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Willingham Primary School

Victor Vasarely: KS2

I was very impressed by the artwork inspired by Bridget Riley that some of you have completed at home and thought that we should do some more Op Art. You will probably remember that Op Art is a type of abstract act that uses geometric shapes and patterns to create an effect a little like an optical illusion.

In this week’s lesson, we will be learning about Victor Vasarely, a Hungarian-French artist who was born in 1906 and died in 1997, and who is often seen as the leader of the Op Art movement.

Like all artists, Vasarely’s work developed over time and we will looking in particular at the artwork that he created from 1950s onwards.

You can see more examples of his art here. This is the example that I have made for you to try:

For this project you will need a pencil, a ruler and a square piece of paper. Since most of the paper that you are likely to have at home is A4 (21 x 29.7 cm), the first job is to make your paper square. You can either measure 21 cm down each side and draw a line across or fold your paper diagonally like this:

Once you have a square, you should carefully fold it in half in each direction to find the middle point. Take care to line up the corners before you press down the folds.

The next step is to make small, equally-spaced dots along the horizontal and vertical lines. Your square should measure 21 cm, so each half measures 10.5 cm. you will make a mark at these points (1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, and 9 cm).

The next step looks a little tricky but will work out fine if you follow the instructions. Mrs Pipe told me that she used to make drawings like this when she was at school! Make sure that you use a ruler to draw the straight  lines.

Repeat this in all four sections and you will end up with something that looks like the picture below. Now, shade alternate (every other one) shapes with your pencil. If you have trouble getting the shading even, you could look back at this lesson.

Now for the ‘spheres’ in the corners. The way that I tackled these was to look around the kitchen for a variety of circular objects that I could use for the curved lines. I found that a mug, a saucer and a small plate worked well.

I drew the next set of lines which led towards the centre of the page by eye but you could use circular objects for these as well.

Again, you will be drawing a similar pattern in all four corners and then shading alternate shapes. You should end up with something like this:

The final step is to darken the lines here and to add some shading to create the illusion that the spheres are ‘disappearing’ into the page. After all, this is Op Art!

You could, if you have coloured pencil or felt pens at home, use those to do the shading. You could even take inspiration from some of Vasarely’s most colourful works and create shapes within each shape. You might have noticed that the title of many of Vasarely's works include the word Vega. Vega is a very bright star in the constellation Lyra.

Vega-Szebb (1974)

Here are two versions using felt pen. Coloured pencil would also work well.

I hope that you enjoy making art inspired by Victor Vasarely. Let me know how you get on!

svarty@willingham.cambs.sch.uk