Student Showcase Part 1: Torn Paper Collages

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July 6, 2013 by MrVente

I’m enjoying my first week off for the summer, and have come to realize that I haven’t really done much with my classroom blog this year. It’s been a busy year to say the least. Rather than going on about how busy it was, I would much rather show you some of the amazing work my students did. This will be the first of a number of blog posts celebrating their work.

When we came back from the Christmas holidays, we began exploring the art of portraits. We explored work ranging from self-portraits of Van Gough to the pop art of Warhol to the portraits of Chuck Close. Students were asked to create their own self-portraits using torn paper and collage technique. I started by taking a head shot with my digital camera then converted the images into black and white in Photoshop. I then printed the images on 8.5 x 11 paper, then enlarged the images with the photocopier on 11 x 17 paper. Students were asked to explore the different shadows that the shape of their features made, after which they planned the different papers. I encouraged them to be creative with the mediums they used and  design their portraits so that the portraits truly represented them. The results of the project far exceeded my expectations.


Musaddique’s self-portrait is a good example of what the task entailed. Like most of the students, he used torn construction paper to create his self-portrait. He added details to his face with different shades of paper. I believed his shirt collar is wrapping paper.


Sadia loves England. She’s not English herself, but she has many connections in England and she’s also passionate about One Direction. Her One Direction obsession was the source of many eye rolls from me. Like Musaddique, she also used torn construction paper, but she mixed some of mediums by including torn magazines and if you look closesly, the pin in her hijab are beads.


Similar to Sadia, Trene included a flag in the background; Jamaica in this case. She is of Jamaican descent though. Trene mixed construction paper and tissue paper. She added extra details in her face by rolling brown tissue paper along the features of her face. She also added some curled construction paper at the end of her air to add some dimension to her work.


Sawda’s portrait also mixed different paper including construction, tissue paper and wrapping paper. She was so creative with what she used and really personalized her work by using torn photographs of her and her friends and gum wrappers (the shiny silver paper). If you look very carefully at the blossoming tree on the left, those are cut out pieces of a can of Arizona Ice Tea.


Farha was worried about how to portray herself particularly because she wears a solid black niqab. I encouraged her to personalize it in a way that would be respectful of her religion but also represent her. She did a fantastic job using construction paper, tissue paper, and foil. The lower part of her niqab are torn pieces of paper from a Sri Lankan newspaper, which is her cultural background.


Keya’s work is probably the most realistic of the pieces submitted. I love the precision and details in her face and in her hijab. When people walked in to the class and saw her work from afar, they would often think that it was a colour photograph.


When Taty handed in her art to me, my initial reaction was “Is this it?” Though not as detailed as Keya’s or Trene’s, she used rolled up pieces of tissue paper and torn tissue paper. She explained to me about not feeling like she has a voice and that she is blind to some of the things happening in her life. This really made sense to me.


By far, the piece that I found most unusual/bizarre/creative is Mahara’s self-portrait. She mixed construction paper, tissue paper, sequins and fabric to create her art. She sees herself as being 2 different people in one. I’m not too sure what her thinking is but the result was this fantasmic piece of art.

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