Monday, April 4, 2011

Magnetic Paintings…Inspired by James Rizzi

  The past couple months I have been running an after school art class inspired by the art of James Rizzi with 3rd and 4th graders.  One project that I was excited to try was magnetic paintings.  Since I had a small class of 12 students it was feasible. 
   First we looked at some of Mr. Rizzi’s magnetic paintings (Click Here).  What is neat about these paintings is that the viewer can interact with the work.  There is a background and then several magnetic pieces that can be rearranged to make different pictures. 
  Students used a 12x18 piece of tag board and made a background.  On each back corner we added a strip of magnet.  Then using poster board the students drew and cut out accessories.  Each item also had magnets put on the back.  Then the students arranged their picture on a magnetic surface. 
Below are my students’ examples…
  If I did this project in the future I would try to use stronger magnets.  At times we had trouble getting the small pieces to stick.  Overall, I thought it was a good project, and exposed the kids to new kind or art form. 
  Soon, I will be sharing  my students' Skype interview with James Rizzi.  Once, I get the huge file to upload to YouTube Smile


  1. What fun, what fun!! I wonder if there's some magnetic poster board or something that could be used so the artwork is magnetic rather than ON a magnetic surface. I'm going to scout around, because while I'm not doing Rizzi this year, I am NEXT year and I think this could be so much fun! Interactive artwork!!!

  2. Kristyn, I'm not a teacher of young students but I have two grand daughters with whom I've played with one of Rizzi's magnetic paintings.... and then they've brought their friends. One of the most obvious differences between this "art play" and more traditional drawing books, of paint by numbers etc, is that in the Rizzi environment, the painter cannot make a mistake! It's very uplifting to the kids, builds self confidence and opens them up to experimenting and expanding their creativity... wonder what you, as a teacher, think.

  3. I am thrilled that I have been a positive influence on your artwork. And you inspire me as much as I inspire you!

    Great work!

  4. Henry, I think you make a good point. It is wonderful when you can create a learning experience that is not threatening. Art, unlike other subject areas, does not always have one answer. I hope to do more lessons that encourage this kind or creativity :)


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