‘We will get through this with art,’ tells artist Bob and Roberta Smith. Indeed we will!
Each week during lockdown we will be updating this page with our ‘contained’ art challenges (available daily via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) designed to support you and your family during this period of containment. For kids and adults alike, we aim to bring a daily dose of creative inspiration, to be interpreted as you wish, using whatever materials you have to hand. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
If you do create something, we would LOVE to see it... please share on social media using the hashtag #containedart
Contained Art Challenge #1
What sculptural forms can you create with cardboard? Cut some small random shapes out of a piece of cardboard and cut thin slots into them towards the middle. Decorate your pieces however you want, then think about how you slot them together to compose your sculpture. We made up names for ours, what will you create? No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #2
Can you create a ‘fingermal’ by drawing on your hand? What finger features can you create? Can you make your fingermal perform? No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #3
Walking has become part of our daily routine. It’s a great time for a chat, a fresh perspective, a taste of freedom beyond our boundaries. Today’s challenge asks you to explore the world around you in your community. Look, explore, examine closely; use your eyes and maybe hands as well. Take in the textures that you find and get snapping. Can you fill the screen or take a photo from an unusual angle? Talk about the textures…can you touch it? What do you think it feels like? Why wouldn’t you touch it?
We were talking imagery, poetic license, onomatopoeic qualities – all sorts! Creative English lesson DONE! No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #4
We’re jumping on the rainbow bandwagon today. Create yourself a rainbow to display in your window or outside your house. You could paint it, collage it, print it, draw it... whatever you like. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Today we have a game of monsters, dreamt up by the very wonderful artist and arts educator Herve Tullet. In this game, each artist needs some paper upon which have been drawn some shapes (maybe ask an adult to prepare some blobs, splats, ovals, etc. to help you get into the ‘anything goes’ mindset). Use a dice and take turns to roll… now follow Herve’s guidance to draw the features, swapping sheets in between each roll of the dice.
Image: Lost at E Minor
Contained Art Challenge #6
Parisian-born street artist Kashink takes inspiration by traveling to different cultures, ‘celebrating the diversity of mankind’ in her work. With travel restrictions in place, visiting cultures and communities beyond our own will need to wait, however Google’s Street Art Project compiles an incredible archive of the very best street art from across the world. Click the link and ‘explore the stories behind the art’ within this online resource. Which piece/artist is your favourite? What ideas and meanings are behind the artists work? Which artist inspires you and why? read more >>
Contained Art Challenge #7
Today’s ‘contained’ art challenge asks you to create a costume piece using some of the blossoming spring growth we have right now. You could make a crown, design some wings, or even an entire outfit! No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Image: Lindy Bop Cardiff
Contained Art Challenge #8
Dancing bolsters us, not just physically but mentally too, lifting the mood and easing anxiety. For today’s ‘contained’ art challenge, we ask you to get your groove on and choreograph some moves...dance like nobody’s watching; express yourself; throw some shapes! “Dance is the movement of the universe concentrated in an individual.” – Isadora Duncan. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #9
Today’s ‘contained’ art challenge: give a dead branch a new lease of life. We used paint, wool/fabric scraps and markers to create this beauty to turn into our COVID tree of hope. On your tree, you could hang some ‘finds’ from your walk, or things you have made. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #10
With this challenge we aim to bring you some calm, asking you to create a mindful picture...great stress relief for all the family in these contained times! Start with some shapes, some filled some not filled and go from there. Follow your instinct and work in the here and now- no end product in mind. Layer it up throughout your day in between zoom calls or home-school, when your feeling stressed or anxious, or to make some you time. “The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There's only one moment for you to live, and that is the present moment. If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life.” Thich Nhat Hanh. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #11
Today we’re signposting you to the Whitney Museum of American Art Kid’s Art Challenge. Their team have produced an entire resource bank of family art projects based on specific pieces in their collections, introducing you to some of the diverse ways that artists think and work, and we hope they inspire the artist in you too! No rules, just your creativity and imagination. Read more >>
Contained Art Challenge #12
Today’s ‘contained’ art challenge asks you to create a shadow installation. Pick objects or make things that create interesting shadow shapes against a backdrop or a cardboard box. Carl Jung: ‘One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.’ No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #13
Today we revisit a wonderful workshop from last year’s art clubs at Danesfield and Minehead Middle schools with the amazing West Somerset artist, Lucy Large. Lucy challenged the students to create a linear sculpture using all manner of salvaged flotsam and jetsam, reaching from ceiling to floor. Find yourself some objects and start joining (a hook or a coat hanger is a great place to start so once it gets long enough you can hang it from a curtain rail. How will you join your components? What forms will they collectively make? No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #14
Create yourself a blow painting! Use some black ink (or watered-down paint or even food colouring) and drop a splodge onto your paper. Blow it around the page with a straw; allow it to surprise you. Once dry, choose you colour scheme and fill some of the gaps. Touch up the black lines at the end. Simple. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #15
