The Artist's Toolkit: Visual Elements and Principles
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The Artist's Toolkit: Visual Elements and Principles
See Artists in ActionTa-Coumba Aiken
Ta-coumba Aiken: Video Screenshot

My name is Ta-coumba Aiken. I'm an artist. I'm a muralist. I do large scale public art on grain elevators and walls and stuff like that. I'm gonna get ready to do this fantastic thing with a blank piece of paper, a black, blank piece of paper. That means I get to use my imagination. So if you ever get the opportunity to use your imagination, you can try something like this.

I have all the primary colors here. Red, blue. Red, blue, green, yellow....Oh my goodness. It kinda looks like a face. Guy with a big nose. Lets see. I need some whites for the eyes. Let's use triangles. I'll put that there. Wants to turn, so I'll turn it. Like that. Move those out of the way. And I think I have a little girl dancing, and she's gonna wear red stockings. Let's make it more a diamond shape. Diamond shape. You know sometimes when your materials go down and they don't do what you want to do, maybe it's because that's the way it should be done...

Sometimes you might find something that doesn't work one place, but it sure can work another place... I like to have a really full composition, and I don't want the edges even to be dull. I don't want to just put 'em all the same way, so maybe I'll come up with some different solutions... I don't want this kid to just have an all blue outfit, even though guys don't know how to put their ensembles together like young ladies do...

Now look at this. See the space in here? And if I can work something here, then there's a thing called "positive and negative space". This is negative space. This is positive space. Doesn't mean it's bad and good, it's just... we have to define it some kinda way. ... Those eyebrows seem like they're way too high. Why don't we take one of these green ones and make it a green and blue eyebrow. ... Connect it to the blue right here. Then connect this here...

Spot is barking, 'cause Spot wants to go, but, you know it's only... Oh, 'cause it's the car. But only one wheel on it, so they're gonna have to take a bus. Let's put a wheel on it? No, let's not put a wheel on it. Let's just leave it alone. Let's just call this "going shopping". Oh, and when you finish this, in your mind let's go "T-A-dash-C-O-U-M-B-A", and that's my signature, 'cause I always sign my stuff once I get a title for it.

Final Composition

See another work of art by Ta-Coumba Aiken

Walker Art Center The Minneapolis Institute of Arts ArtsConnectEd