Last week I had a very special experience. I visited the Bialik Rogozin school in the south of Tel Aviv.
The school is 'home' to children who have their origins in 48 countries. Children of foreign workers, refuges from Darfur, immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Arab families and many more.
Many or even most students come from low socio-econominc status and live in the southern neighborhoods of Tel Aviv. Some are Israelli born and only speak hebrew (even if their look is different) while other are newcomers.
The school led by its amazing Principal Karen Tal is constantly battling various problems: parents (in the rare case they are both present) who are at work till the late hours of the day, pending court orders to expel kids from the country for illegal status of their parents and just plain language barriers are just some of their challenges.
The school has decided to have an educational responsibility for students throughout the whole day, and is open till 730PM every day. It is inspiring to see how dedicated the school staff is.
A wonderfully dedicated task-force of volunteers and private donors from the Israeli High Tech Industry and from Jewish Communities abroad has helped the school during the last years so that it could accommodate all its special needs. I'm proud to be now somehow a part of this task-force!
The school is a beautiful mosaic of people. Its multiculturalism very unusual and almost surreal in the Israeli landscape.
I have to say that the response of cheers from the kids when I showed my Obama portrait was specially meaningful in this place.
So finally after returning from NYC I had a chance to look at the wonderful photos Jessica Yeomans from the Society of Illlustrators took of the workshop we had there last week.
Here's a selection!
All photos by Jessica Yeomans
ps: (Here's also Christoph Hitz report about it)
Fernanda who enjoys the formalities introduces Goldin and myself.
Have I mentioned I love to talk?
The Buffet. Anelle Miller filled her car with stuff from Materials for the Arts.
Dear Guy Billout serving himself from the buffet.
Anelle and Kate choosing stuff. Christoph is looking for something else...
Christoph making his great creations which he has already reported about.
Guy concentrating. It was hard to leave the airbrush and pen at home.
Adam Doyle, an illustrator and a former student of Guy.
Zimm and daughter Lila working on minimalist portraits.
Tim and Cassius O'Brien
Stefan Kiefer, Cover AD for Der Spigel
The birds lady...(sorry don't know the name)
Kushena, a lovely FIT student who made a great Self Portrait.
Kate Feirtag from the Society of Illustrators showed her talent by making a portrait of her coworker Tara.
Guy made a "Guy Billout piece" though in a different medium.
Stefan's piece. (he wasn't happy with it)
Great Squid by Nancy Sampson
Great pair of birds by the lady above.
Jessica made these two great bears.
Slowly finished pieces piled up....
(You can see Zimm's great portrait of your friendly host, piven. It is in my studio now, HA!)
...and we enjoyed looking at them.
and had some good laughs.
Stefan, Tim and Guy at my workshop! Talk about pressure. Great picture Jessica!
These three lovely ladies came from NJ. Sorry that I don't recall names.
But their table had a definitive style.
Again I apologize for not remembering the name of the face behind these great faces.
Cassius made 3 wonderful creatures: a hungry skeleton, an ant and a bird.
Tim this amazing self portrait!
Tom's portrait made by Neil, the techie guy at the Society
On Tuesday the 10th at 6:30 PM I will give a "Drawing with Objects" Workshop at The SOI.
Organized and produced by the multi-talented and multi-tasked Fernanda "The Engine" Cohen and with the confirmed presence of the great Assemblage artist David Goldin (aka "The Rusty Hammer") as Chief Advisor.
Working with objects is a great way to get lost in exploration in a playful non-judgmental environment. Even if you've never done Collage or don't see yourself doing it professionally, many of the discoveries which you come across in the process of making Collage are useful tools for any creative activity.
Come play with objects. They might teach you a thing or two...
Tuesday, November 10th 6:30 - 8:30pmThe Society of Illustrators: 128 East 63rd St, New York City
Here's the link with the rest of the info.
Made by "Anonimous" at the Stream
In the last month I had quite an avalanche of workshops with very very different audiences and in very different places.
As I am getting ready to go to NYC next week and have a Workshop at The Society of Illustrators (details to come) I thought I'd post some stories from the last month.
At the beginning of the month I attended Stream, which is a Un-Conference (or Non -Convention) hosted by WPP and intended to be a place for creative ideas to be shared or moved around or something like that. It was held on a great place: a Club Med near Athens. (I swam every day and have to say neither Tel Aviv nor Barcelona have such great Medirranean waters as Greece does!!!) Lots of people involved with online businesses, advertising, Start-Ups etc were there. (in the Conference I mean, not in the water)
My talk was about what can we learn (I claim that A LOT) from playing with objects about creativity in general.
