing project that was inspired by the work of James Marshall (aka Dalek). Instead of doing the usual exit slip, I had the kids write a letter to the artist. They needed to use a few of the vocabulary words we were learning about in their letter. I encouraged them to think of a question they would like to ask him and include that in their letter.

When I wrote my post about the project I selected 3 letters to include. I then emailed James the post and he generously took the time to write back to each of the students. Very cool stuff! I then sent his responses to the students' classroom teachers, so they could share them with those students and their classes. 

We have heard back from artists before, but this is the first time individual students have gotten a response from one of them. I look forward to continuing with the letter writing exit slips from time to time, to give students a more personal experience with writing about art.

Below are the letters and James' answers. Thank you, kind sir!

In response to Andre's letter: I have tried to simplify the tools and ideas
to make it easy for people to connect and get involved with the process. Its
important for me in art to show others that art isn't as complicated as they
may think and to encourage everybody to express themselves creatively.
We use house paint tape and paint rollers as the primary tools. We also used
a chalk line to mark our lines before we paint. So we will measure on the
wall and then pop a chalk line from one point to the other and then tape off
that area and paint it. I learned from watching and working with other
artist as I progressed. So in all things being open to learning new ideas
and trying new processes will help strengthen your abilities.. I think it'd
be great if the world had more artist.. So I hope you and many of your
classmates continue to work on art and develop your skills..

In response to Nevaeh's letter : I definitely like to draw for fun and to
explore ideas. Sometimes I will think of something in my mind.. Or see or
hear something that is striking and it makes me want to draw it out and
think of ways to put it together into a painting.

In response to Sofia's letter: I enjoy abstract ideas because they have more
freedom for exploration and interpretation for me. I enjoy ideas of light
and space. Those simple things that strike us in our environment that we
aren't really sure why but they have a profound effect on us. With the mural
in colorado I wanted to capture the idea of the late afternoon sky in
colorado which is full of these pinks and purples. The rays of light
breaking through the clouds and over the tops of the hills. And also to
capture the fading of it from bright to dim as the night sky rises.


  1. Wow! Your students must feel so happy (and empowered?)

  2. This is awesome!!! How cool to get a letter from a real-life artist, especially one that is so well known and renowned as Dalek! What a meaningful experience for your students :)