“Okay, class. Now that we’ve finished our lecture on the physiology of a pygmy Chihuahua, I’m going to ask you all to make some sort of artistic representation of your favorite human organ system. It needs to be 3-D, and it also needs to be stunningly beautiful. Also, it is due in seven minutes.”
You think that’s funny? You’re sick. That’s not funny—that’s just true. True, as in teachers nowadays seem to think that assigning sculptures, posters, or other creative projects is a good idea. True, as in yes these projects are actually due the next day. And true, as in there is no such thing as a pygmy Chihuahua.
Now, what’s wrong with art projects, you ask?
Art projects are insanely skewed towards those with any sense of artistic skill. All it takes is one Leonardo Van Gogh in your class, and boom, every other project looks bad. Rather than think that your project is good, as it is no better or worse than the rest of the projects, your teacher assumes thatDa Vinci’s project is the only ‘A’ worthy project, and that the entire rest of the class deserves a ‘C’.
No Educational Benefit
Sure, you learned something in the lecture, or from your textbook. But unless you can explain to me exactly how cutting out six green-paper borders helped you learn about the electron and proton, I think it is safe to assume that when doing an art project, you learn absolutely nothing.
Actually, that’s not true; you learn just how hard it is to cut straight lines when you are running on three hours of sleep. Maybe that should become some sort of sobriety test:
“Excuse me, sir, but you were swerving across two lanes. Can you please cut me a rectangle from this piece of caution tape?” “Sure.” “Oooh, I’m sorry, sir, that’s a parallelogram. Your angles are 91 degrees and 89 degrees. You were close, though. But I think I’m going to have to take you back to the station.”
I think most everyone believes that global warming is real by now. I mean, thanks to changing weather patterns, hurricanes have recently hit cities like New York, D.C., and Denver. So, let’s think about it: why should you just turn in a one-page paper, when you can waste upwards of 65 pages mounting, re-mounting, sculpting, folding, cutting, collage-ing, and constructing an art project with the same information?
But It’s Not Hopeless
Sure, art projects are awful, but if you repress your inner artist and simply take steps to create what’s proven to get an ‘A,’ your grade nor sleep need not take the hit.
The easiest way to make any art poster or display board look impressive is to layer more paper. To do this, you’ll need a glue stick, paper, more paper, another glue stick—because the first one will have dried out before you can get your paper together—and some more paper. Pick three colors that don’t give you a headache when you look at them together, and just stack them in an overlapping style. After all, this is how they present stuff in the corporate world, I hear. No wonder so many large companies go bankrupt.
Mounting provides a nice foundation, but accenting is where you truly illustrate: “Look at me! I either have too much spare time, or drank six gallons of coffee at 2 AM as I finished this! Or both! Yaaaaaay!”
As you can probably tell from that description, accenting is generally seen on girls’ posters/projects, but not those of guys. So, if you’re male, your accents need to be incredibly masculine. Mud, smushed bugs, or exposed rusty chain-link fence bits work well.
Even if it’s only a poster, and not a sculpture or painting, the quality of your materials matters—often, it will make up for your lack of artistic skill. If you spend at least $500 per square-inch of your project, you should probably be okay. Or, if you don’t have a few grand to drop on your homework and would rather save it for college—which is crazy, because I’m sure this art project will be way more important to your life—you can always just use crayon. Then, just explain that crayon is symbolic of [mumble this part] and your teacher will be very impressed.
In some rare cases, you just won’t be able to compete with your classmates’ projects; maybe one of them read this blog and was already a good artist. In that case, you need to resort to sabotage (Warning: if they too read this blog, you’ll probably want to build a concrete bunker in to keep your project safe while you carry out your espionage. And if they have a concrete bunker too, well, hey, failing and then repeating a class isn’t so bad).
Since you don’t want to get caught, you should resort to stealth. Maybe you leave a leaking water bottle next to their project. Heck, maybe you accidentally trip and fall on it (untie your shoelaces. If you don’t have shoelaces, get some and just sort of throw them up in the air as you fall, exclaiming “Oh, no, I tripped over my laces!” Hopefully, no one will notice that you were wearing sandals. In February.)
No one will ever tell you that we need more art projects in non-art classes. If they do, pinch someone: yourself first, to see if you’re dreaming, and, if you aren’t, then pinch them, to get them to go away before they can officially assign an art project. In the 97% of cases when that won’t work, though, at least now you know how to complete the art project better than Salvador Dali. When he was in high school, he just turned in dead plants.
If you think your project is still lacking, you might want to check out “How to Use Clip Art to Make Your Projects Better,” published this time last year. Unless you’re Bill Gates, in which case, don’t read that one.