How Can I Teach Art History By Way Of Multi-Cultural Modern Art?

I tried with the headline. I really tried and still feel it needs work. Most relevantly I want to discuss in this blog artists of LGBTQ and a wide range of cultural representation and medium representation too. The title was a struggle to say something about “non dead old western white guy” art. I do not want to use those words as I go further with this blog. The challenge is to seek and get an understanding of local culture, national and world wide cultural art happening right now. What a challenge indeed?! It definitely starts with the headline, the first step.

The headline is done (check!).

This challenge has come to me over the years, a snowball effect. Others engaged with me, when they found out I was an artist, about their favorite paintings throughout my time working on the slopes of ski hills, golf courses, bar tending or the oil rigs. If I were a betting man, and I am, I will bet that I can guess your favorite painting with two tries: “The Mona Lisa” or “Starry Night”. That bugged the crap out of me. Why? Because the influence of those paintings has very little over their style that I can see, yet they have no idea who designed their sneakers, the logo on their shirt or hoodie, who illustrated the the last comic they read or filmed their favorite movies. The have no idea who did the computer animation/effects or costumes of the movies and television, the type of art they consume the most. That bugs me. Yet they know Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear and lived with a prosititute and died penniless. They do not know about his depression or his pursuit of the cloth or his kind, kind heart. People know Da Vinci painted the “Mona Lisa”, but have no idea why. It was not a passion project, in fact was in not stalled for years between start and completion? And what else do they know about Da Vinci besides he is the “Renaissance Man”?

What about Jeremy Scott? What about, Carolyn Davidson, the collegiate student making extra cash that designed Nike’s swoosh logo for $35? What about Nafees Bin Zafar? Rebecca Sugar? Vitaliy Naymushin? All artists working within a modern day western cultural art frame.

I do have thoughts around this seemingly small but in reality monsterous challenge because of how art history has been and is being taught. It will take work, extra time outside of my school hours and networking with other leaders and creative teachers. This is no small challenge and the effort will be worth it when students walk out of my classroom with the confidence to ask their questions and discuss any type of art work with anyone.