Sunday, April 3, 2016

PTA Sponsored Academic Visitors in Residence Program 2015/16

Throughout the school year Singapore American School has had the pleasure to host a number of visiting artists within the high school visual art suite. Two hundred art students from the printmaking, art foundations, digital photography, and advanced digital photography courses had the special opportunity to work with these professionals to gain authentic learning experiences within these subject areas. 

Printmaking & Art Foundations Classes Tamae Iwasaki the senior education and outreach officer from the Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI) provided workshops for the art foundations and printmaking courses. Students were introduced to traditional and alternative forms of printmaking and created works using printmaking techniques using a combination of materials. The following workshops during her visits were inspired by the techniques, ideas explored, and used by artists during their residencies at STPI:

Frottage & Rubbing: The process of using drawing tools such as graphite or pastel to make a rubbing over an uneven surface, capturing imprints of textures and forms inspired by Korean artist Do Ho Suh residency project at STPI.
Image curtesy of STPI

'Poor man's Lithography': Students created their own fantastical creatures using an alternative form of lithography inspired by Filipino artist Ronald Ventura residency project at STPI.

Image curtesy of STPI

Jane Lee inspired mono-print and screen print: Students created an inspired mix media print artwork using a combination of mono-print and screen print. Singapore contemporary artist Jane Lee moves away from abstraction and formal explorations to painting to discover print and paper, combining unconventional materials to produce dynamic installation works that fully immerse the viewer, as she considers themes of entrapment and freedom, taking on a figurative approach through new visual metaphors such as birds and nature.

Image curtesy of STPI

Ryan Gander inspired Cyanotype & Screen print workshop: Students layered images of screen print on top of the Cyanotypes. UK artist Ryan Gander embarked on his STPI residency with an inquisitive and experimental mindset, exploring the countless possibilities and processes of printmaking.
Image curtesy of STPI

Relief prints inspired by Eko Nuguroho: Indonesian contemporary artist Eko Nugroho uses comic and graffiti-inspired iconography to cover a range of political and socio-economic issues within his artwork.
Image curtesy of STPI

Photos and screen printing inspired by the work of Lieko Shinga: Japanese artist Lieko Shinga creates a stage for both humans and locations and recaptures it through photography, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. She has created a mise en scène for her subjects, accentuating their dramatic qualities through further manipulation with print. The juxtaposition of real people and their illusionary surroundings, provides unease and evoke a surreal, mysterious quality to her work.
Image curtesy of STPI

Here are a few excepts from a few student blog posts from the workshops:
It was a privilege to have professionals in the printmaking field help to teach us during our printmaking unit. I was thankful STPI taught us a completely new skill. 
We learned to create 3D prints, by wrapping our chosen object with Japanese printing paper. Then we painted it with only water, and left our piece out to dry. The next class we returned to find our papers had taken the shape of the object we chose. We then glued our 3D shape onto a piece of poster paper. Then we started experimenting with 2D printing, and tracing a variety of textures outside the classroom. I found a few plants, bricks, and I also used the interim tiles for realistic shapes. Next, in order to avoid the graphite and charcoal rubbing off, we sprayed the printing paper. Finally, we cut/tore the 2D prints and created a mixed media collage on the poster paper. 
My mixed media collage consisted of cut out shapes from magazines and ripped pieces of my 2D printings. Overall, I enjoyed stepping outside of my comfort zone during this project, but I struggled with creating the 3D print on the first day. Even though the key focus point of the art piece was difficult I am proud of my 2D printings, because in my final project I created a harmonising theme of Singapore in my work.
Stacey Peuplie

In the end, I think I took away a life lesson that would help me in the future. The STPI Workshop Visit taught me to persevere even if things aren't going the way you planned it to go in the beginning. I hope to visit STPI soon to learn and improve my printmaking techniques! 
Elysia Chang 
Initially, I thought my print wouldn't turn out that good since this was my first experience with printing using the silk screens, however, after helping others print their screen prints first, I got some tips on the silk screen printing process which I used when making my own print. Another success I had with this project was with the overall tone of the piece. 
At first, I was worried that the competitive, intense tone I was going for with this project would be ruined by a small mistake. However, while working on this piece, I was familiar enough with the printing process to the extent that I didn't make any mistakes while working on this piece.
Dwayne Pereira 

I really like the way the foil transferred onto the background image and I think the final result of the screen print image and the written narrative was really successful, overall I really liked the results of this project and I thought it was really fun to learn about new techniques and to get a tutorial from professionals.
Traci Player 
Image curtesy of Zul Monsor

Image curtesy of Zul Monsor
Image curtesy of Zul Monsor
Image curtesy of Zul Monsor
Digital Photography Classes
The digital photography courses were privileged to host Wesley Loh and Tom White from Objectifs centre for photography and film. Both photographers have worked extensively within the field of photography with a wealth of industry knowledge in the subject of portrait photography.

Based in Singapore, Wesley has established his credibility with his unique style and personable approach. As a photographer, Wesley's eye for capturing life has helped corporate outfits portray a more human and friendlier side to their images. Educational institutions have also sought Wesley's help to present the essence of school life through photography to students, teachers and parents. He set up Memphis West Pictures in 1997, and has shot for many clients ranging from international companies (e.g. McDonald's, Hewlett-Packard, Citibank, Oracle, Holiday Inn) and local institutions (e.g. Theatreworks, National Heritage Board, People's Association). 

Tom White studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, and Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the International Center of Photography in New York. He has taught classes at Columbia University's School of Journalism and at the International Center of Photography. Tom's work has been published in the US and UK, including The New York Times. 

