Monthly Archives: April 2015

ROA at Raintree

As part of the kindergartener’s “Bone Robot Project” at Forest Preschool, a Belgium artist who goes by the pseudonym Roa, came to paint!

Wait, I thought Roa had an art show in NYC at the Jonathan Levine Gallery going on right now?

He does! (Click here to check it out).

But while in the States he also visited Forest School!

Welcome ROA!

Welcome ROA!

The kindergarten class came upon Roa’s work when doing research for their “Bone Robot” project. The kids choose the themes for their semester-long projects. And this one was a doozy!

A student's sculpture (looks like a Bone Robot to me!)

A student’s sculpture (looks like a bone robot to me!)

Robots

Robots

Here is a short essay by the kindergarten teacher/owner of the school:

Who is That Masked Belgian Man?

Roa at Raintree

Roa at Raintree

Cultivating Relationships to Further Inquiry

To make a robot, it’s best to understand how bodies move. Bones, joints, muscles, tendons, cartilage are all good things to know for robot making. How are bodies put together? What components allow movement? What would happen if something were left out? What does the mechanics of animal locomotion mean for robots?

To answer these questions, the kindergarteners first studied the human body.

And from humans they moved on to local animals. Their goal: CREATE BONE ROBOTS THAT MOVE.

As Bone Robot Project evolved, the children became enthralled in the work of a graffiti artist also interested in the bodies and workings of animals bones–ROA.

“Wow. That’s just, I mean, that’s just pretty cool,” remarked a kindergartener.

And it is pretty cool. Roa examines the local fauna of an area–the common, the native, the endangered. He considers the role animals play in a particular place and with the human inhabitants. Then, he finds a prominent location to give it form. Using spray paint, Roa creates huge art pieces depicting the flesh and bone of a town.

Kindergarteners have a lot to say about his pieces. The often viscid nature of his graffiti seems to match the juxtaposition of the children’s project of bone and metal.

How will the children integrate their encounters with Roa’s art?

ROA painting

ROA painting

He used foam brushes, rollers and spray paint

He used foam brushes, rollers and spray paint

Mural Materials

Mural Materials

The kids observed him and sketched and wrote while he worked.

The kids observed him and sketched and wrote while he worked.

Baby and friends watching ROA

Baby and friends watching Roa

On day three…

He painted a...

He painted a…

Groundhog

Groundhog

Mural Materials II

Mural Materials II

I spy ROA painting in the studio (as seen from the kindergarten classroom)

I spy Roa painting in the studio (as seen from the kindergarten classroom)

Parent...

Parent…

Performance...

Performance…

Art!

Art!

My nine year old son (who used to attend this preschool) hasn’t gotten a chance to see the murals in person yet but he did look through all the pictures and jot down his thoughts…

One needn't be a gallery-goer to have an opinion of art...

One needn’t be a gallery-goer to have an opinion of art…

On the Raccoon skeleton, he wrote:

I realized that it was missing part of it’s rib cage. Why did you put it in skeleton form? Why didn’t you just paint a real raccoon? Couldn’t you have made it a bit smaller? I mean, it’s squished up in a little corner, well big corner but HUGE painting. The last thing is that wouldn’t it suck being that raccoon? Squished up in a corner of a room, missing part of your rib cage?

And on the Groundhog, he wrote:

Is that a squirrel or a groundhog? Because it looks a lot like a squirrel well, the head anyway. Why is it’s tail so stubby?

Roa has certainly taken some liberties with animal anatomy, exaggerating the size of the bones in the Raccoon’s tail and in his big-headed, skinny-necked groundhog. The kids noticed while he painted, that he worked quickly (each mural took approximately 3-5 hours each), did not have an eraser and he did not “fix” drips.

“I thought he was supposed to be professional?” one of the kindergarteners remarked as a drip of black paint left a trail down the wall. (hahahaha)

“This is art. If I wanted it to be perfect I would take a picture.” Roa answered.

Indeed!

