Surrealist Creations

By Jessica Lay

A David Bowie-inspired surrealist art challenge! Using the surrealist cut-up technique to spark creativity.

Don’t forget to submit your pictures or post online and tag @natsatclub



David Bowie used this technique to create song lyrics. We’re going to use it to create pictures!

He borrowed this cut-up technique from other artists, mainly the surrealists of the 1920s, and also the beat poets of the 1950s and 60s.

Check out this video of David Bowie using the cut-up method


Materials needed

  • Scrap paper
  • Scissors
  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper or sketchbook to draw on
  • If you have coloured pens/pencils to hand, or paint, that’s a bonus, but you don’t need it as we’re using our imagination and creativity for this task!


Activity part one

1. Using some rough/scrap paper, write out the following phrases (if you hate writing, get an adult to do this quickly for you! This is the only boring bit, I promise)

2. Next, cut up each phrase and keep them in 4 piles, in the way they appear in the table.

3. Fold each phrase in half and jumble them up a bit!

4. Now, pick one at random from each pile. It will give you a character, a garment, a location, and a scenario

5. Now draw the scene!


Activity part two

Add in other characters/garments/locations/scenarios to the piles. How about your favourite actors/musicians/artists? Add locations you’d like to draw.

You can even swap one of the categories. eg emotions instead of garments.

Now draw these and share what worked best!


Thank you for taking part in the Highbury College Saturday Club Workshop. We can’t wait to see the finished pictures!

Submit your pictures or post online and tag @natsatclub


Resources & References

Full article about how David Bowie wrote using this technique

William S Burroughs



Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash

Contributed by Jessica Lay, Highbury College Art&Design Saturday Club

Jess is passionate about increasing opportunities for young people to be able to access the arts and creative outlets. She is a qualified teacher, Fine Art graduate from Goldsmiths College London and makes lino-prints in her spare time.

“I have enjoyed every minute of being part of the National Saturday Club scheme over the last few years, and every year I meet such a fantastic group of young people – I love their individuality and creativity, and to be able to see them develop confidence and gain new experiences is just a brilliant thing to be part of!”


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