Wesley and Tom's workshops consisted of studio and environmental portrait photography which covered topics such as working with studio lighting, working with natural light, telling a story about your subject and his/her environment, finding the right moment, and interacting with their subject. Students explored these topics while capturing the portrait within a controlled lighting studio and out and about within the natural environment.

Here are a few excepts from a few student blog posts from the workshops:

This project was a challenging one for me. It was my first time working with studio lights. As a result most of my time was spent experimenting and trying to get the lighting right. However, in the end I found I managed to get the right lighting and exposure for the shots. Another challenging thing for me was approaching people for my environmental photography. At first I thought the idea was really weird, so I tried to approach people I knew so I felt more comfortable. However, as time went on, I started to feel more and more comfortable, I started asking people I didn't know. In the end I feel I effectively overcame the challenges of this project to produce pictures that are appealing to the eye.
Atulya Venkataraman 

Overall I think this project went wonderfully because I had a lot of fun, and it has inspired me to try and capture people's characters through photos. It is such a unique experience to attempt to build some sort of connection or understanding of someone in just a few minutes.

Samantha Monteville 
In environmental portraits, I was really uncomfortable with asking people if they could model for me. So, I decided to secretly take photos of my friend while she photographed her subjects. It came out great. By photographing people naturally and not asking them to pose, the mood in the photograph is more...natural. And by not planning it gives rise to accidents. Art is all about accidents.

Rebecca Dai 
Image curtesy of Zul Monsor

Image curtesy of Zul Monsor

Image curtesy of Zul Monsor

Image curtesy of Zul Monsor

Advanced Digital Photography
The advanced digital photography class had the unique opportunity to take two workshops in food photography and macro-photography. Canon Imaging Academy (CIA) trainers, Nugene Chiang and Joseph Goh, provided a range of various essential shooting techniques and tips and tricks to capture great shots.

Nugene Chiang shared his knowledge on how to photograph food at different angles and compositions. The students learned how to style food and take pictures under different lighting conditions. Nugene Chiang has been a trainer at Canon Imaging Academy for the past 4 years, sharing his knowledge of photography with customers and workshop participants. His passion for food photography is backed by his experience as a commercial/stock photographer of 11 years.

Macro Photography is one of the hardest photographic topics to master hence a good understanding of all the aspects is critical to get the best results. Joseph Goh who is also a Canon Imaging Academy trainer and multiple award-winning photographer provided his industry secrets with the students in capturing amazing close-up shots.

Here are a few excepts from a few student blog posts from the workshops:

The theme for this project was everything food. Nugene Chiang, a stock photographer and resident trainer at Canon Imaging Academy, came to our classroom to teach us about being in the photography industry and how to photograph food. We learnt about how to use LED lights to create interesting lighting indoors and how to utilise a background to bring out qualities of the food in the foreground.  

What Nugene had to say about the photography industry, from stock photography to contract photography, was also really eye opening. Especially the fast pace lifestyle of a stock photographer, and the wasteful habits of food photographers. In this short workshop we were able to photograph food without ruining the food with spray paint and props as is too common in the food photography industry today. 
Patrick Koopmans

For this workshop, we had an individual named Nugene Chiang from Canon come and teach us how to take pictures of food. He explained to us that there is more to this style of photography than just taking the photos. In this area, you also have to work with food and be able to style it in a way that is pleasing to the eye. He explained that this is the hardest part as the food has to be able to stay the way you position it to look the most appealing. While listening to him speak about his experiences working with food, it didn't seem like it would be much of a challenge, but throughout the workshop we all learned how much harder it actually is. Not only does the positioning of the food matter, but the placement and addition of extra props in the background can also reflect the photo.

Nugene explained how the placemat used behind adds to the atmosphere of the photo and how placing ingredients behind the dish can also show the viewer what kind of dish it is. For example, by placing spices behind the dish, it can be insinuated that the dish is spicy.

Kaitlin Crawford

For this project, we were taught by Joseph Goh, a cannon photographer. He mainly takes macro photographs as he finds that it is the most interesting and versatile form of photography. I learned a lot from him but maybe the favorite thing I learned was how to get a black background on macro images using fill flash. He also told us to take images in manual which pushed me to think more about the flash and aperture together rather than putting the camera in shutter or aperture priority. He also shared angles and how to get nice shadows in our images.  

I learned that, as a rule of thumb, the angle you shoot at should be lower down when capturing insects as you capture the more interesting parts and get a better black background due to the lack of things in the background. I really enjoyed working with Mr. Goh and understanding the methods to take good macro pictures, I also enjoyed learning about the equipment as this is a form of photography I would like to do more with in the future. 

Amey Bafna

Macro photography is a type of photography in which photographers will go really close to their subjects. Joseph Goh, a Canon camera trainer and macro photographer, led a workshop with our class regarding macro photography. This was a very unique experience since it revealed a world which is unbeknownst to the naked eye. The macro lenses we used in the workshop is able to capture even the smallest of details, almost as if looking through a microscope lens.

Joseph also described the dangers macro photographers may encounter in the wilderness, such as poisonous bugs or animals. Joseph even told us an anecdote of how he had climbed a tree to take a photo of a dangerous wasp nest! It just goes to show the great lengths some dedicated photographers go to get the perfect shot.

Jake Bengco

Image curtesy of Zul Monsor

Image curtesy of Zul Monsor

Image curtesy of Zul Monsor

Image curtesy of Zul Monsor


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