Art Animals at the de Young Summer Art Camp

It’s hard to believe that the last week of the de Young Summer Art Camp is already here. During this final week, the sixth floor studio turned into a zoo as guest blogger Alida Jekabson reports.

Goodbye summer camp

The group of younger artists, the Apprentices, spent the final week of camp experimenting with a variety of materials. Inspired by turtles during their first day in the studio, each artist drew his or her own interpretation of the animal using a black china marker. They then enhanced their work by adding shapes, patterns, and watercolors. Next, the Apprentices worked on creating larger murals made of papier-mâché. Finally, these young artists looked to the sky and created three-dimensional birds made out of Styrofoam, feathers, sticks, and paint.


The results were quite magical and inspired a bird mask project, which allowed the Apprentices to embody the birds they had created earlier in the day.


The next morning the artists were given time to catch up on projects from earlier that week, and in the afternoon they visited the Mesoamerican galleries. Looking at the ancient Feathered Serpent wall mural inspired the Apprentices to go back upstairs to make their own dragons, using self-made stamps to create the body of their imagined animal.

Mesoamerican Galleries

As the week progressed, the artists became more personally involved in their work. After looking at representations of anthropomorphic animals (part human, part animal), they used parts of their own portraits melded with drawings of animal parts to imagine new and unique animals.


On the last day of camp the Apprentices visited different stations in the classroom, creating textured collages and butterflies, as well as drawings of animal habitats. The week concluded with a studio swap, which allowed the Apprentices to visit the studio of the older Artisans group.


This was also a busy week for the Artisans, who not only worked on individual projects but also created collaborative habitats for some of the animals they had made throughout the week. These habitats included a wall mural framed by wonder-foam animal portraits that were created on the first day of camp.


Areas of the studio were transformed into savannah, jungle, farm, ocean, and city habitats, each housing the pop-up animals created in class earlier in the week.


The Artisans also visited the galleries and took part in a scavenger hunt during which they sought out certain animals portrayed in the artworks on view. Other gallery visits included a stop by Vik Muniz’s Absinthe Drinker, after Edgar Degas (Pictures of Magazines 2) (on view in the special exhibition Real to Real: Photographs from the Traina Collection). Taking inspiration from Muniz's collage technique, they created collage landscapes using oil pastels to draw in animals to inhabit their landscapes. The finished pieces showed scenes ranging from an orca whale in the deep ocean to a bumblebee visiting a vase of flowers.


At the end of the week, the artists put the finishing touches on their habitat projects and exhibited their hard work to their neighboring studio.

If you’re interested in enrolling your child in the de Young Summer Art Camp next year, please continue to check our website for more information.