Having explored different ways that artists show depth in their artworks through a variety of techniques and media, fourth graders created their own abstract optical illusions as a culminating project to their studies.
Art teacher Leigh Merin challenged her students to draw inspiration from the optical art works of Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley and the way they demonstrate depth, the illusion of movement, hidden images, warping and distortion.
“The fourth graders were inspired by their work and created an abstract piece of work that gives the illusion of 3D paper cones,” Merin said. “With a few artists’ tricks, like shading techniques and working in high contrast of black and white, the students created an illusion where cones truly appear to be popping out of the paper.”
Equipped with a ruler and pencil, the students began their projects by drawing six lines that all intersected at the same point to create 12 pie slices around their paper. Then, they added concentric curves within each slice, making sure to alternate the direction of their curves. Next, they labeled each area that would be colored with black Sharpie in an alternating pattern and carefully filled in the areas. As a finishing touch, the students used a white-colored pencil in the Sharpie areas to create highlights and a black-colored pencil in the white areas to add shadows. When all steps were completed, the students achieved the 3D illusion of paper cones.
“It is amazing when students take the time to complete each project step carefully and thoroughly and then are left in such shock, awe and, most of all, pride that they were able to create such an impressive piece of abstract art,” Merin said.” I have been so impressed with the fourth graders’ enthusiasm, investment and creativity levels so far this year. They have shown a great deal of collaboration, maturity and hard work. They should feel pride in the work they have created.”
Merin said she hopes her students learned that there is an abundance of ways artists can show depth and illusions in their work.
“I hope that they will apply all the different methods they explored in future projects,” she said. “In particular, I hope they are inspired to create even more types of optical art.”