The Journal Junkies Come to North Point

The Journal Junkies Come to North Point

Murugi Thande

Nimo Thande, Editor-in-Chief

David Moddler, an art professor from Appalachian State University and Eric Scott, a high school teacher from Ashburn, Virginia, visited North Point on November 12 to speak to AP Studio Art students about a project they’d been working on for twelve years.

The Journal Fodder Junkies, a book written by the two artists, is a collaboration between them, and a way for them to keep up with art as a personal, portable studio.

“The Visual Journal is a transformative kind of document,” stated Moddler, who is now on his 16th volume of the thick, hardcovered sketch books. “It’s a place to start recording life,” added Scott, who is currently working on his 13th volume. The pages are filled with sketches and splashes of watercolor and layered with miscellaneous artifacts; from business cards to stickers and movie tickets.

The workshop began with an introductory documentary about the late Dan Eldon, a photojournalist who grew up in East Africa and documented the cultures and struggles of the people who lived there. After he was brutally killed during a clash in Somalia, Eldon’s visual journal, filled with scribbles and photographs, provided a more intimate view of Eldon’s life in Africa. Inspired by Eldon’s legacy, both Moddler and Scott used his visual journal as a platform for their own.

The Journal Junkies continued the workshop with an activity that challenged students to think about overarching concepts, sparking a creative process. They began working on their blank journals almost immediately painting, writing, and gluing all sorts of paraphernalia into their books. The Junkies also showed students new and interesting techniques to experiment with such as a tape transfer, where students were able to transfer xeroxed images onto rolls of clear tape and overlay it over other images in their journals.

Mr. Ball, who teaches Art I, Drawing Design, and AP Studio Art (Drawing, 2D Design, and Sculpture) organized the event. He plans on instilling the visual journal into his curriculum by having his students submit ten pages of the journal per marking period. “If students work on a journal page everyday or every other day, they can use the pages as a platform for their ideas.”

Moddler, Scott, and Ball all agree that there are benefits to keeping a visual journal for students, including those who may not be artistic. “I think everyone is born with a genius level of creativity,” stated Moddler, “it’s a way to expand divergent thinking. Through art, students can learn how to find multiple solutions to singular problems.”

By the end of the day, students had pages filled with splashes of color, images, and words. “I thought it went well,” Ball remarked. “Having other artists come in and explain different techniques to students gives them a new perspective.”

According to Ball, the best part of the event was having all of Charles County’s AP Art students together. “All the students at the workshop got to see what their peers were doing.” Pleased with the overall outcome, Ball says that he would like to make it an annual event.