Traditional Art with a Spin


  • 8.5×11 paper (thumbnails)
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • 12×18 paper
  • Variety of media: watercolors, tempera paint, charcoal, collage, colored pencil, pastels, clay, etc.

This project will have multiple phases.  The first phase requires that you think of a culture that you identify with.  It doesn’t have to be your own culture.  Go on Google and look at traditional artworks from the culture you have chosen.  For example, if I am particularly interested in Chinese culture I would Google “Traditional Chinese Art.”

Look at some of the traditional works. How could you create an artwork that pays homage to the traditional art forms of that culture while putting a modern or personal twist on it?  Look at this painting by Veslasquez:url

This could be considered traditional European art.  Look how modern artist Kehinde Wiley references this traditional painting in his own work:


Create three thumbnail sketches to organize your thoughts.  These sketches should be quick, like taking visual notes.

Once you have three thumbnails, choose the one that is the most successful to be the starting point for a large scale artwork.  Bring your thumbnails to class next week to be checked.


  • Three thumbnails


Part II:

For the next phase you will choose a (2D or 3D) media that you feel would best translate your idea.  For example: if the culture your chose was Islamic and the traditional art you were looking at was a tile mosaic you might want to work with collage in order to mimic the way those mosaics were created.  If the culture you chose was European and the art you were looking at was a painting from the renaissance you might want to use acrylic paint (since we don’t have access to oil paints).

You will use this media to make a larger-scale version of your strongest thumbnail on 12×18 paper, or if you chose a 3D material it must be at least 5×5.


  • Your 2D piece should be at least 12×18 or if 3D 5×5.
  • Your piece should be a modern interpretation of a traditional work of art or style of art
  • Craftsmanship! Your project should be neat and effort should be apparent

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