For Black History month, 6th grade artists at Barber Middle School learned about Kimmy Cantrell, an African American sculptor. He is known for his colorful clay masks depicting expressive abstract faces with exaggerated eyes and whimsical features. Cantrell uses his art as a way to challenge traditional concepts of what most cultures see as “beauty.”
Students designed a mask in his style by creating a cardboard relief sculpture. That is a collage sculpture made out of cardboard pieces stuck onto a cardboard base, giving it a raised effect.
They began by sketching out their ideas on paper, then they applied their sketches to cardboard scraps. They used a variety of tools (safely) – corrugated knives, large cardboard scissors, and regular scissors to cut those pieces of their masks out of cardboard.
Next, they used low temp glue guns to adhere those pieces layer upon layer. Once their mask was built, some students used papier-mâché’ to help soften the edges of their sculpture, and then they all painted them with a white acrylic paint for the base coat.
The last step in these fabulous masks was to paint them using a variety of colored paints similar to Cantrell’s style – especially the signature red lips. Paint pens were used to add the finishing details.