This photo seems pretty apt right now. Taken by Hauser and Wirth’s youth group, Arthaus, forming part of a film called ‘The Rectangle’ with artists John Wood and Paul Harrison back in 2018, these placards and young people seem to sum up our containment as we reach our fourth week. For today’s ‘contained’ art challenge, make yourself a placard expressing a feeling or notion about containment and compose a photo or short film. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #16
For today’s challenge, you are encouraged to digitally visit Gagosian’s Artists Spotlight film on Stanley Whitney (available on Instagram: @gagosian). “I like to leave it as pure magic. People say the colour does this or the colour does that. And I say the colour does what it does.” Does Whitney’s use of colour inspire you? How would you arrange a grid to make colour the focus? Can you improvise with colour and allow these to guide you? No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #17
Rainbows. A symbol of hope and gratitude in these contained times. Even Damien Hirst is in on the trend completing Butterfly Rainbow to raise money for the NHS. Today’s contained art challenge asks you what colours you can find in nature or within your home? Take a closer look at your surroundings and see what rainbows you can create. Where are your rainbows hiding? No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #18
Negative space is the term we use for the area around a subject. Today’s contained art challenge asks you to find an object with an interesting silhouette then draw its outline (you can even draw around it). Colour the space outside the object – your negative space. You could create a series – I’ve used handwashes. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #19
Ay Caramba! Today’s contained art challenge asks you to create a percussion instrument. We made some castanets using bottle tops and strips of cardboard, but you could have fun looking for things that make a good noise! Create a rhythm with your instrument then play it on your doorstep for the 8pm keyworker clap this evening. ‘When you dance to your own rhythm, life taps its toes to your beat’. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #20
I’ve been having more fun with shadows this week. This time, investigating the shadows cast by my house. For today’s contained art challenge, take a piece of paper around the house and throw it down where you see a shadow. Be impulsive. Draw the outline then colour in. I drew mine on top of a painting, or you could use the inside of an envelope (the patterned ones), an old map or an old letter. Play around with how much shadow fills your page. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #21
I often see the pop art movement being studied when I go into schools. Closed just five days after opening, today’s contained art challenge points you to visit Andy Warhol’s Tate Modern virtual exhibition. A film with the show’s curators discuss Warhol’s immigrant story, his LGBTQI identity and concerns with death and religion, whilst the room-by-room exploration answers questions like: why did Warhol use soup cans in his art? What would be your subject matter if you were to create a repeating design? No rules, just your creativity and imagination. More info >>
Contained Art Challenge #22
Today’s contained art challenge is a throwback to a recent workshop, led by artist Jenny Barron, inspired by The Museum of Somerset’s Tristram Hillier exhibition. West Somerset College students created these incredible surrealist watercolours, turning inanimate, prosaic objects into something much more alive and together. Have you got objects in your house that remind you of something that lives? (Tip: Jenny taught students to draw just one, then turn paper over and rub with the back of a spoon onto fresh paper. Repeat across your page to create a whole flock... or whatever collective noun your creatures depict). Paint, shade, sketch- no rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Image: The Mime Guy’s Odd Sock
Contained Art Challenge #23
Today’s contained art challenge... become a mime artist and give others in your house a few minutes of peace and quiet! Dress up if it helps then create yourself a mime sketch... remember the 3 rules of mime: silence, show size, show detail. Classic warm-ups to try: trapped in a glass box, climbing a ladder, pulling a rope, a sticky foot or hand. Once warmed-up, design and create your own sketch. ‘A day without laughter is a day wasted,’ Charlie Chaplin. Three rules this time, and your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #24
The French term ‘frottage’, meaning ‘rubbing’, was first coined by surrealist artist Max Ernst back in 1925. He fell in love with all the textures he found in the forest and produced a huge body of work titled ‘Histoire Naturelle’. Today’s contained art challenge asks you to find some flat-ish, textured objects and see what patterns you can create by rubbing either the long side of a crayon or pastel, or simply hold a soft pencil at the end for a loose, side-on grip. Be as expressive with your marks as you wish... try overlapping and layering, turning your page (thin paper works best), or you could create a creature or a landscape. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Today’s contained art challenge comes from our friends across the bay at Minehead Eye. They’re asking young people to create their ideal skateboard design. Send them a picture by 30th June for your chance to win your design printed onto a brand new skateboard. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #26
‘Take a moment for meditation, visual thinking strategy exercises, and viewing works from the permanent collection that bring peace and joy!’ Today’s contained art is brought to you by @moca’s education team... a quiet exploration of Dollhouse (1972) by Miriam Schapiro, included in ‘With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art’ 1972-1985. Available to watch on Instagram, this short film forms part of their Virtual MOCA Feel Good films. Watch, breathe, take pleasure. And if you’re wanting more, switch over to YouTube to learn about Takako Yamaguchi, who is another of approximately 50 artists featured in the same exhibition. In this video, Yamaguchi discusses her relationship with pattern and decoration, as well as the trajectory of her practice.
