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We build together

Douglas Jones's avatar Douglas Jones

This project, "We build together," is constructed on 3 4x8' panels. It measures 12x8'. The photo does the work injustice. However, any photo does. This work is beautiful in person! In April, Diego Rivera's 'Detroit Industry' murals (1932-1933) at the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) became a national landmark. Mid-may, I took a photograph of Rivera's 'Detroit Industry' murals at the DIA. I cropped a portion that depicts workers on the assembly line. Then, I cropped the image, pixelated it, enlarged it, and cut it into hundreds of pieces. I took these 'dot sheets' to 15 separate k-12 classrooms representing 11 different school districts. The students received small grids with squares representing different colors on it. Using q-tips and acrylic paint, the students applied paint. I taught each class about color mixing, labor intensiveness, Pointillism, and collaboration after giving a brief presentation about Diego Rivera, the City of Detroit, the history of the assembly line, and the preservation of our cultural history by the Detroit Institute of Art. The students spent 4 minutes with each small grid. After 4 minutes, I blew a whistle and the students passed each sheet and palette to the next person. I then took the small pieces of paper, assembled them on 4x8' panels, and constructed, 'We build together." Assembly Line is shown above. Michael Dauter, Sarah Shirk, Kaitlyn McDonough, and Terri Patrick helped me with the assembly of the panels. JXN Art Teachers gave me permission and helped facilitate my meetings with the students. The process itself took a tremendous amount of work. Each student had independent eyes and color matched accordingly, The students represented a significant gap in experience and skill levels. I requested that teachers specifically coordinate the inclusion of the lowest level students. The assembly line format inside the classroom kept the youngest students actively interested. Additionally, passing the sheets led to collective problem solving within each cluster of students.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth: 3"
  • Medium: Acrylic
  • Width: 12'
  • Year created: 2014
  • Height: 8'