Booka B - DJ and Artist

Objectives: Simple yet complex, Booka B’s artistic style emphasizes keeping his work “simple and tight”. His line work has weight and contrast, and is also done organically by hand versus computer generated (or “perfect”). In this activity, you will practice creating your own organic, imperfect lines to create abstract shapes and images, and later make your own block print painting based upon those imperfect lines and images.

Tools/Resources: MN Original video clip, scratch paper (plus pieces cut into 4×6”), pencils, markers (especially black), art paper (for paints), Option 1 for block printing (styrofoam cut into 4×6” blocks one per person, “carving tools” i.e. paint brushes, pencils, chopsticks, tempera or acrylic paints, paint/ink roller), Option 2 for block printing (Soft Kut printing block 4×6” one per person or one per pair, printing ink, printing block tools), examples of Booka B’s artwork, examples of various kinds of American Indian artwork (Minnesota and Pacific Northwest in particular, see the MIA’s Art of the Native Americans exhibit site), examples of Hmong embroidery and design.


  1. Watch the segment and discuss (have an example of Booka B’s artwork on display while discussing):

    a. Booka B’s artistic style emphasizes on keeping his art “simple and tight”. What do you think he means by this?

    b. Booka B says that there are two types of artistic lines that he works with: the organic line and the “perfect line”. What would be an example of an organic line? Perfect line?

    c. Why would an organic line be more appealing than a perfect line?

    d. What is contrast in visual art? How do clean lines (without eraser marks and with a sharp edge) change the contrast of a drawing or painting? Why would clean lines be better than rough lines?

    e. Why is the use of space important in art? What does it mean by giving an art piece “room to breathe”? How does this compare to too much empty space?

  2. Compare Booka B’s work to the artwork of Minnesota American Indians, Pacific Northwest American Indians, and Hmong embroidery art pieces.

    a. Make sure to explain where each art form is from geographically and their significance culturally.

    b. Compare the lines – what do you see? What do you think? What do you wonder about?

    c. Compare the contrast in the art pieces – what do you see? What do you think? What do you wonder about?

    d. Compare the use of space – what do you see? What do you think? What do you wonder about?

  3. Practice drawing lines

    a. Using the scratch paper and pencils, practice drawing smooth, neat, “organic lines” vs. perfect lines. The lines can be whatever shape or form you want (zigzag, straight, curved, thatched, etc)

    b. On the back of the scratch paper (or a blank space), draw a clean organic line. Now connect that line to another line. Keep doing this until an abstract shape is created. Try doing this again, but try creating an imagine this time – it can be abstract. Use the example artworks as reference of how lines can connect to create shapes.

    c. On the 4×6” scratch paper, create a line drawing of an object/shape, but try to use the whole space of the paper. Remember to leave the art piece “room to breathe”

  4. Block printing

    a. Choose materials from either option 1 or 2

    b. If using option 1 materials:

    i. Get a piece of 4×6” styrofoam, using a pencil, first lightly draw out your shape/figure with the lines

    ii. Use the carving tools to carve into the lines. Be careful to not puncture through the styrofoam, and think how the paint will fill into the carved lines.

    iii. When done carving, use a paint/ink roller to apply tempera or acrylic paint to your styrofoam block. Press down on one part of the art paper. Remember – you will need to fill the entire art paper. You can change color of paint if you wish, but remember to not leave any blank white spaces (line up styrofoam block to
    the last print carefully)

    iv. Continue until paper has been fully printed

    c. If using option 2 materials:

    i. Draw first on the Soft Kut block with a pencil, then use carving tools to draw out picture/image

    ii. Follow the same rolling process as above, but using the printing ink

  5. Artist statement

    a. Once finished, write out an artist statement naming your work, what materials you used, and an explanation of the lines/shape you chose to use. Also explain your color choice and block patterning. Mention something you learned from this experience, one thing you found very interesting, and one thing you’d like to learn more about.

To Top