Educators' Guide

Nicholas Harper studied the works of master painters. When he expanded his training to include Russian and Byzantine iconography (look up some examples) he realized that art can convey spiritual meaning and serve as a meditation. He learned that the material and the process work together to help him reach a deeper understanding of himself so he could continue to grow. His famous long-necked women show how disconnected our spiritual (head) and practical (hands) sides can become. Write about a time when you felt out of balance. Think of a time when you couldn’t make up your mind about something and the conflict made you feel like you were being ripped apart. How did that make you feel?

Now make your own iconographic image of yourself or another person. If you don’t want to paint or draw, cut apart a photo. Harper elongates the neck or disconnects the arms of his subjects in order to show their spiritual confusion. Think of your person as a puzzle, but reassemble the pieces in a way that shows an emotion or idea. Show it to someone else and see how they react.