Art students solve problems in class every day - figure out how to mix a certain paint color, trying out a new tool to see if it will work on a given task, deciding what subject to focus on for an artwork... The list goes on an on. This unit is a little bit different. Students are asked to solve problems based on limitations - physical, material, or conceptual.
We started out by looking at artists that work with limitations - Phil Hansen, who learned to "Embrace the Shake," and Chuck Close, who had to change his technique after a seizure left him paralyzed from the neck down. Both artists have physical limitations that affect their work but they don't let the physical limitations hinder their art making.
Next, we talked about different types of limitations. Physical limitations could be self imposed, the result of an accident, or physical condition. Material limitations have to do with the material you are working with (making a deer stand out of toothpicks). Conceptual limitations are the trickiest - a limitation based on a concept or idea (making an artwork based on sound).
After learning about limitations, students were asked to create a group artwork based on limitations. An activity called "What's in the Bag?" Students were asked to work in groups (one of the limitations!) and each group was given a bag with the same materials - mostly random junk from the art room! Once they had supplies, groups drew a prompt from the bucket and were asked to create using all the supplies in the bag.
Now, finally after some group discussion, brainstorming individually and with partners, students have selected their limitations and are working on final projects. Many are imposing physical limitations, a few material limitations and a few conceptual limitations.