The Tagliavini Project

Last spring, while doing some internet research, I stumbled upon the work of artist Christian Tagliavini. Tagliavini is a Swiss-Italian, born in 1971, educated in Italy and Switzerland, where he lives and works as a graphic designer and a photographer. This combination provides him with the ability to create and  produce images that blend fine arts, design, and excellent craftsmanship. Through his photographs, Christian Tagliavini tells beautiful stories that are this mix of the real, and the surreal. I was so excited by his work, that I decided to create a “Tagliavini” project for my Design II. at West Liberty University. This class is a 3D design class and is made up almost entirely of freshmen students.


Two images by Christian Tagliavani.

I began by introducing my students to Tagliavini’s work through images, a Youtube video, and a short biography.  The students were impressed with what they saw, and excited to see what they could create.  We discussed Tagliavini’s images, and afterwards I gave the students part one of the assignment. Each student was instructed to come to the next class meeting with his or her idea for a cardboard “outfit”. All proposals were to be accompanied by sketches.

We had two sections of Design I., each with 12 to 14 students. Each of the students presented their idea, and then pinned their proposal sketches on the wall. After all proposals were presented, each of the students voted for their favorite. The seven proposals that received the most votes were created by a student team. The student whose design was chosen became a team leader, and each team consisted of three or four students.

Whenever possible, I try to get my students to use repurposed materials that otherwise might go to the landfill. All the “clothing” in our project was made from repurposed cardboard shipping boxes, adhesive, gesso, and acrylic paint. One of the outfits did have a non-cardboard element: a veil.

Once the projects were completed, Wheeling photographer Neal Warren worked with the students and created the images that brought our project to life. Neal also teaches photography here at West Liberty University.

The photos below will give you an idea how our project turned out. I believe that students, as well as myself, learned so much from this experience. In turn, we gained even a greater respect for the work of artist Christian Tagliavini.


Neal works with the students setting up the photographs.



Neal Warren hard at work making out project look great!






Yes, I got a chance to be Iron Man for a moment!

My thanks to Neal Warren for shooting our project, to my students who worked hard to turn an idea into reality, and to artist Christian Tagliavini for being the inspiration behind our learning experience.



1 Response to “The Tagliavini Project”

  1. November 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I love this! Great work, it would give a really neat dynamic for a group project.

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