Ian Sands has taken a new position at South Brunswick HS Check out it out!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Does Choice Really Matter?

This year, the art teachers at Apex High School incorporated a few new teaching concepts into the class room. Influenced by TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) and class choice, the students were given more freedom to make decisions about the art they would make and the materials they would select. 

As teachers, we enthusiastically posted the what, why and how of our new process. We received many questions and comments from other teachers. Some shared our excitement while others were more skeptical. However, the one piece that was missing from all this was the student’s reaction.

As part of a final blog post assignment, it was suggested that we ask the students for their opinion. Here is the question as it posted:

This semester we introduced a new way of teaching and learning. Students had choices in subject matter and materials. Explain your thoughts on how effective this was (or if it was not) to your learning experience in this course. Provide examples through your art projects so we can see evidence of your learning.

The responses we received from the students were overwhelmingly positive. Here are a few of their answers:

I really enjoyed the new style of learning. I was able to to explore many different mediums and styles. I even did unassigned projects. I also learned about using multiple mediums to create one piece of art. I used acrylic and spray paint on my "sticky situation" project. The freedom the new way of teaching allowed me to do this.

The new method of learning art introduced to us this semester is easily one of the best methods to learn creativity and to expand horizons. I think the ability to choose a medium and your subject allows for greater creativity and encourages taking risks. If I were told what medium I should use or what subject to depict, I would never have learned how to use plaster and wax.

I thought that allowing students to pick the subject of the project and the medium was so much more effective then having a set subject. By letting us decide what our project was going to be you got 30 unique different art projects instead of 30 projects that all look very similar. 

My experience in Art 1 wasn't great because my teacher didn't allow me to really do anything I wanted to when it came to the composition of my pieces. I was almost considering not moving on to Art 2, because I thought I was just going to be told what to do for every piece again. It wasn't very fun for me to create art that I didn't have a say in. But I'm really glad that I did go to Art 2, and now I even want to move on to Art 3

This change in teaching was critical to my learning experience in this course. In Art 1 last year I learned how to make perspective, how to blend pastels, and draw the same piece of fruit as the rest of the class. While that was helpful, it did not allow for very much creativity. So when I came to class I was still in the Art 1 mindset. After a few days passed I realized that I was not going to be told what to draw or paint and no idea would be put down. I would never have produced the projects I did this year in an environment like the one in Art 1. As stated before, the biggest things I learned this year was how to take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, and experiment with new materials.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Project Flop: Good Lessons From A Bad Teacher

The only class I ever failed in college was ‘Intro To Art Education’. Ironic, as I am now the Arts Department Chair at Apex High School. So why a book about failures? Because I believe I can’t take credit for my successes unless I take credit for my failings. There are hundred’s of books about classroom successes. This is a book about failures

Kindle Edition on Amazon 
Paperback on Amazon

All project start off with the best intentions. Whether you create the lesson from scratch or borrow it from someone else, in your mind you envision success. You write your lesson trying to plan for every situation that may arise. The supplies are laid out, a presentation and a demo are reviewed and practiced, and everything should go off without a hitch.

Then, be it fate, a misalignment of the planets or perhaps the art gods are angry, the lesson falls apart. Regardless of your preparation the students don’t understand. As for your enthusiasm, the class simply doesn’t share your zeal for the project. You try to pull it all together but in the end, for lack of a better word, it fails. Worse off, you take it personally. You feel like you failed. You will be happy to know that you’re in good company.

Project Flop consists of stories from some of the biggest failures that Ian Sands ever taught at Apex High School. Some projects were domed from the start, others appeared successful till an unexpected twist occurred.

Kindle Edition on Amazon 
Paperback on Amazon

Here are some of the best failed projects!

I wanted a project that would out do any project we had done before or probably would do again. I came up with the best idea in the world. A giant replica of the Mona Lisa created out of balloons. Click Here to see The Monalloon!

