Picasso in the classroom

Jessica Xing

On Oct. 25, Brian Chow taught his Art 3 class how to draw in Pablo Picasso’s famous cubist style, in honor of the artist’s birthday. Students, in response, have taken cubism and molded it into their own art style.

First exposure

Junior Andrew Chang, before Oct. 25, did not have much experience with cubism. Cubism, despite being a revolutionary art style, is often overlooked or oversimplified — Chang used to associated cubist works with blocky, harsh shapes and disorienting lines. It wasn’t until the lecture that Chang realized cubism could be a lot more than what’s on paper.

“Chow did a good job teaching us how the artists approached Cubism,” Chang said, “so I took Picasso’s style and put it into my own art.”

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Junior Andrew Chang finishes his painting of Gal Gadot, actress for Wonder Woman and Gisele in the Fast and Furious series. He used key styles seen in Picasso’s cubist works such as over exaggeration of key features and bold lines. Photos by Jessica Xing.

“What I learned from Shelton in freshmen year was that you had to keep the one or two features distinct to the person and exaggerate it,” Chang said. “My subject, Gal Gadot, she has very pronounced cheekbones. So I made it super bold. She also has big eyes, so I exaggerated that too.”

More of his artwork can be found on his Instagram, here.

Long time influence

Senior Mika Philip has been exposed to many cubist works — from all the way back in elementary school. She uses patterns, hardlines and shapes in her artwork, so while she says that her artwork is not strictly “cubist”, she does call back to the geometric shapes Picasso uses to separate his subject in his paintings.

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Senior Mika Philip uses geometric shapes to piece together bigger drawings. A few of the pictures shown are works in progress that she plans to build up into a bigger project. Photos by Jessica Xing.

“[Picasso influenced my work because] I like to use a lot of bright colors, and I like a lot of Impressionist paintings,” Philip said. “I love how unreal it is; once it is done properly it is actually really beautiful, than just the picture of the person themselves.”

A way of expression

Junior Allison Niu does not have much experience in cubism either, but she finds that cubism is a creative way to express her ideas. She enjoys being able to manipulate artwork into creating something completely unique, but she still wants to ground her work in the realistic aspects of art in the different perspectives she draws.

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Two of junior Allison Niu’s art pieces. Niu enjoys creating art pieces that are striking and surreal, and uses lines and different angles to break up her work. Photos by Jessica Xing

[This unit influenced] my art because it is more focused on looking at things from multiple angles,” Niu said, “where in Classical works of art you are only looking at it in one perspective — using multiple perspectives plays into how movement influences artwork.”