There was quite a lot of good work I have to say. Samples below.
At Stream, the participants make the program so you write your intended activity on a large white board.
Then people can choose how serious they want to be. The range is from a lecture by Sir Martin Sorrell on the State of the World of Global Advertising to a lecture on The Physics of Sperm. (My workshop somewhere between these two)
Love the title Psycho Fez Boy.
Wish I knew the name of the people who made all these great pieces...!
Ok I remember who made this Einstein. His name was Daniel.
Finally a signature on a piece! Great job Kate!
Then I went to my beloved Garbage Mountain in Israel, Hiriya, where I met kids and families near the largest ex garbage dumping site in the Middle East. (I have written about the Hiriya workshops before)
Next was an interesting Workshop with Amdocs, an international hightech company originally from Israel.
It was an opportunity to work with a group of directors in the company and help them create art that somewhat reflected their personal journey. It was a good exercise of using the art as a vehicle to discuss issues.
Another great location. Under a large tent on top of the Dead Sea in Israel. (Sadly I don't have photos of the great landscape but for the connoseurs of the area it was on Metzokey Dragot cliff. The link above can give an idea.)
The "Buffet" of objects was perfectly prepared as usual by Hagar and "Artish".
Just FYI they had to schlepp all of that..JUNK to the middle of nowhere.
People just go back to childhood with all this junk around them. Even you know..serious people.
To end the busy month I had my first Workshop for adults in Barcelona. It was a Workshop for school teachers sponsored by Pritt, the glue manufacturer, as part of their program prittentulista.es. Here are many images from the workshop.
This is part of a program which was magnificently conceived by PAU Education.
I love talking...
Can you tell a glue company sponsored the Workshop?
So if you made it to the end of the post...thanks for reading.
I constantly receive emails and letters with works, pictures or tales of workshops made
using my work as inspiration. While it is a heart warming experience and I hope to get many more of these, it is a bit difficult for me to post about everything that arrives.
I try to add it all to the galleries but since I am a 'one man shop', it becomes impossible since I have to
do my own work too which is crazily busy as is. (I'm sure most of you can relate to this)
A couple of weeks ago I got some pictures in the mail which I knew I had to post about.
The pictures are from a workshop held this past Purim (the Jewish 'Carnival') in Ahuzat Zahala, a Sheltered Community for Senior Citizens in Israel.
The workshop was conducted by Merav Peleg and Anat Bitan Ramon.
I'm adding a text they attached which describes the workshop and the involvement the participants had making their self portraits.
I think, looking at the pictures, it doesn't need an English translation.
Ok back to the Blog (I have been away from the studio for a while).
Last week I gave a Workshop in Shenkar College of Engineering and Design College of Engineering and Design in Israel.
Invited by Itzik Rennert, a member of the Israeli Actus comics group and head of the Visual Communication Department there.
It was the first time I brought my 'Drawing with Objects' workshop to a real Art or Design College. (renamed Ready Made Workshop in order to sound more serious and professional..you know.. Art Schools) and I was curious and a bit worried of what these 2nd year Design and Illustration students, all happily married to their Macintosh computers will come up with, if at all.
The workshop took four days and started with a long talk of mine at the end of which, they were sent to the streets of the city and to their grandparents houses to gather junk. They responded beautifully and the next morning the whole floor of the Design department became a junkyard. Just the way I like it.
The students were asked to create animals, real or imaginary. Not to decide ahead of time what they will make. Rather to let the objects guide them, to follow their forms, to play, to let accidents happen.
There were 100 students so we divided them in 2 groups and each group worked for a day and a half on their pieces approx. Not a lot of time but enough to slowly create, reflect, improve and give a final touch.
It was very exciting. The students took the work to another level and each student took it to their own place: some were cartoonish, some poetic, some political and some abstract.
There were so many great pieces, that I cannot show them all. Forgive me for putting too many as is, but it is hard to edit down.
I am totally sorry that I don't have the names of the students with me (there were a hundred) so I cannot properly credit each animal with their creator but I will work on it.
Initial play with all the stuff that was brought in.
Remember the old PC disks?
The water bottle on his way to become..
The PC disks are back.
The little pinguin is holding a remote control in his hand. (not the greatest picture)
This Panda casted an amazing Panda shadow. The type of discoveries which happened on the way.
The dead mosquito. A favorite of the crowd.
