Spark

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Spark documents visual and performing contemporary artists, from well-known painters, to ethnic dance companies, to artists working with new technologies. In short video pieces that are under fifteen minutes, Spark takes you backstage at performances and into artists' studios to witness the creative process firsthand. Accompanying many Spark videos are robust educator guides highlighting historical and cultural context for artists or arts organizations, plus lesson plan ideas, vocab lists, and additional resources. Spark makes it easy to bring contemporary artists into your classroom to inspire creative careers and engage your students in the arts.

  • Adam5100: Visual Arts (Graffiti and Stencil Art)

    Aam5100 has been working with a spray can since his days as a teenage graffiti writer living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Confessing that his early tagging was "the blight of society," Adam5100 has since become one of the Bay Area's most talented young painters. In this Spark video produced by KQED join the artist as he prepares for an exhibition at the White Walls Gallery by "layering the stencils of life."

    Grades: 6-12
  • David Choe: Graffiti Art

    Explore the early art of David Choe, whose work bridges two worlds: the street and the gallery, in this Spark video from KQED.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Nathan Oliviera: Painting

    Nathan Oliveira created abstract art based on subjects in nature. Explore his lifelong fascination with the painted surface in this Spark video from KQED.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Michael Arcega: Visual Arts

    In this Spark video produced by KQED exchange puns with Filipino American artist Michael Arcega as he comments wryly on history. Although many of his most recognized pieces are mixed-media sculptures, Arcega is a true interdisciplinary artist whose works range from paintings to installations, videos to drawings.

    Grades: 5-13+
  • Ruth Asawa: Visual Arts (Sculpture)

    In this video from Spark produced by KQED, visit Ruth Asawa as she and her family assemble an expansive retrospective for the reopening of Golden Gate Park's de Young Museum in October 2005. In preparation for this exhibition, Asawa's daughter, Aiko Cuneo, has been busily collecting her mother's work as well as selecting a variety of drawings and preparatory works. It is a labor of love for Cuneo, whose memories of childhood are interwoven with her mother's constant art-making.

    Grades: K-13+
  • Robert Bechtle: Visual Arts (Painting)

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, discover the painstaking method behind Robert Bechtle's extraordinary photorealist works.

    Grades: K-13+
  • Garry Knox Bennett: Visual Arts (Handcrafted Furniture)

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, meet Garry Knox Bennett, who for more than three decades, has been at the vanguard of furniture making with his unusual tables, desks, chairs, clocks and lamps. Rather than beginning with sketches and drawings, Bennett goes straight to the materials, working them part by part into a finished idea. It is a technique that allows Bennett the freedom to change the direction of a piece several times before it is complete.

    Grades: K-13+
  • Sandow Birk: Visual Arts (Painting and Film)

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, follow along with Sandow Birk as he and his crew finish production on the artist's contemporary take on Dante's 14th century epic The Divine Comedy-- set in 21st century San Francisco.

    Grades: K-13+
  • Christopher Brown: Visual Arts (Painting)

    Christopher Brown obsessively works and reworks his images, painting over large areas of his canvases to redefine colors, objects and distances. In this Spark video produced by KQED, catch Brown in his studio, hard at work on a large painting.

    Grades: K-13+
  • Thai Bui: Visual Arts

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, visit with Vietnamese born Thai Bui as he creates works that reflect the pressures of working as an artist in a foreign culture. Bui makes haunting works of art that speak to a sense of displacement and longing that has characterized the artist's own turbulent life. Bui's extraordinary objects combine references to his experiences in both the United States and Vietnam, simultaneously communicating a witty humor and penetrating sense of loss.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Victor Cartagena: Visual Arts

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, see how Victor Cartagena draws on memories of the Salvadoran Civil War to create a haunting body of work. Visit with Cartagena as he guides viewers through is artistic process.  

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Enrique Chagoya: Visual Arts (Print Making)

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, explore the methods and history of print and political satire as vehicles for creative expression and social change though the art of Enrique Chagoya. In his prints, drawings and other works on paper, Mexican-American artist Chagoya appropriates and reorganizes images taken from the American mass media, Mexican folk art and religious sources, using them to create biting and often very humorous political and social satire. 

    Grades: K-13+
  • Julie Chen: Visual Arts (Book Art)

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, watch Julie Chen stretch the definition of bookmaking with her awe-inspiring paper sculptures. Chen is a groundbreaking innovator in the growing field of the artist's book. Her works defy traditional definitions of bookmaking, combining original works of poetry and three-dimensional paper techniques to stunning effect.

    Grades: K-13+
  • Conservators of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: Visual Arts

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, meet two conservation staff members using a combination of art and science to restore two works of art. The FAMSF conservation staff includes specialized professionals in the areas of painting, objects, textiles and works on paper. Together with the curators, the conservation staff carefully monitors all of the works in the FAMSF's collections, removing from storage or exhibition those that require treatment.  

    Grades: K-13+
  • Jim Denevan: Visual Arts (Earth Works)

    Jim Denevan performs drawings -- making temporary sculptures on the sandy beaches. In this Spark video produced by KQED, tail Denevan as he composes two sand works and talks about his meditations and his process.  Using only a stick and a rake, Denevan's work is monumental in scale but as fleeting as any live performance. The drawings exist for a few precious hours before they are erased by the incoming tides, and one has to view the drawings from 150 feet up or more in order to see them in their entirety.

    Grades: K-13+
  • Chris Drury: Visual Arts (Earthworks)

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, climb a tree with Chris Drury whose installations mimic the underlying patterns of the natural world. For more than a quarter-century, internationally recognized British artist Chris Drury has used the materials and processes of nature in his work. Drury's lyrical, often temporary installations mimic patterns that already exist in the natural world. Visit with Drury as he prepares a series of works for a six-week residency at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California, culminating in a show called "Whorls: Installations by Chris Drury," an indoor and outdoor exhibition featuring three site-specific nature-based installations. 

    Grades: K-13+
  • Ala Ebtekar: Visual Arts (Line Drawing)

    Ala Ebtekar is a visual artist whose largescale line drawings explore the contrasts and similarities between contemporary hiphop culture and traditional Iranian culture. Explore identity with Ebtekar in this video from Spark, produced by KQED.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Mitra Fabian: Visual Arts (Sculpture)

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, see how sculptor Mitra Fabian explores the abnormal using mundane materials. Fabian aims to shift the way viewers relate to common materials, giving them a new understanding of what those materials can do.  

    Grades: K-13+
  • Lawrence Ferlinghetti: Visual Arts (Painting)

    Over the past six decades, Lawrence Ferlinghetti has established himself as one of the most renowned poets and publishers in the world. A founder of City Lights Books and a noted Beat writer, he is commonly considered one of the greatest literary figures of the 20th century. But Ferlinghetti has been painting for almost as long as he has been writing. In this Spark video produced by KQED, visit Ferlinghetti in his studio as he prepares a series of works for a show at San Francisco's George Krevsky Gallery.

    Grades: 5-13+
  • Viola Frey: Visual Arts (Sculpture)

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, remember sculptor Viola Frey and her dedication in creating monumental ceramic figures.

    Grades: 9-13+

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