Interactive Chalk Mural:
I was standing in the courtyard watching the students snap photos of their friends inserted in the art. I leaned over and asked the creative writing teacher what she thought, expecting obvious praise. “I hate it,” she said. View the Interactive Chalk Murals!

Expressive Skittle Portraits:
The project created a class full of students weary of gluing rows of candy, angry moms tired of purchasing Skittles, and a hungry mob that circled the trailer waiting for any chance that the door might open. View the Skittle Portraits!

Broken Kites:
March comes in like a lion and after having been cooped up all winter in a musky auditorium, I thought it would be fun to take the Art History class outside and let them feel the wind in their hair. View the Kites Project!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Semester Ends..

As we end the 2013 Fall Semester and look forward to the upcoming 2014 Spring Semester, let's take a minute and listen to the Singing Starfish...

Singing Starfish created by Carrie. See more of her computer art here!

Friday, January 17, 2014

AOE Conference Winter 2014

On January 25, 2014, Apex High School art teacher Ian Sands will be presenting at the AOE Winter Conference!

'Project Flop: Good Lessons From A Bad Teacher' - Ian Sands (AOE Team) 

All project start off with the best intentions. Whether you create the lesson from scratch or borrow it from someone else, in your mind you envision success. You write your lesson trying to plan for every situation that may arise. The supplies are laid out, a presentation and a demo are reviewed and practiced, and everything should go off without a hitch. 

Then, be it fate, a misalignment of the planets or perhaps the art gods are angry, the lesson falls apart. Regardless of your preparation the students don’t understand. As for your enthusiasm, the class simply doesn’t share your zeal for the project. You try to pull it all together but in the end, for lack of a better word, it fails. Worse off, you take it personally. You feel like you failed. You will be happy to know that you’re in good company.

Check out the conference info here!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Student Spotlight: Emorie - Art Three


 In my perspective project, I took it as how people look at their world and what their perspective is on life and the world around them. Before I started this project, I asked people how they read: LIFEISNOWHERE . The majority of people said that it read as, " life is no where" while some small children and one classmate read it as, "life is now here". so in my project, I could really find out who's glass is half empty or half full. 
 I chose to just write the letters together in block letters so it was easy to read and wouldn't take away from the idea of the viewer to not really think about what they are reading, so that it's more of an instinct. A lot of people that were reading it would say, "life is no where" and then try and correct themselves saying "life is now here" trying to decide what they wanted to say or not. However, I always looked at what they said first when I asked them what they saw in my art. I chose to paint it on wood because I liked the texture and how "lifey" it looked. 
I chose to use the gradient so people who read it as "life is no where" had the element of black but then people who read it as "life is now here" had the green to represent life and balance it out to where one color wasn't causing an impact on the viewers' decision and thought process. Towards the end of my project, I noticed the wood had a shiny element to it so I sanded everything that wasn't painted so the letters would pop more. 
What bothered me about this project is that after someone would read it in whichever way they thought it was meant to be, I told them what the other option said also, and they would say, "what is the right answer?" There is no "right" answer. There is not one specific way an individual should think about life. There isn't a certain outlook everyone should have. Everyone is different and has gone through different things in their life to get them to see the world in their own way. Everyone has their own perspective on life and that's what gives the world diversity. 


Another one of my ideas for the layering project were to do the layers of melted crayon wax on a piece of cardboard (or another type of medium that wouldn't be affected by the heat) and put all different shades of blue on it and cover the whole thing. Then, in the middle, put yellow and make a sun. 

To me, layering is a way to show everything you want to over time. I think that the layers at the bottom or underneath are just as important and meaningful as the layers that show more. I just think that the layers on top have overtaken the layers on the bottom. They can be the same thing, just maybe a new version or a different type of the same thing. I showed my interpretation of layering in my project by melting multiple layers of crayons on styrofoam balls. On some of them I put string around them after the first or second layer to then peel it off at the end to show the past layers better.

