Creative Thinking Prompt: Surrealism
Surrealism art is an art form that reunites the world of dream and fantasy with everyday reality, a mix of conscious and unconscious realms.
Artist Rene Magritte’s surrealism artwork challenges others, in an unexpected manner, to view his art not as it appears to be, but as it appears not. For Magritte, what is concealed is more important than what is open to view.
This art by Rene Magritte looks like a pipe but its translation is “This is not a pipe.”
Creative Thinking Prompt: If this is not a pipe, what else can it be?
Brainstorm alternate uses for this item. Develop a new name for this “pipe”.
“How Can You Dance?”
This picture book is a celebration of creative movement. Readers will have fun dancing these new steps.
Imagine how you can dance with spring in your shoes, you can’t move your knees or you’re mad as a bee.
This book promotes creative expression and making connections.
TITLE: How Can You Dance?
AUTHOR: Rick Walton
ILLUSTRATOR: Ana López Escrivá
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2001
AGE GROUP: 4-6
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creative expression and making connections
1) Make a list of feelings. How might you dance to sadness or happiness or scared?
2) Substitute movement for your name. For example, my name Ann is shown by jumping up and clapping my hands above my head.
3) Tell a short story using only movement (no words). You can use a story you already know or make one up.
To learn more about author Rick Walton, visit:
To learn more about illustrator Ana López Escrivá, visit:
Adam Hillman, SpaghettiOOOOOOOOO, 2016
Creative Thinking Prompt: Knolling
Knolling is defined as arranging objects at 90 degree angles from each other and then photographing them. American sculptor Tom Sachs uses knolling as an integral part to his process. He describes the process of knolling in his 2009 studio manual, 10 Bullets.
- Scan your environment for materials, tools, books, music, etc. which are not in use.
- Put away everything not in use. If you aren’t sure, leave it out.
- Group all ‘like’ objects.
- Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on, or the studio itself.
Object Arranger Artist Adam Hillman creates his artwork using knolling. By carefully arranging items, he makes colorful compositions and then photographs them.
Images ©Adam Hillman
Think Deeper: Try your hand at knolling. Collect objects from around your home that share a common trait and arrange them using 90 degree angles.
To view more of Adam’s artwork, visit:
To learn more about knolling and view artwork, visit:
Creative Thinking Prompt: DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion®
Creative expression + creative movement + environment + inter- and intra- relationships = DIAVOLO
Diavolo’s mission statement is to explore the relation and interaction between the human body and its architectural environment to understand how we are being affected not only socially, but physically and emotionally. Dancers fly through the air from structures designed by Jacques Heim. Their acrobatic dance performance incorporates strength as well as emotion to tell a story.
In 1992, French-born choreographer and visionary Jacques Heim created DIAVOLO, an acrobatic dance company that incorporates unique geometric-architectural props. Diavolo stands for “I fly” in Latin and “day” in Spanish. Currently, they are competing on the TV show, America’s Got Talent.
To learn more about Diavolo, visit:
Creative Thinking Prompt: Flower Portrait Art
Do as artist Vicki of the Sister Golden Company does, create portraits with nature. Take a walk, collecting nature items such as twigs, petals, acorns, seeds, sand, flowers, leaves, etc. Ask permission before taking and/or cutting flowers. Sketch out your portrait idea. Use a flat surface such as a sidewalk to create your art. When you are done, take a picture and then allow nature to take your art wherever the wind may blow.
To view more flower portrait and nature art, visit:
Creative Thinking Prompt: Design Your Pool
In the dog days of summer, wouldn’t it be great if you had a pool that had everything you wanted? Design a pool that fits your style.
Here are some pool designs to inspire you.
Think Deeper: What else can your pool be used for besides swimming?
Creative Thinking Prompt: Candygories Art Game
I love playing games. As a kid, I refused to read the game rules. Instead I tried to figure out how to play the game on my own. If the game eventually got too easy, I invented my own rules for more challenge. Today, I created Candygories, a combination of the game Scattergories and food art.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-6 players, ages 5 and up
- Gather together a mix of assorted candy, marshmallows, pretzels, chocolate chips, assorted cereals, and assorted different sized crackers. If you’d like, you can add other food.
- a timer or something that can track 2 minutes
- paper and pencils
- a list of categories
HOW TO PLAY:
- As a group, make a list of 15 categories such as zoo animals, ways to get to school, pets, things that grow, etc. Write categories on separate slips of paper and fold up. Put these slips into a hat or bowl.
- Place the assorted food in the center of the circle where everyone can reach it.
- Choose who will go first. The first player picks a category from the hat, reads it out loud and then starts the timer for two minutes (or if you want to extend the time, you can).
- Each player will create an object from the chosen category using the food supply.
- When time is up, write down what you think each player created. Then each player takes a turn with their guesses. A point is given for each correct guess to the player whose creation was guessed correctly.
- Take turns by going around the circle. When it is the next player’s turn, s/he will select a new category from the hat.
- The player who gets to 15 first wins.
Creative Thinking Prompt: Design A Chair That’s You
A chair is a commonly used object. Here are some truly unique ones.
rhino, walrus, octopus
books and CDs
Creative Thinking Prompt: Design a chair that represents you. Use your imagination to create a chair that doesn’t resemble a traditional chair. Make it as original as you. What are some different types of chairs (rocking chair, throne, etc.)? What materials would you use and why? What is the purpose of your chair? What colors will you use? How will you decorate/embellish your chair? How will you use your chair? How many legs will your chair have? Will your chair have a back? What will the back look like? How will the seat of your chair be designed? Sketch your chair design.
To view some more interesting chairs, visit:
Creative Thinking Prompt: Installation Artist Chiharu Shiota
Photo credit: Sunhi Mang
Artist Chiharu Shiota uses yarn and repurposed materials to create powerful, provoking art.
The Key in the Hand 2015 at the 56th Venice Biennale
Chiharu Shiota suspends over 50,000 keys collected from world-wide donors with weaved yarn over a wooden boat. The keys represent feelings and memories while the red yarn represents lines of memory and how they relate to one another.
Creative Thinking Prompt: In what ways might you use a key besides opening a door? Brainstorm a list of possibilities of what you can do with a key. What else can a key represent? How might you incorporate keys into an art project?
To learn more about Chiharu Shiota and her work, visit:
Infinity Lines 2017 at Savannah College of Art and Design
Creative Thinking Prompt: Sugar Painting
A Chinese traditional folk art, sugar painting is a skilled art form that is fading away in today’s society. To be trained in this art form, sugar painters often first train as a traditional painter. Using a marble slab as a canvas, melted caramelized sugar, a ladle type spoon, and a metal spatula as their tools, sugar artists create phoenix, dragons, and koi fish. Once created, the art is attached to a wooden stick to eat.
Watch this three minute video to view a sugar koi fish being made.
To learn more about China’s sugar art, visit:
Kids can paint with sugar, too.