Not sure what it is but it is poetic.
Cute (drunk?) elephant.
Many cleaning jobs in Israel were traditionally held by Arabs, and nowadays by foreign workers. Another big problem in the making which nobody is really dealing with its long term influence. This piece somehow managed to represent all that, at least to me.
never realized that these old screens could become Lion's heads.
I love the student who totally ignores the assignment's theme and comes up with something else completely great.
So of course I didn't manage to post pictures every day from my USA trip. I was way too tired. Came back yesterday and am still processing all these fun and great experiences.
The trip was just great and so many people took care of me on the way: a very partial list of acknowledments and thanks would include Liran Golod from the Culture section at the Israeli NY Consulate who coordinated the whole thingy, Mary Jo and Loren, The Bleich Hermoni family, Sheri and Stacy (the two wacky Texas Librarians), Carla the art teacher who got me back healthy with the greatest breakfast ever before a workshop, Marc and Janice who provided a great place to rest (and eat) in Austin and Galit Dayan for the great LA for beginners class.
The Cultural Attaches at the various Israeli Consulates along the way (Sharon, Deborah, Deborah, Udi) made great connections to the Schools, Hospitals and organizations, and without them, nothing would have happened. Thanks again.
(I just want to make clear that the fact that the American Economy was sort of ruined during my USA trip does not have anything to do with it.. "I didn't do it!")
Here are some pictures of the trip, of some of the workshops from which I had pics and of some of the lovely people I have met.
Arts High School kids in Newark choosing objects. That is one of the most fun parts of the workshop. Love the T shirt of the guy on the left. "The last thing I would do is hurt you. (but it is still on the list)"
Ground Zero from the Path coming back from Newark.
Getting of the Path up to WTC Station.
Proud kids showing of their work in the Ocean County Library in New Jersey.
Some pictures from the Boys and Girls Club workshop in Charlestown, Boston
In Boston I had the opportunity to visit with Mark Peter Hughes whose book cover Lemonade Mouth I have illustrated. (thanks Leo for this picture)
and of course if you are in Boston you hang out with the Espinosas. Here we are in front of my favorite painting in Leo's cool exhibition.
An interesting workshop was in the LIFE (Independent Center for the Elderly) in Philadelphia. It was the first time ever I worked with elderly people. It was a different experience. The pace of work and the energy were different to what usually happens in the workshop. Some adjusting was needed but at the end we had a great time.
Mural across the street from the Life Center in Philly.
The visit to the Commonwealth Academy in Alexandria, VA was one of the highlights of the two weeks. Such fun students.
Self portrait at the CWA
Black cat at the CWA
Parker explaining her image of the dangerous Dragon lurking behind the innocent black horse. It hangs now in my studio.
Deer walking around the house of Yonina and Yossi in Rockville MD.
Love this portrait of Michael Jordan made at the Sixth and I workshop in Downtown DC.
The opening of my show at The Sixth and I Hystoric Synagogue in DC was on Sunday the 21st. Here I am with the two "original" candidates.
My Low Cholesterol diet was suspended once I arrived to Austin and Marc and Janice Burckhardt started to show me the stuff you eat in Texas.
Wouldn't you suspend yours?
Deep in Texas with the lovely ladies, librarian Sheri Wersterfer and the fifth great teacher Cec Pearson who got a Grant to get me to their School, the Startzville Elementary and to the Hoffmann Lane Elementary, another school in the area. I love Texas.
Working in Startzville
Ok I don't think I'll ever top this one. My dinner with six women. (Inner Drawger comment: Take that Edel!)
Stacy and Sheri, the two smart Librarians who brought me to Texas with their School Principals and Arts and Fifth grade teacher.
Sheri got really good at finding faces. Here's one she found.
The last stop on the trip was Los Angeles where I did a workshop for LA's Best, an afterschool education program.
It was a small and calm workshop to finish two packed fullfilling weeks.
The trip was a trip. The only problem I encountered was that my eyeglasses broke in DC. That same day I found this face on the DC streets.
That's it, hope somebody made it through so many pics...
On Friday I had a great visit to Newarks Arts High, the oldest Arts Highschool in the USA.
When we arrived there was a fire drill going on. Here's an article in the Newark Live site.
Beautiful and talented kids.
One of the atendees in the workshop I gave at Materials For The Arts in Long Island City
(that amazing place deserves its own post)
was a young 4 year old girl named Sofia Rodriguez.
She made this beautiful pig jumping rope
I think she called her Olivia