By Simon Gallo
9th grade Art teacher
Playing cards are often the go-to past-time that have brought people together for generations. But how often have you spent looking at the cards? Critically analyzed the composition and aesthetics? Or tried to understand the deeper meaning of what each number and suit represents?
In Art 1, freshman students explored the ideas of card design through the lens of surrealist artists and their deconstructed playing card designs. The Surrealists were a small group of artists based out of Paris, France who, according to the Art Story Foundation, “sought to channel the unconscious as a means to unlock the power of the imagination.” Given normal playing cards from a typical deck, students were asked to deconstruct the meaning of their playing cards into both the suit and number. Did you know the Spade represents winter, wisdom, and health or that the number 5 symbolizes change, fluctuations, and variety? Students were given the flexibility to research and choose both a suit and number as a means of reinventing traditional playing cards in their own individual style with symbols and/or images to convey a global message or deeper meaning that they felt a personal connection to. “The cards will represent something about us with the number and suit, like family meaning a lot to you,” said Samantha Corpuz.
Set with a reinvented card design and associated meaning, students explored the means to reproduce and distribute their art. By means of linoleum block printing, students learned a 3-color reduction block printing technique. Working from background to foreground, students slowly printed then removed areas of their linoleum, layering colors to reveal the card design.
With 5-8 prints, students were able to trade and distribute prints to others. They personalized their designs, and unique color combinations resulted in stunning end results. “Creating cards that represent something to us was a lot of fun. Drawing, printing and avoiding getting another band aid for my finger was a great experience!” said Melanie Centeno
“Surrealism Movement, Artists and Major Works.” The Art Story. Web. 18 Jan. 2016.