Stencil Art Prize: Early childhood virtual tour

Edgy, political, cheeky and pop-culture inspired, The Stencil Art Prize features over 50 finalists from around the globe; from photo-realist stencils with dozens of layers, to intricate hand-cut stencils on delicate paper, this biennial exhibition is the world’s largest touring stencil prize and is the authority on all things ‘stencil art’.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019, the Prize is a snapshot of the grassroots stencil art form that has undergone resurgence in recent decades and is now thriving. The Stencil Art Prize community of international finalists push the boundaries of the ‘stencil definition’ utilising a diverse range of techniques, materials and technology.

In September 2019, Edward Woodley from Sydney won the $10,000 Stencil Art Prize with his artwork ‘Eternal Spirit – 2’. The artwork is stencilled enamel paint on brass sheeting which was then hand bent & distorted to add a three dimensional quality to the work.  Three Highly Commended artists were also awarded – Flox (NZ) with ‘Fantastical Fantails’, MEZK (Mexico) with ‘The Son of Graffiti’ and Moz (Italy) with ‘Mind Freeing’.

How to use this resource

This virtual tour of the 2019 Stencil Art Prize, on display at Hurstville Museum & Gallery, was created specifically for early educators to use in their classroom for preschoolers. With many groups unable to visit the space, we wanted to recreate the Museum & Gallery experience virtually. The artworks have been selected in consultation with Georges River Council early childhood educators, to reflect on the art making practice of screen printing and themes of faces, emotions and colour. 

Provided is a list of the selected artworks as well as suggested questions to ask and discuss with the class. At the end of this blog there are suggested activities to continue your learning.

Questions to ask

Use the SPARK method by Art Class Curator as a group, to generate deeper art connections and engagement with your students. These suggested questions have been adapted for an early childhood audience.

Step 1: See

Look closely at the work of art and note the content, subject matter, and artistic choices that make up the artwork. Ask:

  • What do you see? What shapes can you see? What colours have been used?
  • What kind of lines can you see? Are they straight, wavy, do they run from top to bottom, or side to side?
  • Can you see a face? What are the main features of the face that you can see?
  • How would you describe this artwork?

Step 2: Perceive

Dive deeper beneath the surface of the artwork and perceive its emotions, meaning, and messages through your senses. Ask:

  • How do you feel when looking at this artwork? Happy, sad, scared, angry etc.?
  • What do you like about this artwork?
  • What don’t you like about this artwork?

Step 3: Ask + Answer

Figure out the meaning or message of this artwork by analyzing the artist’s choices and pondering your initial observations. Ask:

  • What is this artwork about? What story is this artwork trying to tell us?
  • What things can you see (recognising familiar objects) in the artwork?
  • How is stencil art work made? View the following videos to see how the artist have made their work.
  • What questions would you ask the artist?
Stencil Art demo with 085c3n3
Stencil Art demo with Stephen Quick

Step 4: Reflect

Use your personal experiences, convictions, and emotions to connect with the art to better know yourself and the artwork. Ask:

  • Have you ever felt…angry, upset, sad, happy etc.? Can you show me what that looks like?

Note: Step 5 is suited best to advanced students.

Step 5: Know

Use the artwork to learn about history while understanding that it is only one piece of the puzzle. Use observation, critical thinking, art content knowledge, and research to learn what you can about the artwork. Ask:

  • Who? What? When? Where? Why?
  • What do we know about the person/people who created this artwork based on what we see?
  • Why or for whom did the artist create this artwork and how does that impact the meaning?

Selected artworks

Artwork to focus on in order that they appear in the virtual tour for early childhood.

Mysterious by RenNL
Embrace by DEAKZ
Astro Skull by REMO
Social Pressure by ARGH
Poochie by Nils Westergard
Neptune by Michal Maka
The Son of Graffiti by Mezk
Day by Mark Callaghan
Gabrielle by Justinas Zozo
Girl with Marker by Angus Comyns
Bad conDUCKt
by 085C3N3
Fantastical Fantails
by Flox
Extra Cheese
by Disco Rice
Rebel, Rebel
by Stephen Quick
All Are Bored
by Geoff Cunningham
Effet Mere Nature by R.Nuage

Virtual Tour

Further activities

Art and movement

Look at Fantastical Fantails by Flox. Pretend you are the bird sitting on the branch. Think about where your wings are. Now think about what the bird might do next, use your whole body and move like the bird.

Stencil Art

Making your own stencil artwork. Using art paper, paint and a single layer plastic stencil.

Draw me!

What can you see? Can the children draw an image of what they think they look like? Alternatively use a mirror and ask what features they can see about themselves and then draw themselves.

Stencil Art Prize Education Resource

Vivian Messimeris, Woman of Kobane #19

An educational resource was created for the Stencil Art Prize, currently on display at Hurstville Museum & Gallery until 2 May 2021.

This kit can be used to assist Visual Art and Visual Design teachers and students from year 7 – 12. 

It consists of three artist case studies and includes images of their works, and Q&A’s with the artists discussing their artmaking practice, methods and materials. Accompanying each artist case study is a series of activities through which students may analyse and interpret works, and apply their understanding to their own artmaking practice.

In addition, a number of selected works have been chosen for further study and investigation with images and questions included.

This resource supports the Australian Curriculum and NSW Syllabus outcomes for Visual Arts for years 7 – 12. Content has been designed with reference to the four frames and the Conceptual Framework.

The efficacy of this resource can be extended by visiting the exhibition with students between February – May 2021. 

Find out more.

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