May 31, 2018

Founder of Impressionism, and waterlily obsessive, Claude Monet, dedicated his life to plein air painting, with many of his most famous works inspired by, and painted, in his own garden.

Last week we hosted a Dream Garden painting workshop at the Pankow shelter, encouraging the children to imagine and draw their dream garden. Given the theme, it seems only right to dedicate this weeks 'Artist of the Week' to one of the most prolific garden painters in the world: Claude Monet.

Born in 1840, Monet became one of the shining stars of the French Impressionist Movement, his work widely regarded as a vital catalyst for the birth of Modern Art. This is due to his radical use of bold brush strokes and strong colours, paving the way for the more experimental art forms of the 20th century.

Nympheas (Waterlilies) II (1915), image via Draw Paint Academy

Monet was particularly interested in the relationship between colour and light, his pallet becoming increasingly exuberant to...

May 23, 2018

Another action-packed week for us at PTC. In Wedding, and Weisensee, we continued with our current painting and printing series, and in Pankow we welcomed our friends from Studio Brique for a special Dream Garden workshop!

This week we brought our Lichenstein project to Wedding, where Ayiat and Salaam attempted 'Coast Village' for the first time. Although they were both daunted by the complexity of the piece, with Salaam even commenting, "I can only finish this when I am dead", we were all really pleased with the amount of effort that the kids put in.

Although Salaam gave it a go, in the end he decided that he would prefer to do some independent painting, so he made a picture of his face instead. However, Ayiat ended up getting really involved with her painting, carefully adding layers and texture to create a very detailed work of art. She will finish her painting next week.

After the session, we all had some snacks, and Salaam mentioned that he wanted crisps, so we went to the...

May 17, 2018

We are currently studying, 'Coast Village', by Roy Lichenstein, so it seems fitting to dedicate this week's Artist of the Week post to the Pop Art heavyweight. BUT, does Lichenstein deserve such prestige? Is Roy Lichenstein the avant-guarde creative the artistic community claims him to be, or just a cheap 'swiper' who has profited from the work of other's?

Pop Art was born in America and the UK during the late 1950's, in the wake of the post-war economic boom. The kitschy brand-heavy art form became synonymous with the economic prosperity and consumerist culture of it's time, now regarded as the Golden Age of Capitalism.

The actual term 'pop art' orginated in the late 1940's, and was first used in the work of art, "I was a Rich Man's Plaything" (1947) , by artist, Eduardo Paolozzi, which incorporates the word "POP" within a montage of a pinup girl, a cherry pie, and other quintessential American symbols from that era.

Pop Art borrows images from popular...

May 15, 2018

This week at PTC, we study Rory Lichenstein; have more fun with lino carving; and find out the answer to the ultimate question... Real Madrid oder Barcelona!?

Last week we launched our new Artist Masters series, in which we study the works of a famous artist over a period of a few weeks, and then bring the kids to see an exhibition of their work. Our series began in Pankow, last weekend, with pop art pioneer, Roy Lichenstein. We charged the kids with recreating one of Lichenstein's most abstract pieces, 'Coast Village' (1987).

Meanwhile, on Tuesday in Weisensee, we did one of our favourite PTC activities: Lino carving! Using the same methods as traditional woodcut printing, the kids each made a design for a small piece of lino (about 5x5 cm), and then carved out their design using special carving knives. A lot of the children wanted to start carving straight away, but we made them plan and draw out their design first, and then we showed them how to hold the knives correctly, so as n...

May 14, 2018

Sometimes perceived as a peripheral art form, woodcut printing has, in fact, played an important role in some of the most major artistic movements of the 20th century, including the German Expressionist movement, led by our Artist of the Week: Ernst Kirchner.

This week at PTC, we did print making with the kids at the Weisensee shelter. For our workshop we used lino, which made the carving process easier and much more safe! Traditionally, however, print making, otherwise known as "xylography", which originated in Asia during the Han Dynasty (220 A.D), is made using wood. 

For millennia, woodcut printing was used primarily for publishing purposes, and not as a form of art. European woodblock print-making came over from Asia around the 13th century, and was also used as a technique for printing text and illustrations for publication, one of the earliest examples of which is the "Madonna del Fuoco" (The Fire Madonna)

Pre-20th century, both in...

May 6, 2018

Last week, we hosted a diorama workshop with the kids in Pankow, challenging them to create their own mini universes out of shoe boxes, using everyday objects in new and inventive ways. So, it seems fitting to dedicate this week's 'Artist of the Week' post to diorama master, Tanaka Tatsuya.

“Broccoli and parsley might sometimes look like a forest, or the tree leaves floating on the surface of the water might sometimes look like little boats. I wanted to take this way of thinking and express it through photographs, so I started to put together a MINIATURE CALENDAR." - Tanaka Tatsuya, in an interview with Spoon-Tamago

Tanaka Tatsuya's words capture the essence of diorama, and why it is one of the most exciting, playful, and accessible forms of art. You don't need special materials, or equipment, you just need your imagination!

Using everyday objects to create miniature compositions, diorama bridges the gap between the artistic world, and the human world. Frequently using urba...

May 6, 2018

'You, Me, and The Distance Between Us', by Ellen Murial, portrays the reality of migrant camp life in all of its dirt, distress, boredom and banality. It also dissects the life of its volunteers, who very rarely get considered as more than a bunch of earnest drones searching for a cause. 

I went to watch 'You, Me and The Distance Between Us' a few weeks ago. The performance took place at M29 Theatre, a community housing project located near Gesundbrunnen. Pillows were strewn across the floor, the ambiance mellow, the room packed with people. The lights suddenly go down, the room goes quiet, and a lone figure stands on stage.

(image via Hamilton House)

Ellen Muriel introduces herself, providing us with a brief bio of her volunteering experience. Almost imperceptibly, her cadence shifts from normal dialogue to spoken word, possibly as a way of juxtaposing 'volunteer' Ellen, with 'performer' Ellen. I wondered, how will Ellen successfully manage to emb...

May 2, 2018

Another great art-filled week at PTC, but tinged with sadness, as this week we said our final goodbyes to the kids at the Spandau shelter :'(


The reception center in Spandau was one of the first shelters we ever came to, and since the start of PTC, we have been visiting Spandau every Friday. Sadly, this shelter is being shut down, so last week we went to Spandau for the final time, to say goodbye to the kids. 

Spandau holds a special place in our hearts, and so do all of the kids that we have been coming to see every week for the past three years. A lot of the children have already moved on, some to new homes and others to different shelters, and the ones that remain will also be relocated in the upcoming weeks. Perhaps we will meet them again at a different shelters, but it is hard for us to make promises like that. We were also given a box of chocolates by the social workers that work full-time at the shelters, in thanks for our support. It was difficult trying...

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