Art and Technology Meet Creating a 21st Century Learning Experience


Stephanie Doot, Contributor

Hawthorne High School’s Non-Traditional Media class experienced a virtual visit from assemblage collage artist, Greg Hanson, on Monday, March 10, 2014. The students had been studying Hanson’s work, which he documents on YouTube, to prepare for their assemblage project. “Assemblage is a form of additive sculpture created from found objects,” explained art teacher Joey Carradori. “It requires a variety of artistic applications.”

Being a long-time fan of Hanson’s work, Carradori decided to reach out to the artist and soon arranged the virtual visit via Face Time displayed on the Promethean Board for all students to easily see. Hanson, who lives and creates his works in Portland, Oregon, is a retired media specialist teacher who started his career in assemblage and collage about 15 years ago.

Students of HHS listened intently and were inspired by Hanson’s visit. The artist explained some of his current works and told students about his recent participation in an art show in which each artist had six months to recycle items taken out of the city’s dump and turn them into ten works of art. Certainly, Hanson’s work illustrates the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Hanson explained to the students that the treasures he found in the dump still are used today in his current assemblage collages.

Hanson then explained some of the techniques he uses, such as using LED strip lights and ageing his work by using and making his own alcohol dyes. Hanson always uses antique photographs of strangers in his collages. In each of Hanson’s assemblages, every photograph is used to tell a story about the person in the photograph, and in each collage he highlights the eyes of the subject with found objects. “Getting pieces to talk to each other is what makes each box its own story,” said Hanson.

Hanson also gave the students inspiring advice to keep in mind while they work on their own assemblages (which will be inspired by fairy tales and nursery rhymes): “Some people will connect, see, and love assemblages,” said Hanson,” while others may not understand them at all.”  Hanson also encouraged the students to “think outside the box” and told students to not limit themselves and their ideas to just boxes but to expand and be creative with other objects, such as photo frames that have depth to them and even old, gutted wooden clocks and small jewelry boxes. Hanson also encouraged the students to document the progress of their art work throughout each project to help them grow as artists. “Everybody is not going to love assemblage work; some have no reaction to it,” explained Hanson, “and that is okay. It’s a taste that some people just have to develop.”

Carradori and Hanson will keep in touch as the students create their assemblage works, and Hanson has agreed to visit the class again via Face Time to critique the finished projects. As the students said thank you to Hanson for speaking to them, Hanson expressed his excitement about getting to see each student’s completed project the next time he “visits.”

Hanson creates his assemblages and sells them at Cannibals Gallery in Portland, Oregon, as well as at Cog & Pearl Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. The artist’s work can be seen on the YouTube channel G Hanson as well as on his website at