My goal is to foster the type of studio environment that launches students into the realm of actualizing their creative potential. Creative energy remains perpetually aflame, burning in us all, albeit at varying intensities. Not long ago my creative flame was barely lit. Put plainly, I did not become an artist i.e. actualize my creative potential, until I was twenty years old. Growing up I lacked the innate, intangible aptitude found in individuals who manipulate depth with ease in the two-dimensional world. I learned this skill and other fine art know-how as an adult. Blooming late artistically gives me a unique perspective in engaging students who may feel overwhelmed with technical applications or the proverbial blank canvas. I understand the reality of this struggle, those growing pains are not a distant memory.
The most substantial and rewarding aspect of the educational experience is when teacher and student work side-by-side to overcome an artistic challenge proposed by or facing the student. The student must own the idea or be willing to navigate unfamiliar terrain, respectively. Creating a classroom environment that facilitates reaching this kernel of original thought and encourages the trepid to step into the unknown is my charge as a professor. Exposure to: slideshows that show possibility, readings that give context, visits to local artists' studios and an emphasis on research so as to foster a deeper meaning in one's work, will all bolster the expanding artistic skill-set of my students.
Regardless of aptitude, individual attention is paramount. During this one-on-one, tailored exchange students begin to accept that their ideas and processes must be receptive to change. When success follows, students are positively reinforced to keep an amenable attitude. This mindset will travel with them from one project to the next. I endeavor to use my art acumen to impart three successive objectives essential to the studio practice: technical, visual and critical analysis.
Technical analysis identifies a medium's capabilities, the potentiality of the physical properties at work e.g. how linseed oil alters viscosity and drying time of oil-based paints, why it's best to start with a 9H graphite pencil when drawing or wrapping one's head around the overarching notion that "if the artist calls it art, it’s art" uttered by conceptual art pioneer John Baldessari. The goal here is for the student to fully grasp the potential of what they can do with the chosen medium.
Visual analysis constitutes aesthetic philosophies brought to bear while evaluating the work in visual terms. A working knowledge of the visual canon, e.g. color theory, foreground/middleground/background composition, depth of field, et cetera, affords an all-important mindfulness of established fine art rules. With that said, rules can be broken, but you first must know them before venturing to break them.
Critical analysis is best exemplified by the critique, where objective examination in a group setting reveals how the work is read. Students learn to carefully consider all decisions in their work and how each choice is related to a historical and theoretical context. For example, a drawing student interested in conveying motion should first understand Giacomo Balla's Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash. A performance artist investigating marks left by the human body should familiarize himself/herself with Yves Klein's Anthropometrie paintings. A painter captivated with distortional effects should consider Alex Kanevsky's use of blurred photographs as source material in his confounding, in flux paintings. Critical analysis provides feedback to inform future work. Having an open-mind to such criticism is imperative for all artist.
I aim to equip students with these necessary tools so as to meet any artistic challenge/endeavor.