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Claes Oldenburg Inspired Paper Mache Art Project

Art 1 students have been working on a really fun group project: Claus Oldenburg Inspired Paper Mache Artworks!

Claes Oldenburg is a really fun artist to study with beginning artists! My Art 1 classes seem to find him pretty interesting! According to Wikipedia, Oldenburg was a Swedish-born American sculptor best known for his large art installations, typically featuring really HUGE versions of everyday objects. Many of his works were made in collaboration with his wife, Coosje van Bruggen, who died in 2009. Unfortunately, Mr. Oldenburg also passed away recently in July of 2022. What an amazing legacy of art he left behind!

Adam Hencz of Artland Magazine said this, “For his significance in contemporary art and the radical nature of his work at the time, Oldenburg has also been referred to as the “missing link between Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons.” Oldenburg’s works, with their vivid color, exaggerated size, and undeniable appeal, influenced a generation of later contemporary sculptors, like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, who also worked with the scale, placement, and texture of everyday objects.”

Here is a photo of myself (Kindly ignore the way I look, I ran about 8 miles that day in 90 degree heat in June 2022!) with one of Oldenburg’s most famous works, Clothespin, which is located in Philadelphia!

clothespin by claes oldenburg in philadelphia, pa june 2022

To begin our Oldenburg Inspired Paper Mache Artworks, we first looked at examples of  Oldenburg’s artwork through the years.  Then, students were divided into small groups of 3-4 students. The groups completed a brainstorming worksheet packet.   The brainstorming page has a place for students to list 30 different small everyday items.  From there, they select 4 options for their sculptures and try to sketch them.  Lastly, they select their favorite one and sketch it from all four sides (top and bottom too!).  On the last pasge, they have to think of items they may need to build the armature for it.

Oldenburg Inspired Paper Mache Art Worksheet Packet Resource

 After the planing phase, they began constructing their extremely large armatures using recycled and found materials.  I told them I wanted their sculptures to be taller than the shortest person in their group!  Ha! It doesn’t always turn out that way, and I don’t hold it against them…but I just want them to really THINK  B I G! 

Their next step will be a few coats of paper mache.  I will update with more photos soon!  Check out the images below to see the craziness of armature building.  It gets a little loud and crazy in my room, but that’s okay! I love to see them all up and working together!

Oldenburg Inspired Paper Mache Artworks
Oldenburg Inspired Paper Mache Artworks - students working in my classroom
Oldenburg Inspired Paper Mache Artworks - students working in my classroom
Oldenburg Inspired Paper Mache Artworks - students working in my classroom
Oldenburg Inspired Paper Mache Artworks - students working in my classroom
Oldenburg Inspired Paper Mache Artworks - students working in my classroom

I hope you enjoyed learning about this Oldenburg Inspired Paper Mache art project! Let me know if you try it!


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Hi, I’m Erin!

I’ve been a high school art teacher at a rural school in WV for the past 14 years. I teach Art 1, AP Art + Design, Art 2 and 3. 
I’m a little obsessed with my sweet husband. Together we have FOUR kids and a rescue dog named Boomer! 
I love a bad pun and terrible dad jokes. I spend time looking at MBTI memes, cooking, listening to serial killer podcasts and Harry Potter audiobooks on repeat. I also teach yoga and indoor cycling. Click the button below to learn more about me. 

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