Macaroni Art Ideas

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A wide variety of different art projects use macaroni as a primary tool. Get macaroni art ideas with help from a graphic designer and illustrator in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Art & Drawing Tips
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Hey everyone, this is Gene, I'm a graphic designer and illustrator. I've been working in the industry for about 15 years and my specialty, my absolute specialty and my favorite thing to work with is macaroni art. I was introduced to it when I was a kid and I just have not been able to stop working in macaroni. I love pasta. I loved it when I was a kid. They told me that you know it's done by you pull it out of the pot and you then you throw it and stick it to the walls. Well I never really did that but once because when you get burned you tend to not do that again. But I grabbed a fork and there was a lot of spaghetti all over my moms walls from time to time in the kitchen. She got really mad so eventually she would just sit me down with some glue and some macaroni and that is what we're going to do today. We're going to get some glue and some macaroni and we're going to cover the whole earth in macaroni art. Nothing says high class, expensive, hoity-toity, art show, New York city upscale like macaroni art. So there are a couple of different things we can do with macaroni. They're so many things. It's such a versatile medium. Macaroni. As my buddies back there used to like to say, if you can't make a masterpiece in it's because you're not an artist. You're just a terrible human being. So anyway, one of the great things about macaroni is that it comes in so many different shapes. Now what we have here are elbows. And elbows, well let me show you a couple things you can do with the elbows. The elbows are generally pretty regular. And there are so many different techniques to the laying down of the macaroni. The first thing is obviously you can do just straight boring symmetrical macaroni stacking, okay. And one of the great masters Doc Abe Felmly used to paint this way and by paint I mean glue a bunch of macaroni. And you're just going to stack the macaroni on top of each other like this. Now this is always good for, you know, trees, or if you're doing like a direct column in front of, maybe you're making the pantheon or something you want to do with just a straight up column. That's good for that. But that's basically one of your beginner macaroni stacking methods. Now especially with elbows, elbows are just so versatile. Let me show you something else you can do with elbows, it's a little more of an advanced technique. You can put them right up against each other and elbows naturally will make this circular shape when you just push them all together and make sure there's no space in between. Okay, they'll make this spiraling circular shape. And obviously you have to be careful with the last one and find just the right macaroni, otherwise it's not going to come together exactly the right way. But I'm an old hand at macaroni art. So you can make these nice circular shapes here. Use that for a sun, use it for a wheel. I like to use wagon wheels, the wagon wheel macaroni for anything roughly quarter sized in a lot of my pieces. But you know when you want something a little bigger we can get bigger macaroni actually. Bigger elbows and spiral them like this and just do an interesting technique. Another technique of course is the interlocking. Now the interlocking technique was pioneered back in the 70's by a man by the name of Simon Garlock and he used to do a lot of chain macaroni art. Where he'd just go in and just interlock. You can see how we're sort of weaving the macaroni back and forth here. So as you're going along, when you've got some chains, maybe you've got a woman's braids. And maybe you want to combine a couple of these techniques and take the chain and just spin it around a corner here like this. So then for that you can use the spiral technique okay, and then you can begin an interlock again by just pushing one of your spirals out a little bit and then beginning another interlock. See macaroni is probably the most versatile artistic medium in existence. And very, very underrated. So you just go with a little bit of interlock there at the end of your spiral, and you can start an entirely new chain in a different direction. Now when you get really advanced, the macaroni art master class, let me show you this here. First of all when you open up a fresh pack of macaroni there's nothing quite like the smell of a fresh package of macaroni when you're getting ready to do some macaroni art. But all of it lays at about the same height, so lets say you go in and you can either use Elmer's Glue or you can use this real high quality glue stick that we have here; and glue down the first layer. You can paint over this. Obviously if you're an amateur, a lot of amateurs like to cover up mistakes with actual paint. So I'd probably shy away from the paint but you can paint it if you like. I mean you know, this is your macaroni art after all. But it will all be on the same level and then you can go in and add a level on top of that first level to not only give it texture but also to give it relief. Now again, this will all be glued down so you wont have to be as careful with it moving around on you. But you can add relief to your painting as well. And you don't just have to lay parallel levels on top of one another. You can actually turn the macaroni, okay, and combine the interweaving technique with the chain technique and so you have these little outward loops, this way. So anyway, those are just some of the ideas in the long history of macaroni art that you can use in your own macaroni at home. So have some fun with it. Don't be afraid to be experimental and there you go. So there you have it. I hope you have as much fun as I had. Couple of the cool things you can do with macaroni. Don't limit yourself to that. Go out and buy some linguini. You know what's really fun? Grab some of those giant lasagna noodles. Because those things, with a lot of glue, because they're huge, and a bunch of lasagna noodles, you can make some serious, serious art. Alright thanks for watching guys, we'll see you next time.

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