8th Graders Create Self-Portraits and Explore Their Story

Octavia Betz

At Aspen Academy, in each grade, students are asked to do some form of a self-portrait. This is beneficial for developing the skill of drawing but more importantly it re-enforces the importance of encountering ourselves. Eighth graders were asked to encounter themselves by finding a part of their body they are proud of, examining the story behind that part of themselves, creating a final image which includes the Double Exposure Technique using Pixlr or Photoshop Software, and writing an artist statement to capture their thoughts and explorations.

Through a partnership with the Curtis Center for the Arts we worked with Artist Anastacia Pottinger, the photographer responsible for the exhibit and book 100: What Time Creates. Anastacia shared her artwork featuring centenarians, her practice as an entrepreneur, and how she navigated her viral body of work. Eighth grade student artists prepped for Anastacia’s visit by examining and discussing their thoughts about what it means to be older, how they perceived senior citizens are treated, and how they wish to be treated. Students then discussed Anastacia’s work, and were able to ask questions exploring not just the form of the work but also who these people are and how they navigate their day-to-day at the age of 100.

Eighth graders then turned a critical thinking eye inward to investigate their own bodies. With the help of the Elevate program, students took time to examine the areas of their bodies that held a story. Students used Pixlr software to create a double exposure which showed their body as well as the stories they encountered. For inspiration, students looked at the works of local artist Mustapha Faread & Finnish Graphic Artist Christopher Relander.

Here are a few of their pieces:



For the full gallery of student work, click here.

For more on Visual Arts at Aspen Academy, click here.

About the Author

Octavia Betz,  Visual Arts Instructor

Octavia has taught art in several different capacities throughout her career with ages 1-95. She loves that at Aspen, our students have many opportunities to explore their identities, which can be as broad as they want it to be. Outside of work, she likes to create art of her own and enjoys the outdoors with her family. She is currently working on a trapeze act while camping with her husband.