High School

Grade/Class: High School Art Foundations
Lesson Title: Breaking the Rule of Traditional Art Mediums

Materials and Resources:

PowerPoint on artists Vik Muniz, Vivi Mac, and Henry Hargreaves, who use food to create artworks
Supportive activity worksheet
Food brought from home or supplied by the teacher, and application tools

Photographed display for oral group assessment/critique

Key Concepts: Using food to as a medium for creating artworks is a way to break one of the rules of the art world. Why does a two-dimensional artwork have to be made out of paints applied with brushes, or other traditional materials? Many contemporary artists have broken this art rule by using food as a medium for creating art.

Big Idea: Breaking Rules


  1. Studentswillexpandtheirideaofrulesintheartword,suchastheuseoftraditional art media.
  2. Studentswilllearnaboutavarietyofcontemporaryartistswhobreaktherulesof traditional art media by creating art with food.
  3. Studentswillidentifyfoodsthattheyhaveapersonalconnectionto,thencreate artworks using the non-traditional art medium of their chosen food.

National Standards:
Visual Arts-Creating Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas

and work. HS Proficient VA:Cr1.1.1a “Use multiple approaches to begin creative endeavors.”

Visual Arts-Creating Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. HS Accomplished VA:Cr1.2.11a “Choose from a range of materials and methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices to plan works of art and design.”

Visual Arts-Connecting Anchor Standard 10: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art. HS Advanced VA:Cn10.1.111a “Synthesize knowledge of social, cultural, historical, and personal life with art making approaches to create meaningful works of art or design.”

Lesson Timeframe: This lesson will take three class periods of 40-50 minutes each. The first class will consist of a PowerPoint showing artists who use the non-traditional art medium of food to create art. Students will complete a worksheet about their personal connections to food. They will decide on two foods to use in creating their art, and the teacher will provide them or students will bring them to the next class.
During the second class, students will create abstract self-portraits using food. They will photograph their artwork and load the images into Photoshop. The teacher will print the photos and display the images for the next class
During the third lesson, students will take part in an oral class critique of their artworks. Each student will tell the class why they chose the food they did, and discuss whether or not they think their self-portrait was successful.


  • Students will be introduced to the idea of breaking the rules of traditional media in art making by viewing a PowerPoint presentation that includes the work of Vik Muniz, Vivi Mac, and Henry Hargreaves. They will view a short vimeo video featuring artist Henry Hargreaves as he creates artwork out of jello.
  • In a brainstorming activity, students will complete a worksheet that will get them thinking about the foods they connect with on different levels. They will consider their personal food preferences, their cultural connections to food, and how particular foods affect their bodies and health. During the process of completing the worksheet, students will be asked to consider how they would use certain foods to create their self-portraits. Will their self-portraits be realistic or abstract? Will the colors contrast or blend together? What type of mood will they try to convey in their portraits?
  • Building off of the supportive activities, students will make the decisions about what foods they want to use in their self-portraits. They will chose one or two foods, the color and size of paper that they will create on, and the tools they will use to apply the foods. They will create self-portraits using food and traditional or non-traditional application methods. The works will be photographed and displayed together in a grid like format.
  • In a group discussion, the students will explain to the class why they chose the foods they did, and their personal connections behind the different foods.