This unit helps students focus on the characteristics of a particular artist, and to use those characteristics as a trade mark in promoting the work of an artist. The featured artist is Henri Matisse, but teachers can use this approach as a model for exploring any artist that they choose.
By the end of this unit students will be better able to:
- appreciate the work of an artist
- understand the nature of a trade mark
- view an exhibition from a commercial perspective
- critically evaluate choices made about promotional strategies
- understand the advantages and disadvantages of copyright for artists and consumers of art.
Curriculum Area: Visual arts
Year/s: Ages 12-16 (Secondary)
Duration: 15 minutes for explanation, teacher decides how long to give the students for research and working on the tasks in class time.
Teacher Prep time: 5 Minutes
Materials required: Online, smart board or hard copies of Worksheets 1-4
- Ask students to recall an art exhibition they may have visited, or a concert, or any major event. There will probably have noticed that there was merchandising associated with it, and that this merchandising was associated with a specific trade mark or logo for the event.
- Have students look at Worksheet 1, which explains the task, and Worksheet 2, which shows the six images to be exhibited. Teachers may choose to select other images for the students to work on, or may prefer to let students choose their own selection.
- Make sure that students understand the nature of a trade mark (Worksheet 3). This is the key element that will define and characterise the work they produce.
- After completing the tasks the teacher can discuss the issue of intellectual property in art. The Matisse images could be reproduced in this unit because they fall within the rules of copyright (See Worksheet 4) — that they were painted by an artist who has been dead for more than 50 (and in some cases 70) years. However, before this period of time had passed, the estate of the artist had decided that they would not allow his work to be reproduced with any changes — so you could not have selected part of an image to use as a trade mark for the exhibition.
Questions to help facilitate discussion:
- How would you feel about having your copyright infringed?
- How do you feel if you are not allowed access to someone else’s work because of copyright restrictions?
- Is this a good rule?
- Who does it protect?
- Who does it disadvantage?
- Does it have an impact on an artist’s ability to create?
- Should the artist be paid for reproduction of his or her work, as authors are for copying of their books?
- Should the artist or their estate have a say on how the images are reproduced?