Frank Gaard – Mere Artist

Frank Gaard grew up in a home full of violence, but describes himself as having been a happy, jolly, and active child. He says that a lifetime of art has allowed him to remain that way. He uses art to make order out of squalor. He shows his painting, “Untitled” (1977), as an example of contrasts. The left side is his ordered, successful life at school and the right side is the disorder of his home.

Although his work is alarming, he wants it to be sweet and to taste good. He says there is beauty and “a little hot sauce in everything I do.” He finds a balance by seeing both sides of people and political issues. Write about a time when you faced something cruel or hostile. Formulate a plan for how you could turn the negative into a positive.

Using “Untitled” as a model (it’s the one divided into two very different sides), make your own work of art that reflects a contrast. Use an example from your own life or from the world. You could base it on what you wrote from the activity above. Both sides of a political issue would also work well. Divide a piece of poster board in two. Differentiate the two sides by using color, line, texture, medium, composition, and shape to convey your message.

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