ART PARODIES, by Ms. Lindsay Mouyal

"Spongebob" parody of Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe print series, from www.pinterest.com

Part of good classroom management is devising lessons that are of interest to your students and have relevancy to their own likes and interests.  The longer I teach and the more I read about classroom management, the more I realize that while being passionate about what you teach is important, it isn't always enough to grab the attention of your students.  As a firm believer in the benefits of the DBAE art education model (teaching art in four categories: art production, aesthetics, art history, and art criticism) I am always looking for interesting and creative ways to introduce a new artist or era in art history to my students.  Let's face it, most kids-of all ages-love the art production component of DBAE, but not all kids are inherently drawn to looking at or talking about art.  Some might love it but not know where to begin.

*Harry Potter meets Magritte
During one of my bleary eyed Pinterest binges I came across some pins from another art educator across the globe from me.  These pins were all spoofs on famous artworks from the vast history of art. Some were food inspired by famous art, others were clothing or cars painted in the style of a famous artwork while some even replaced main characters in the artwork with popular cartoon characters or superheroes.  As many artists and art educators like to say, "appropriation is the sincerest form of flattery;" it was in this sentiment that I began pinning away and creating my very own "Art Parody" Pinterest board from the existing board I had stumbled upon.

That's what we do as teachers. We share our successes and challenges with each other in an attempt to strengthen the efficacy of our teaching.  Over the past year, the board has grown and grown and there are surprisingly more art parodies out there than you could imagine.

*Daisy Duck as Queen Nefertiti

Originally I thought I would use these for a quick and fun bell ringer at the beginning of class or as a wrap up activity at the end of a lesson if a class finished earlier than I had anticipated.  However, the reality is that never seems to happen.  This school year my art schedule is completely different than in past years and on Friday I see some classes a second time during the week while other classes that don't come to me on Friday only have art once a week.  In an attempt to keep my sanity and a semblance of organized chaos in my classroom, I decided that Friday would be something completely different.  I knew I didn't want to let my Friday classes advance on the art lessons I taught them previously that week because the group that only comes once a week would perpetually be behind.

*Squidward as Mona Lisa
Then, I remembered the art parodies and decided to try using them to begin my Friday classes.  We started with the "Squidward/Spongebob Mona Lisa" since we had already spent a lot of time looking at the Mona Lisa for my "Mona Lisa Behavior Poster."  It was magical!

 The kids were delighted and even some of my students with repetitive behavior problems were engaged and excited!  We always begin by spending about 5-7 minutes studying, interpreting and evaluating the original art inspiration, then we move on to looking at the parody for another 5 minutes or so and we finish up by looking at both of them and comparing and contrasting them.  I've found that around 15 minutes seems to be the limit on attention span for my younger students (kindergarten - 2nd grade).  So after that, we move on to another activity that usually involves art production in some way, shape or form.  However, I could imagine an activity like this being successful for longer periods of time with upper elementary, middle school and high school.

I also found out about this old 2005 Spongebob calendar of art parodies from a post made by a fellow art educator on the Art Teacher Facebook group and I found one on eBay.  I then searched for the matching original art history inspirations on Google Images, downloaded them and typed in pertinent information and printed them out at Office Depot.  I plan to have a monthly "Art Parody" bulletin board for my students who don't visit my class on Fridays.  The bulletin board method would also work for any teachers that don't have access to a computer/projection system at school.

*Muppets parody of Picasso's Three Musicians

*All images used in this article are from www.pinterest.com

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