>> YouTube Video
Contained Art Challenge #27
Today’s contained art challenge: make yourself a sketchbook. There are various ways you can do this but by far the easiest is to collect up some old envelopes and scrap paper, cut or tear them into sheets, fold in half and wrap an elastic band or hairband around the spine. Different sized pages make it more interesting and you can add a folded piece of cardboard as the cover. Draw, record, annotate and ‘fill your paper with the breathings of your heart,’ William Wordsworth. No rules, just your creativity and imagination. Tag and share #containedart
Contained Art Challenge #28
The albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird, measuring up to 11 feet wide, and they can live into their sixties! These incredible creatures hold a special place in our hearts in Watchet (which inspired Coleridge’s epic poem, The Ancient Mariner), so it is devastating to see these magnificent creatures on the endangered list. The Art Institute Plymouth are hosting the Ancient Mariner Art Project, so for today’s contained art challenge, create a piece of albatross-inspired artwork using natural/found materials or digital means and enter their competition, open to all ages, for the chance to win a £25 book token.
In 2018, we held our final show in our small container gallery (ahead of our big build) by the incredible Chris Dobrowolski, where the albatross piece brought our visitors much joy. Chris strapped a miniature book to a real albatross to take the poem itself on its own little adventure. What will you create? No rules, just your creativity and imagination. Tag and share #containedart #marinerbigread @theaiplym
Contained Art Challenge #29
When you’re out walking and you read little messages of hope in people’s windows, it gives you such a boost! A feeling of camaraderie and a sense of being in this together. Today’s contained art challenge is to write a message of hope and positivity as we look forward into the future to be displayed in your window for your community. No rules, just your creativity and imagination. Tag and share #containedart
Contained Art Challenge #30
I’ve got a really satisfying one for today’s contained art challenge... the versatile craft of plastic fusion. You will need: an iron and ironing board (plus adult to help littlies here), a selection of plastic carrier and delivery bags, baking paper (optional: sequins, glitter, acrylic paint).
1) Cut some plastic into rectangles and layer up 3 sheets on top of a sheet of baking paper on your ironing board to make a stack.
2) Cut shapes out of more plastic and add as a design on top.
3) Optional: Add paint if you want (allow to dry) then lay one last sheet of clear plastic over.
4) Add sequins/glitter if you like a bit of sparkle.
5) Sandwich with another sheet of baking paper.
6) Iron to fuse together.
The result is a sheet a little like leather that you can turn into all sorts: a purse, book cover, card/phone holder or merely behold its fused beauty as a work of art of its own! No rules, just your creativity and imagination. Tag and share #containedart
Contained Art Challenge #31
Today’s contained art points you across to Baltic’s Animalesque: Art across Species and Beings online exhibition. Animalesque invites viewers to consider various forms of solidarity and union that can be established between species, celebrating co-existence as we currently restrict our own. There are two films available to view: the Baltic Spotlight film is a tour with curator Filipa Ramos, or the shorter Baltic Bites tour is led by a member of Baltic’s crew. Both are available to view via Baltic’s YouTube channel and discuss the ideas behind these works, although the latter might be more accessible for younger viewers. What connections have you made with the animal world during lockdown?
Today’s contained art challenge is a throwback to a rust printing workshop. Dreamt up and delivered by artist Jon England with a local first school, these works formed part of Jon’s Hour Hands public commission last year. You will need to exercise some patience…these prints take a week or so to ‘develop’!
Today’s contained art challenge is a bit brutal...flower bashing! Pick a small handful of flowers and sandwich them between some thick paper. Next, stand on them to flatten and then take a hammer (or a rolling pin) to bash them into releasing their beautiful colours onto your page. Be careful not to rip the paper, do mind your fingers and ask the flower owner’s permission first! Play around with which flowers work best and how you compose your picture. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Image: Fine Art America
Contained Art Challenge #34
Today’s contained art challenge invites you to become a newsreader and report on the curious happenings in your household. Make yourself a TV using a cardboard box and cut out a hole for the screen. Wear the box on your head and prepare a news bulletin. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #35
Today’s contained art challenge... create a shadow drawing. Find objects with an interesting silhouette—we found these beautiful skeletal leaves—then shine a light, cast your shadow, and get drawing. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #36
Today’s contained art challenge invites you to a feast for the senses. Moon Water by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, is inspired by the Buddhist proverb 'Flowers in a mirror and moon on the water are both illusive', multiple mirrors and gently moving water gradually fill the stage and reflect the dancers' movements in this beautifully meditative performance. See highlights from this remarkable performance via this link.
