Long Story Short
For this art project, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders from Berkshire Waldorf High School worked on telling their life story through imagery.
The process was both simple and quite complex;
- write your autobiography
- Select the 16 most evocative sentences.
- Minimize these sentences into 3 words each.
- Translate these 3-word sentences into a set of equally succinct drawings, to be displayed together.
To begin, we worked on a number of preparation writing activities, and read some examples by Maya Angelou, Ralph Ellison, and others, to warm up and create drafts for our autobiographies. Once we all had a minimum 1000-word life story written, we moved into the process described above.
The challenge to communicate complex content through limited visual information was supported by research into multi- part works by artists such as Ree Morton, Dieter Roth, Richard Tuttle, Margaret Kilgallen, and Louis Bourgeois. We also watched the movie Persepolis, which was originally an autobiographical graphic novel.
The students made sketches and explored varied abstract and representation modes. The challenge to create resonant image shorthand was met in a many different ways, as seen in the artwork displayed. The results of their investigation into content, process and materials are enhanced through the use of multi-panel formats.