An Exploration of Lines: Investigating Murals, Lines and the Work of Keith Haring

How It All Began

Last year, the children in Room 13 began an investigation and exploration of lines through various fine motor and sensory experiences. (In our non-graded school, Room 13 is in Early Childhood II, or the equivalent of Kindergarten.) They used their fingers to form lines in the sand. They also used sticks, stones, gems, shells, and marbles to trace different lines. The children then independently extended this knowledge into the communication area of the classroom and art studio. They created line drawings using a variety of writing tools. Later we decided that this was a great opportunity to use our sketchbooks!

Beginning the Process: An Exploration of Lines

As a class we discussed the different types of lines: straight, diagonal, wavy, zig-zag, arcs, broken lines, and dots. Once we knew the vocabulary and understanding of these lines were clear, we explored using only permanent markers to create intricate sketches using only lines.

Artist Study

As the students dove into their sketchbooks we realized this was a great opportunity to find an artist who created bold line paintings. We showed the children some of Keith Haring’s simple, yet intricate paintings, all created using lines. The students were intrigued by this work and amazed at how something so simple could look so detailed. As a class we learned that Haring first began using chalk on the subway walls in New York City to create pieces, allowing them to be viewed by any pedestrian. We also discovered that he painted and drew his art on a large scale. Best known for his murals, Haring created a large portion of his work by using a white background with black lines. He also used vibrant colors with a white background in his work. As a class we were inspired to take this study further.

Creating Our Own Murals

Our first step in recreating Keith Haring’s mural work was beginning exactly where he did, using chalk to practice our line work. First, we placed a large piece of black paper over the entire art table. Students were then able to use chalk to create different lines on the black paper. As members of a community, each student and teacher was able to contribute to this mural. After practicing with chalk on black paper, we then placed a large piece of white paper on the art table and this time instead used black paint to create lines. Once again, our goal was to mimic the art of Haring and paint a large mural-like creation as a community. Finally, after completing our black and white murals we introduced colors into our final mural. The last mural was created with black, blue, red, orange, pink, and green paint on white paper.

Next Steps

Keep an eye out for Room 13’s line mural in the carpool area! After scouting UCLA Lab School for a location that would be accessible to students, parents, faculty, and administrators, the students decided that the carpool area would be the perfect place to create a chalk mural just like Keith Haring did in the subways in New York City. We are so excited to continue and share the culminating piece to our investigation with the UCLA Lab School community.

Una Exploración de líneas: La investigación de Keith Haring, Murales, y Líneas

Los niños y maestros del salón 13

Cómo empezó todo

Al inicio del año escolar los niños del salón 13 comenzaron su investigación y exploración de líneas a través de diversas experiencias de la motricidad fina y la integración sensorial. Utilizaron sus dedos para formar líneas en la arena, también utilizaron palitos, piedras, chaquiras, conchas, y canicas para trazar diferentes líneas. Los niños extendieron este conocimiento, de forma independiente, al área de la comunicación y al estudio de arte. Ellos crearon dibujos usando una variedad de herramientas de escritura. ¡Decidimos que era una gran oportunidad de utilizar nuestros libros de dibujo!

Comenzando el proceso: una exploración de líneas

Como clase empezamos a explorar los diferentes tipos de líneas: rectas, diagonales, onduladas, en zig-zag, arcos, líneas quebradas y puntos. Después de repasar el vocabulario y la comprensión de estas líneas, comenzamos a usar marcadores permanentes para crear dibujos detallados utilizando sólo las líneas.

Estudio del artista

En cuanto los estudiantes empezaron a dibujar en sus libros de dibujo nos dimos cuenta de que esto era una gran oportunidad para encontrar un artista que creó pinturas de líneas. Decidimos investigar las pinturas simples, pero detalladas de Keith Haring. Los estudiantes estaban intrigados por su trabajo y fascinados de que algo tan sencilla podría mirarse tan complejo. Juntos aprendimos que Haring comenzó a usar gis en pizarras del metro en la ciudad de Nueva York. El propósito de este artista fue crear arte que pudiera ser visto por cualquier peatón. También descubrimos que su arte fue pintado y dibujado a gran escala. Haring es mejor conocido por sus murales. La mayoría de su trabajo utiliza un plano blanco con líneas negras. Sin embargo, Haring también usa colores vibrantes con un fondo blanco. Esto nos inspiro para seguir adelante con esta investigación.