Today’s contained art challenge asks you engage with the act of mark making. Explore different objects and the textured marks they create on your paper or surface; be creative with the medium that you use...on C4 Art Club they suggested using noodles and soy sauce. What about ketchup or other sauces instead of paint? Don’t be intimidated, make a mark and ‘let that be cursive shorthand for an idea,’ Craig Thompson. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #38
Today’s contained art challenge...create a skewer sculpture. Use some play dough, plastercine or blu-tack to position your BBQ skewer, then thread pieces of cardboard, toilet rolls or any bits and pieces you can find. Adults may need to help pre-poking holes. Ours evolved into this crazy dude but you could create a totally abstract form, or how about a covid totem pole? No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #39
Today’s contained art challenge comes from a wonderful student art teacher, Lizzie Barnes, whom I had the pleasure of working at the start of 2020. Create a lockdown collage...use text, pictures, patterns to express how your feeling, or just to have some fun! No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #40
Today’s contained art challenge...make yourself an instrument that makes different sounds. These could be tuned sounds like these bottles or a xylophone or even a string instrument, or they could be percussion sounds that offer variety. Can you make up a song about these contained times to perform? No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #41
Today’s contained art takes you on a fashion journey from 17th century Japan all the way to the contemporary catwalk. The V&A have produced a series of five curator-led short films, available via YouTube, giving viewers behind the scenes access and insight to ‘Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk’. How would you design yours?
Today’s contained art challenge involves printing with bubbles. This activity can be done in different ways, but for both you will need some water and washing-up liquid with a few drops of food colouring (or ink if you have some for older kids). You can blow into your mixture with a straw then lift your paper to print against the bubbles. Or make a bubble brush using an old plastic bottle with the base chopped off then tape a piece of net in its place (a fruit net is ideal) using duct tape. Dip the net end into your mixture and blow through the spout to create bubbles to drop onto your page. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Image: Cloud Technology Partners
Contained Art Challenge #43
For today’s contained art challenge, become a rock star! Dress up and film yourself lip syncing to your favourite song. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #44
Today’s contained art challenge is another messy one...magnet painting. Use a tray and place your paper on it. Take some light, magnetic objects like springs, ball bearings or paper clips etc. and dunk them in some paint. Flip them onto the paper then use a magnet under the tray to move them about. This is a great one for investigating colour mixing and avoiding the dreaded brown mix. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Contained Art Challenge #45
Today’s contained art challenge is a drawing game...one person sits behind the other and uses their finger to ‘draw’ an image on the other’s back for them to draw on paper. Simple drawings work best. No rules, just your creativity and imagination.
Further Online resources
Overwhelmed, exhausted and bamboozled by the intense volume of online activity being sent your way during these unimaginable times? Contains Art have been sifting through the very best (and worst!) the internet has to offer, bringing you the ultimate list of innovative material for the creative (or wannabe creative), socially-distancing households.
Contains Art will also be posting regular online ideas and inspiration during your 'containment' – see Instagram @containsart1 and our Contains Art Facebook page, tagging your responses with #containedart
For kids, teens and parents...
Bob and Roberta Smith
Bob and Roberta Smith is 'going to crush this virus with art'! Using Instagram to bring you regular creative tasks, Bob and Roberta bring hope and inspiration during these desperate times.
Hervé Tullet's Expo Ideale
Artist and arts educator Hervé Tullet is inviting children to join in with his 'Expo Ideale', by joining in with a series of videos and creating your very own exhibition at home. Click the PDF links to find out more.
Noel Fielding's Art Club
Comedian Noel Fielding has created an adorable online art club for children of any age. Noel sets a daily theme for your young ones to work on at home. Submit photos of your creations to be viewed by Noel and his guest judges.
The website has loads of ideas to develop parents' subject knowledge of fundamental concepts in art, as well as being a great resource for older and younger learners alike. Their Instagram feed also contains quirky ideas such as #exhibitioninasink with opportunities to upload and share.
gomersal primary school art
The wonderful art teacher Mrs Barrett has hundreds of ideas for teachers, parents and kids. Throughout this period, they are extending their fantastic blog to include specific ideas for remote learning.
exploration of the day
Born out of our current circumstances, author Keri Smith asks us to join together in an act of rebellion: 'paying attention when distraction is at an all-time high'. Post and share responses to these original daily projects #explorationoftheday.