It was fun to discover an artist with a secret identity as Spy Garden loves a little mystery. It is exciting to see how these murals have inspired conversation. How will they inform the next generation of artists?…

Fleeting graffiti

Fleeting graffiti

Dexie appreciating street art haha

Dexie appreciating street art haha

Roa’s recent works showing now at the Jonathan Levine Gallery are neatly contained in squares and rectangles you can hang on a wall:

Roa, Composition III: Alligatoridae, Testudinidae, Gastropoda (DETAIL) (source of image: Jonathan Levine Gallery)

Roa, Composition III: Alligatoridae, Testudinidae, Gastropoda (DETAIL) (source of image: Jonathan Levine Gallery)

Which is really just so much more civilized than street art. But civility, restraint, subtlety? Perhaps not the stuff to suit the wild preschoolers of the forest!

Spy Garden Spring

Tulip (my favorite!)

Tulip (my favorite!)

Our street

Our street

Root

Root

Yellow tulip

Yellow tulip

Beautiful redbuds and dogwood

Beautiful redbuds and dogwood

Strawberry blossom

Strawberry blossom

Spring blooms

Spring blooms

Baby with may apples

Baby with may apples

Or podophyllum if you prefer.

Love these little umbrellas

Love these little umbrellas

We were searching for morels in the woods this afternoon. We didn’t find any yet but we did spot another…

False Morel

False Morel

I read that false morels (which are poisonous) pop up a few weeks before the real thing, so we will have to keep hunting! While I was hunting for morels, Baby was hunting for coyotes. And rocks…

Rock bed in a little valley in the woods in front of our house

Rock bed in a little valley in the woods in front of our house

Rock

Rock

Doesn't this rock look like a whale?

Doesn’t this rock look like a whale?

Rock

Rock

Ahhhh, the joys of rocks.

Lip-smacking good puddle

Lip-smacking good puddle

Little Violets

Little Violets

Tulips

Tulips

And…

An unruly mess of seedlings

An unruly mess of seedlings

The date of our last frost is usually around April 21st, but I was getting impatient (and it has been quite warm) so I have already planted lots of things; including peppers and eggplants; which I will cover if it gets cold. There is zero rhyme or reason to this year’s planting. Things are going in the ground, that’s about all I can say about it! Spring is a wild time. The weeds are growing like crazy and little seedlings popping up everywhere (and for a time I’m not always sure which is which!). The tiny, fragile seedlings are hammered by wind and hail and pelting torrential rain. It’s a wonder any little plants survive spring in St. Louis!

Missouri River sunrise

Missouri River sunrise

AB Tour (& More!)

A tour of…

Anheuser Busch Brewery

Anheuser Busch Brewery

I wore my red pants.

I wore my red pants.

Budweiser B

Budweiser B

Stained glass in the Clydesdale stables

Stained glass in the Clydesdale stables

Budweiser Clydesdale

Budweiser Clydesdale

Neigghhh

Neigghhh

Beautiful spring light

Beautiful spring light

Logo

Logo

On the campus of the brewery

On the campus of the brewery

Tower

Tower

Brew House

Brew House

Nana and Pop inside the brew house

Nana and Pop inside the brew house

It smells delicious in here!

It smells delicious in here!

Pretty architecture and lots of light

Pretty architecture and lots of light

The brewery tour is definitely worth checking out if you are ever in St. Louis. It’s free! Including free beer! After the tour we went to lunch in…

Lafayette Square (a neighborhood in St. Louis)

Lafayette Square (a neighborhood in St. Louis)

At Square One Brewery

Where they were also brewing beer!

Where they were also brewing beer!

We enjoyed eating outside next to this cool fountain (Spy Garden needs a fountain like this!)

We enjoyed eating outside next to this cool fountain (Spy Garden needs a fountain like this!)

Ahhh! Spring!

Ahhh! Spring!

Look! The Arch!

Look! The Arch!

Look! They're building an Ikea!

Look! They’re building an Ikea!

It’s always fun to go into the city for inspiration. Back home in Spy Garden…

The seedlings are waiting to be planted

The seedlings are waiting to be planted

A blank canvas of dirt

A blank canvas of dirt

Dogwood

Dogwood

Dogwood

Dogwood

Dogwood

Dogwood

And check out this guy!

And check out this guy!

A false morel (poisonous)

A false morel (poisonous)

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!