How Narratives Reflect upon Adolescent Artist Identity
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Bridging the formative childhood past to the young cognitive adult, adolescents on their paths to discovering themselves are challenged with expressing their perspectives of identity as revealed in their relationship with their environment, culture, and values. This action-based classroom study explores how and why visual narratives can create or enhance the adolescent artist's ability to reveal and express their identity. Using a gender- balanced mixed ability introductory art class, students were assigned both a skill-based non-narrative art project, as well as a concept-based narrative alternative in the same media. Within a three week period both photograms and pinhole photography art lessons were introduced and completed. Formative and summative self-assessment rubrics were supplemented by anonymous peer and teacher assessments. Collected data also included both versions of the student art, reflections, anecdotes, and narratives by the artists, peers, teacher, and parents, as well as teacher observations and photographic documentation of the process. Analysis of the data indicated a trend that narratives in visual art significantly creates and enhances adolescent identity because it transforms a skill-based task into a perceptual and conceptual expression of personal being and meaning. The final results of the research were applied in a modified and improved unit plan incorporating a conceptual-based narrative with the introduction of new skills and techniques using silver-based photographic media.