I decided to use the crayon way because I had seen people do the melted crayon wax on a canvas and let it drip and I liked how thick it looked on the canvas. I decided to use styrofoam balls because I wanted my project to be 3D and not just on a paper or canvas.

The issues I had creating this piece were that sometimes, the string would peel everything off the ones I was giving a deeper layering sense to, so I had to do it a couple of times to get it to work the way I wanted it to. The wax also didn't mix well so I had to add sort of a clear medium wax to get it to mix better.

We encourage risk taking in art. Risk taking can be as simple as trying a new technique or learning about a new medium to as complex as trying something totally new. What risks did you take creating this project? I took a big risk I think with this project because I normally do not do sculptures and I have never used any sort of wax. So, i was very nervous while in the process of making this.

Of the 5 characteristics of great art, I used the new and medium characteristics. I think my project turned out good. I like the way they sit on each other and the different colors. 

The "Student Spotlight" posts are excerpts taken from our student blogs. 
You can see more of Emorie's Work Here!
You can see all our student blogs here!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Perspective: Final

The only theme given was Perspective... what that meant and how it would be interpreted was up to the students. The range of both solutions and materials varied greatly.  Here are some of the final solutions..

Anamorphosis drawing of a ballet shoes.. This was drawn while looking through her camera phone in order to create the right perspective. All the images above are of the same drawing. The only difference was the angle that the photograph was taken from.

Lou Reed in and out of perspective. This image uses the technique of localized perspective.. the image can only be viewed from one particular angle to be correct.

This student decided to create an acrylic painting of a beach house using 1 point linear perspective.

Life Is Now Here.. Life Is Nowhere .. it all depends upon your perspective. Acrylic paint on wood. Sandpaper was latter used on the background to add texture.

Another example of localized perspective.. when viewed from any other angle this work appears to be nothing more than random shapes and colors.

The I is made from pages taken from the Ayn Rand's book Anthem. The pieces had a whole cut out of the bottom which allowed the work to be illuminated. The I and the lightbulbs are all symbolism easily recognizable by anyone who has read the book.

Robbie is still working on his 5 point perspective project.....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Post 500! 75 Most Memorable Apex Art Moments!

This is the Apex HS Art 500th Post! How very exciting!

To celebrate, we asked former students to compiled a list of
 Apex Art's 75 Most Memorable Art Moments!

1. Last year a rabbit peed on someone's real fur scarf, pretty ironic.

2. There was a bottle of Elmer’s glue, a pencil, and a hot glue gun (which was plugged in and hot) sitting on the table between me and another student. Mr. Sands walked up to it, hot glued the pencil to the bottle and say, "Look, its art!"

3. Student asks "Does hot glue wash out of hair?"

4. Student- "Mr. Sands, I cut my finger, do you have a Band-Aid?"
Mr. Sands- *walks to desk, comes back and proceeds to cover student's finger in masking tape*

5. The FISHH8ME giant license tag from 2007.

6. Walking in day one, sitting down, and Mr. Sands walking in with Chick the skeleton. All he said was, "this is Chick, draw him". About five minutes later, "Oh by the way, I'm Mr. Sands and this is Art I. I hope you're in the right classroom."

7. Painting flowers on your jeep with Paige and Yassee.

8. The time certain art history students wrapped your Jeep in orange paper. We were so inspired by The Gates.

9. You gave us spoiled milk!!

10. Hannah and Jaida gelled Sands hair... and we have pictures to prove it!

11. In Art History. Someone somehow snuck in bohemian rhapsody lyrics into the discussion and then students trickled in until the entire room joined in as we belted Queen in perfect unison. it was magical

