Monday, February 16, 2015

Cerealism for Pi Day

Earlier today, I learned that the annual Pi Day is coming next month (on March 14th, to be precise).  And that observation reminded me about a really fun American (NY) pop artist, Michael Albert.  I first discovered Albert and his work about four years ago, and blogged about him at that time, here.  But it's been a long break, and I thought Michael Albert deserved another mention.
The 'Pi' collage above is one of Albert's iconic works, reproduced in posters and jigsaw puzzles and more.  What a terrific merging of math and art!

Back in 2011, when I wrote the original post, my 3rd grade students had learned about pop art, cubism, and surrealism.  So discovering Michael Albert was perfect.  Here was an artist who couldn't bear to throw way a Frosted Flakes box, so what did he do?  He cut it apart and collaged it, of course!   It has the shattered look of cubism, the pop cultural relevance of pop art, and the added bonus of being made from a cereal box.  And so, 'cerealism' was born!
 Albert has made many more collage pieces from cereal boxes, sometimes recreating the cereal box or a well-known quote, sometimes recreating other well-known iconic images, and much more.  Here's a selection of a few more of his pieces:
One more, below, is the Preamble to the Constitution.  I had to memorize this in elementary school.  I don't think kids today are asked to do that sort of memorization.  Social studies and art!
My students were used to saving cereal boxes for the art room, since we used them so frequently, for creating features on papier-mache armatures, for paint scrapers, and much more.  But this time, I cut up the cereal boxes into random size rectangles and spread them out on a central table.  The kids each selected a piece of colored tagboard to glue on (leftover pieces of tag of various dimensions and colors). Armed with glue bottles, scissors, and their imaginations, they went to work, selecting cereal box pieces from the central table.  It was a quick art project, and as a result I have very few photos. The photos posted here of their work can also be seen in the post from 2011 (there's a few more pics there).   
The kids really enjoyed the humor of Albert's work, and also the fun name he had coined for it.  And we all had a good laugh when the older kids saw their work in the hall, and told them they were a bunch of 'cereal killers'!
Each child had his own approach; some kids started by seeking the letters to form words and phrases, and some kids spent time searching for pieces of certain colors.  Their completed work was simple due to time constraints, but it was also unique and fun. 
I loved that Maria chose to make this, below:
 To learn more about Michael Albert, visit his website, here


  1. This is super cool! My students are really into math and will love the Pi picture. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for reminding me of Albert's Frosted Flakes. Our 2nd graders will be using cut up food boxes for a different sort of collage project in a couple of weeks and I can use him as an example:))))

    1. Christie, I remember your post testing out your cereal box project, so I'm interested to see what your students do!

  3. Love all these! Always love collage and the colors are great-so fun!!!!

  4. Phyl, Thanks for your blogs! Much appreciated! Have you checked out my Pinterest> I have over 2,000 original pieces on there plus photos from workshops, events & installations over the years...Best, Michael Albert

    P.S. Where are you located?

    1. Oh my goodness I'm SO excited that you have responded to my post! I am such a big fan! I will DEFINITELY check you out on Pinterest!

      I'm located in Glens Falls NY, just a few minutes south of Lake George and about an hour north of Albany, and taught in Chestertown, about a half hour north if here in the Adirondack foothills. I'm retired now, but I have a small business doing weekly after school art enrichment with elementary kids. I currently just have three students, but that's ok. I teach in 7 or 8 week sessions, based on a specific theme (currently it's masks and crazy faces), but I'm actually planning my winter session to be pop and op, and I've already been collecting cereal boxes to do a "cerealism" project. Unfortunately, because my business is so small, I can't afford to bring in workshops. BUT, I'm also active with my state art ed association and the Albany region, and I'd love to arrange something. How could I contact you?