Creando nuestros propios murales

Nuestro primer paso en la recreación del mural de Keith Haring fue empezar exactamente como el lo hizo, usando gis. Colocamos una hoja grande de papel negro sobre toda la maesa de arte.  Los estudiantes utilizaron gis para crear diferentes líneas en el papel negro. Como comunidad, cada estudiante y profesor contribuyo a este mural. Después de practicar con gis, colocamos una hoja grande de papel blanco en la mesa de arte y sólo utilizamos pintura negra para crear la líneas. Nuestro objetivo era imitar el arte de Haring y pintar un gran mural como comunidad. Finalmente, después de completar nuestro mural en blanco y negro, incorporamos colores para finalizarlo. Este mural fue creado con pintura negra, azul, rojo, anaranjado, rosa, y verde sobe papel banco.

Próximos pasos

¡En las semas que vienen el salón 13 va a crear un mural de líneas en el área de tiempo compartido! Los niños exploraron la Escuela Laboratorio UCLA para una ubicación que fuera accesible a los estudiantes, los padres, los maestros, y la administración. Los niños decidieron que el área de tiempo compartido sería el lugar perfecto para crear un mural de gis como Keith Haring hizo en el metro en la ciudad de Nueva York. Estamos muy orgullosos de continuar y compartir la pieza culminante de nuestra investigación con la comunidad de Escuela Laboratorio UCLA.

CONVERSATIONS

Who was Keith Haring?

Belen: We are learning about Keith Haring. He draws so many lines.

Ms. Torres:  Keith Haring was an artist! What did he do?

Belen: Lines.

Tank: He drew stuff on subways. He drew with chalk.

Ms. Torres: On the subway or in the subway station?

Belen: On chalkboard.

Tank: He drew on chalkboard.

Ms. Torres: Where did he draw?

Class: The subway!

Ms. Torres: Keith Haring used chalk to draw on chalkboard in the subway station. Do you remember what city?

Class: New York.

Ms. Torres: What else do we know about him?

Belen: He drew different kinds of lines.

Sasha: He draws so many paintings with lines.

Ms. Torres: Did he just draw or paint?

Sasha: He painted with lines.

Ms. Torres: He began with chalk, then he thought: How do I make this beautiful art more permanent? What happens with chalk?

Leo: It gets smeared.

Ms. Torres: His goal with chalk was to allow everyone to see art. This is why he did this on the subway. People were able to enjoy his art, how can he make this into something that will stay and that we can keep, that won’t get erased? He thought if he started using paint, it could become more permanent.

Tait: After he got paint, he could paint by himself. With paint you can’t erase with your hand.

Ms. Torres: Do you think he had a lot of practice by then?

Class: Yes.

Ms. Torres: Artists make mistakes all the time!

Paulo: It becomes part of their art.

Ms. Torres: What was the next thing Keith Haring did?

Chloe Ava: He used black paint.

Ms. Torres: Yes, on white surface.

Tait: He began to use red, and he began to use colors.

Ms. Torres: He used first only red, and then explored more colors and this is what we did in our work.

Tait: He also did art on the sidewalk.

Paulo: He did it in Chicago.

Ms. Torres: Keith Haring used chalk in Chicago, to draw on sidewalks.

Class: In Chicago.

Ms. Torres: He used surfaces; he used rooms, walls, and the floors.

Paulo: Wow! So we would be stepping on art.

Ms. Torres: He used surfaces to create art.

Belen: What does surfaces mean?

Sasha: It means the top of something and the texture of it.

Ms. Torres: He also used…? Color?

Sasha: Yes.

Ms. Torres: He also used color in his art.

QUOTES

“I did zig-zags here, then I did lines there. I also made wavy lines. I also drew curves with blue sharpie. I also did little swirls in the corner. I like to draw. I wanted to draw big curves to see what it looked like on paper.” – Juliette

“I used diagonal lines, straight lines, and curvy lines. I used all the lines in the world. I liked the colors black and brown.” – Lukas

“So, the color indigo is rain. There is a little rainbow and an orange tree in there, too. I also drew the ocean and the sun. The sun is bouncing off of stuff. I used zig-zag, arcs, curved lines, and thin yellow zig-zags. I also learned that Keith Haring is a really good artist. He tried his best and he never gave up.” – Paulo

“Hice curvas para hacer un cuadro. Para los zig-zags hice uno arriba y uno abajo. Hice muchos cuadritos arriba y también hice cuadros chiquitos. También hice mas curvas. Hice olas.” – Sofía M.