Back in August, when school started, you had to claim a spot at home for distance learning. Maybe you share the kitchen table with siblings or maybe you're on the floor in your room. Wherever you may be, now that it's November, it's time for a refresh of your Zoom backdrop. The natural light has probably shifted (my kitchen now gets blinding light—time to make curtains). Perhaps you are just plain bored with your Zoom backdrop. That's me—I am tired of my plain wall!
To get inspiration, I thought about Korean artist Do Ho Suh's art because I like the way he thinks about home. I read a quote by Suh that sparked my imagination. He said: "We tend to think about destination all the time, and forget about the in-between spaces. But without these mundane spaces that nobody really pays attention to… one cannot get from point A to point B." That made me remember the saying, "Details make the whole." With that in mind, let's add some oomph to your Zoom!
Start With the Art
Take a good look at this image of Suh's artwork called 348 West 22nd Street. This sculpture is a full-scale recreation of a New York City apartment he lived in for 18 years. Unlike the real apartment, his interpretation is made out of fabric and can fold up. He can take it with him anywhere he goes!
What details do you notice in his kitchen? Write down three things you notice, or, if you are reading this with a family member or friend, tell each other what you see. Do the same with the living room and bathroom.
Now look at where you have set-up your electronic device for school. What details do you notice in your background? This is what your teacher and classmates see around you. What details do you notice that are in your view? This is what you see above and to the sides of your screen.
Here are some suggestions:
- Where does the light come from? If the light, like a window or lamp, is behind you, it will be hard for people to see your face.
- Is there anything distracting behind me? Like an enticing bag of Taki's or not so enticing laundry?
Number one piece of advice—ask for help or permission from an adult before you move anything in your home. This is a group project!
No need to buy anything! Hunt through your home for objects that feel like you and are easy to move or put on the wall. My favorites are plants and art that my sister made.
Start to arrange the objects by adding one at a time.
Stand back. Ask—does this look good? Take a picture to see if you like it.
Repeat steps one and two until you feel like you are done.
Test your new background on Zoom or whatever platform you use with a friend or family member. Keep adjusting until you are satisfied. Remember, it's not permanent and you can make changes again and again.
Ta-da! You have a new Zoom look!
Learn more about artist Do Ho Suh and create a memory box with your family.
If you share your creation or new Zoom background on social media, tag us at @lacma! We love seeing your art!
Join us on Sunday, November 22 for a workshop with teaching artist Sofia Mas. She'll teach you how to make a room that you can fold up and take with you anywhere—just like Do Ho Suh's 348 West 22nd Street.