Sneaking an anatomy lesson into art class |

Sneaking an anatomy lesson into art class

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal

Michael Malley’s philosophy on art is simple. No matter what his students are doing, there is always a way to make it functional and to increase their knowledge.

The commercial artist turned art teacher at Carson High School said the prime example is his crafts class, where each project has allowed other subjects to creep into the curriculum.

Take, for example, the recently finished mask project.

“It’s supposed to be a functional mask and they had to explain the elements of art,” Malley said. “We looked at Native American, African, Asian and masks from Mexico to show where the origins can come from.”

The project also allowed Malley to incorporate a science lesson into his art class.

“We did a basic anatomy lesson about the measurements of the eyes and the location and symmetry of the face,” Malley said.

Shawn Easton, a junior in the class, chose metal as his medium to create a silver mask streaked with a copper handprint.

“I combined copper and aluminum and designed it to have the handprint from the Cheyenne Indians,” Easton said. “I like working with metal more than wood or fabrics but it takes longer. The mask took me about a month to complete.”

Malley said his background as a portrait painter influences the projects he looks at assigning.

“The mask is a great assignment because it’s kind of a portrait and they enjoy it,” Malley said.

The next project is a shadowbox, which must include a written work, a drawing or painting and a 3-D object designed around a person or theme.

“One of the other teachers commented that the students will love this one because it’s all about them, but most of them are doing portraits of others and not themselves,” Malley said. “The shadowbox is a good assignment because it fits into the idea of scrapbooking and memories in creating the portraits.”

But the class took a day off from the their projects Tuesday to create a face of a different sort – one made of pumpkin.

“We carved pumpkins. They all did designs and then the ones that were judged the best by the class carved them,” Malley said.

Among the finalists was a jack-o-lantern missing its teeth and a carving of Hitler.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.