Putting it Together

In my classes, students can choose between PPT or Keynote to make your CS.   (Keynote is my favourite as it gives an editing capability (and we are a MAC school))

The following breakdown will give you a good start at setting up your CS.  As you continue to develop your CS, you will notice where you want to add more information and spread out through the screens.

    • Function and Purpose 
    • Cultural and Conceptual 
    • Formal Analysis 
    • Venn Diagram (Comparing All 3 images)
    • Similarities and Differences in Composition/Formal Qualities/Cultural 
  • 1 BIBLIOGRAPHY (List of Sources) SCREEN 

The official IB expectation is 10-15 for SL and 10- 15 for HL +3 Relation to Artwork

Formal Analysis

The most successful strategy is to choose the EOA/POD that are most prevalent in the artwork and use them as subheadings – discuss specifically how they are being used by the artist in the artwork.

Use a digital editor  (such as Photoshop) to visualize your observations – break up parts of the image to show focus, draw the lines you are discussing over the image, create a color scheme, etc.

If you already used Feldman’s Analysis in the beginning to organize your thoughts – this is where you would use that information.  If you haven’t already… get ready to do it now….

For further emphasis, bold your Art words.

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Function and Purpose

Function and Purpose can get a bit confusing.  But how I explain it to my students, is the function is what the artwork is meant for.  The original function can be – like is it a painting made to stand  behind an altar in a church?  Or is it a sculpture in the middle of a lake?  The purpose is more about why did the artist make it?  Was it a commission (so  there is the buyer’s purpose and perhaps the artist added his/her own purpose?) What was the story s/he was trying to tell? What issue/idea was the artist commenting on?

This gets slightly more confusing/indepth if you choose older artworks- as they would have their original function and purpose – but this may have changed over the years.  And that can get interesting if you trace various functions throughout the years.

You might also want to consider the function and purpose from the perspective of the audience – or purchaser of the work? Where was it intended to go?  Why?  And this also changes.

Katsushika Hokusai, The Underwave off Kanagawa, Print on Paper, 1829-1833, h 254mm – w 375mm, Rijksmuseum. URL:https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/the-underwave-off-kanagawa/JgEdIdn4pME3Mw?hl=en

If we look at Hokusai’s Great Wave of Kanagawa, originally, the work’s function was to be part of a series of prints and Hokusai’s purpose of the work was to celebrate the amazingness that is Mount Fuji (there are other purposes as well.. but I’m keeping it simple).  Once the prints were made, and the print began to gather interest, it was printed again and again thus making the purpose of the print into more of a money maker for Hokusai. 

Hokusai Souvenir Tote, Japan, 2014.  URL:https://sequinsandcherryblossom.com/2014/07/30/hokusai-great-wave/

The function of the print began to change as well, as it was embraced by audiences – first it’s function perhaps was decorate a local Japanese family’s living room wall, or to be sent abroad to sell in Europe (where it was admired by Van Gogh and his friends creating a romantic resurgence of all things Japonainse….) and then fast forward to now where it’s purpose has evolved into this massive mega marketing  Japanese superstar representing all that is Japan.

If you used McFee’s Framework chart in the beginning to organize your research, you can combine your Function and Purpose and Cultural/Conceptual onto one screen.   If the chart is done well  (with specific information) it should cover both.

However, it’s also fine to create separate screens – this makes the information much more obvious for the examiner – and gives you more room to explain your research/opinions.

Some questions to consider:

  • Why was the artwork made?   
  • What was the artist’s original intentions?   Did the intentions change/evolve?
  • What story was the artist trying to tell?
  • What events happened in the artist’s life to make him/her want to create this artwork?
  • Was the artist reacting to something?
  • Who is the artist influenced/inspired by?
  • Do cultural beliefs/religion/time/location affect the artist’s work? How?
  • Why did the artist choose the specific mediums?  
  • What does the artist think of his/her own work?  

NOTE: It will be helpful for you to research your specific artwork and see if you can find information of the artist him/herself discussing the specific artwork.