12. When Devin crawled into art 3 late while Ms Brokke gave a demo
Katie, YES, I remember he used me as a human shield.

13. Yassee, I used to harmonize with the squeaky faucets

14. YES, GIZMO!!!! And we still won first place!!!

15. Making squirraffes in Computer Art & Animation.

16. Oh yeah, I remember pretending like I was in Computer Art & Animation.

17. Katie, When me Caroline and Alex gave Sands a bee in a box and he opened it and it flew all over the room.

18. 70 Million

19. Nick Pitera

20. That TIME Sands cut Paige’s hair cut off and then taped it to the skeleton

21. During a fire alarm, Michael saved the flag

22. Erin Giant!!

23. Cupcake the snapping turtle

24. When the water heater broke in Pod 3 and flooded the entire building and Sands got soaked

25. Playing “Common Strike”

26. Cheddar fries poster

27. Amanda opens the door and yells, “Bears!” and it’s Mr Sergent.

28. The drill came through wall of the computer lab and hits the whiteboard when they were installing the digital sign in the courtyard

29. Sudkamp got fake proposed to by a student during their land art projects.

30. She also got stopped for hall passes

31. Plastic wrapping everything is Mason’s book bag and everything on Sudkamp’s desk

32. Getting bleach in Tyler’s eye

33. The Bunnies!

34. Getting squirted in the face with the water gun for talking

35. Are you crying?? There’s no crying in Art!

36. Sudkamp hula hooping

37. There were goldfish in a vodka bottle

38. Go Big or Go Home!

39. Post it notes facial features for the yearbook photo

40. Cup Project Fail!!

41. The sink is clogged… again!

42. International Bring A Scone to Art Class Day

43. Hand turkey contest

44. Bob Ross

45. Spray painting the trailer

46. Trying to make #sands trend

47. “Get off that wrecking ball and make some Christmas music.”

48. Someone took the skeleton Chick for a ride in their car

49. Nicholas Sparks is like Mexican food.. Same stuff, different shell

50. Singing: “Turtle, turtle, turtle…”

51. Painting your arms 

52. Colored pencils in the microwave

53. Covering the entire table in paint

54. Breaking the slab roller

55. The C Building is on fire… kiln

56. The Barbie dolls in the art room

57. Keith Haring cake

58. Dumpster diving

59. Stacking cups into a pyramid

60. Happy little clouds

61. Tippy tappy trees

62. Stalker photos

63. Andy Warhol eating a cheese burger

64. Makes great lunches

65. “And to the republic, for which I’m standing…”

66. Scones R Us, that’s on Third. Sweet Low Sweet Scone, that’s on Third… in fact their all on Third. The Scone district.

67. The turtles dead! Oh, wait. No it’s not. It’s ok.

68. Mean Girls

69. Squeaky Shoes

70. No Bad Babies!

71. Triple L, Lady Like Language

72. When Sands explains something and doesn’t have paper so he draws on the table.

73. Knowing everyone’s birthday cause they smell like cake

74. the Art Awards

75. “With liberty and justice for all… even you guys.”



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

3D Scale/Proportion: Final (part 1)

The Art Two class was challenged with creating a 3D work of art that incorporated either proportion or scale. The medium was left open however, they were giving a theme of "Questionable". 

Here's a look at some of the works that are already finished.. more to come.. You can also see the works in progress here.

We had two wax hands created for this project but each followed a different process. This first one was created by creating a mold of the student's hand using clay. The wax was then melted and poured into the mold. 

Different materials that were caught in the wax created a unique texture.

The second hand was carved from a solid block of wax that contained a metal skeleton wrapped in twine. This allowed the project to be burned like a candle.

As the wax melted, the wire skeleton was revealed.

Since the theme was "questionable" this work represents a "fish story" about the one that got away. 

Certain books can be removed from the piece which in turn, reduces the size of the fish.. and the story.

A Mobius strip is a surface that contains only one side.

This modern take on the Mobius strip includes metal, robot-like insects doomed to walk the strip forever.

This fish bowl contains a plethora of tropical fish sculpted, painted and now swimming, submerged in water.

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