Master guitarist Bruce Hecksel and singer-songwriter Julie Patchouli guitars barely stopped during the three-hour concert they gave for the students in Josh Dodd’s drawing and painting class at Jasper High School.
As they played their many pieces of original work, students with easels pulled semicircle around the two performers sketched or painted whatever or wherever the music led.
Flowers, Manga-inspired guitarists, a nude on a horse and portraits of the singer-songwriter duo themselves slowly appeared over the three class periods. There was no grade which allowed the students to roam with their creativity outside the normal parameters in the class.
The class is made available through the Jasper Arts Department Education Coordinator Donna Schepers and the department’s ability to pull in world-class performers. According to Dodd, when these performers have time and are willing to do so, they will come over and volunteer the performances for the classes.
According to Dodd, when these performers have time and are willing, they will come over and volunteer the performances for the classes. He referred to the events as being similar to a happening, a 60s era term that refers to artists taking part in these miniature concerts and allowing their work to be inspired during the performances. In this case, it allows Dodd’s students to work in a different manner than they may be used to.
“Doing the project while they are hearing the music teaches them to find influence in something they wouldn’t normally find influence in,” Dodd explained. “It gets them out of that analytical thinking and more into that divergent thinking. Even projects in class have some parameters but in this case, I tell them they aren’t getting graded and they can just come up with something and be inspired.”
As part of the Landscapes of Guitar, the duo performs their original music but also speak on their own influence in art. Hecksel is a painter and his work is flashed on a screen while they are on stage. His pieces are usually on display at the venues they perform in as well.
Dodd’s classroom was no different, several paintings were displayed around the room. Hecksel’s theme is guitar-based and each painting is a mosaic of different shaped guitars layered to create varying landscapes as well as flora and fauna.
About 22 students took part in the happening while 75 students were exposed to the guitarists’ visions and creativity.