  • What was the artist’s own opinion of the work? 
  • Where did s/he struggle?  
  • What was the artist’s opinion of the reception that the work received after s/he was finished? function

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Cultural and Conceptual

To understand Cultural and Conceptual – it’s more about looking at influences on the artist that can be realised in the artwork. Cultural obviously is a bit easier to explore, starting with where the artist is from and/or where they are working/creating the work. What country/religion/culture morays may affect their work? What materials are available for them to use at the time the artwork is created? What is the artist’s feelings/thoughts/biases about the country/religion/culture that surrounds them…

For conceptual, try to understand the story of the artwork.  It might seem like a simple landscape, but if you consider that the artist chose to create that specific scene, choosing to create objects various sizes/colours/etc.. then it should become more clear that there is a story that the artist is trying to tell.  Objects can also be considered symbols representing other ideas (that the artist intended, or the audience interprets)

Ashi Lake, Kanagawa, Photo, 2015.  URL:https://www.fascinant-japon.com/visite-japon-tourisme/lac-ashi-mont-komagatake/

If we go back to our good friend Hokusai’s work, obviously, culture is a strong influence. If Hokusai was not in Japan, would his work be the same? (duh..no).  The art of woodblock print was a popular art form in Japan during Hokusai’s time.  And the beautiful blue dye that he used for the ocean, a popular colour (native) to the area.  Also, of course Mount Fuji – there is so much cultural relevance to discuss about Mt. Fuji and the religion of Shintoism… you get the picture. 

As for conceptualism, its just a picture of a large wave.  Sure, but consider why Hokusai chose that angle to make the wave so large, overshadowing the tiny Mt. Fuji. And why did he place small vulnerable fishing boats with faceless sailors rowing with all their might under the wave. And doesn’t the foam on the ends of the waves look sort of like fingers clawing out to the sailors?  Couldn’t the wave be a symbol of something – like the power of the ocean – that was/is constantly determining the quality of life for Japan… or…… (get the idea?)

Some questions to consider:

  • What location is the artist when s/he created the artwork?  
  • What is happening there? 
  • What is the culture of that location? 
  • What culture is affecting the artwork?
  • Could it affect the artwork?  How? Why?
  • What year is the artwork created? 
  • What is happening in that year? In the location of the artist? In the world?  
  • Could it affect the artwork? How? Why? 
  • What is the artist’s background? 
  • Family life? 
  • Major trauma and/or happiness in life?  
  • Does it affect the artwork? How? Why?
  • What art styles and/or groups does the artist/artwork belong to?
  • Who/what influences the artist/artwork?
  • Is the artwork in response to an event/idea/another artwork?
  • Is the artwork a cause of an event/idea/another artwork?
  • Does the artist use any symbolism in the work?  
  • Is there a larger concept that is relevant in the work? 
  • Does the artwork tell a story that is not clearly obvious to the viewer?
  • What is the audience’s response to the artwork?
  • Are there different ways the artwork can be interpreted based on differences of race, religion, beliefs, values, etc?

NOTE: It will be helpful for you to research your specific artwork and see if you can find information of from art critics and/or analysts discussing the impact of the artwork.

For this section you may want to add further images of cultural events, people and/or places that you are discussing to give context. 

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Compare and Contrast

It’s usually easiest to start your comparison section by a Venn Diagram.  This shows an easy visual that you have considered the similarities and differences between artworks.

Next, with the following screens, choose something that is prominent in each artwork that you can discuss in terms of similarities and differences.

Some ideas are to:

  •  1. Compare the cultural contexts of the work, how are they shaped by their culture and time?
  • 2. Compare the formal qualities, how are they similar, how do they differ?
  • 3. Compare the content, motifs, signs, symbols…how is meaning communicated?
  • 4. Compare the material and conceptual significance, how is this related to cultural context?

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Reflective Screens (HL)

The work analyses and reflects upon the outcomes of the investigation consistently and appropriately.  The student effectively considers their own development, making informed and meaningful connections to their own art-making practice.

The wording of the rubric for the Reflective Screens is rather vague – and can be presented anyway that you would like, but essentially, the examiners are looking for detailed ways throughout your investigation that you have analysed and reflected upon the work of your artist.  They do not want you to compare your work to the artists nor merely copy the final work.  It is expected that it is more entwined and embedded.

Think about your art process – how were you inspired by the ideas of the artists from your CS?

Included photos of the artist’s work and explain what they did and how you learnt from it or what parts you took from their process in your work.   Try to use ideas from the artists throughout the process.

  • How did the artist’s idea inspire your initial ideas?
  • Is there knowledge that the artist talks about that you relate to?
  • What was the artist’s process? Where did s/he get his/her ideas?  How are they similar to yours?
    What techniques did the artist use in the development stage that you used?
  • How does the artist view the world? Did you try to view your world in the same way?
    What techniques does the artist use in his/her works that you used?
  • What EOA and POD does the artist use that you used – did you use the same colour scheme? Texture? Contrast? Use of lines? Exaggeration? Juxtaposition?

Obviously the more similarities and connections you can make to all your artists, the stronger your reflection will be…


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