Works by Students
Click on image to enlarge.
The following images are works created by my current and former students.
When I teach, I often find myself reflecting back to the time when I was a student and remembering the qualities that I valued the most in an instructor. I remember my art instructors placing value in my own creative voice and encouraging me to think critically about how I am communicating my ideas and whether or not that was coming across to my viewers. Similarly, my teaching philosophy is that each student should be taught as an individual; I therefore aim to provide personalized suggestions, encouragement, and feedback to each student.
My grandfather used to tell me that the best teacher in life is experience. While the idea was abstract to me as a young adult, I’ve realized that the more I painted in a studio, the truer his statements became. I believe in having a strict disciplined structure in the class setting. On a few occasion, I’ve found students were not motivated enough to arrive to class on time or miss a few classes. Excused missed time aside, I deduct points from my students that aren’t in class. The importance of studio time is measureable by the quality of work produced by the students. If the student isn’t in class, they are not putting in the necessary efforts and discipline required to produce quality art. I believe this, because this is what I practice in my own artistic production.
In my personal art making, I place emphasis on my work being sincere to my authentic identity and beliefs. This is a philosophy I emphasize to my students. I explain to the student that if they are not engaged with their own subject matter, then neither would any of their art viewers. I encourage students to critically think of moments of personal struggles and sentimentality, so that they can reflect back and deconstruct their experiences and belief system. This allows the development of the content in their subject matter while building on their technical abilities. When the work is more personal, I find that my students are more invested in their work. I believe this individualized student-centered approach in addition to a class group approach fosters students’ creative energy and develops their patience for the art making process.
Additionally I highly encourage reflection in their creative process, which often includes open dialogue with their subject matter via writing exercises. When the students face a challenge, students are often surprised to find the answer they were looking for in the work itself. The writing component allows the students to develop self-reliance to foster their own creative process, problem solve, and realize their passion in art. The writing also serves as a visual process that the students can refer to and reflect in the future projects.
Developing proper language to compliment their visual language is also imperative. I find it necessary that the students look at artists in history to understand where their work fits into the contemporary context, but it is important that they are aware of what today’s artists are doing currently. I aim to create a class environment that not only teaches about contemporary artists, but also encourage collaborative works so the students can be inspired and experience the artistic community within the classroom setting. This experience allows a preview of what they may expect in the real world should they choose to further practice their art production beyond the academic setting.
I believe art making has a lot to do with paying attention to the little details. Not necessarily isolated in visual object observation, but also paying attention to nuances through other senses. The exercises I provide my students- exploration of touch, taste, scent- encourage them to search for these minute details. The more that the students can observe and sense, the more willingness the students will exercise risk taking and experimentation. This allows the development of the content of their work while simultaneously developing their technical skills. I believe it is my job to encourage their individual creative growth and foster their artistic vision.
Learning can happen at any given moment: students can learn from drawing something as simple as a line or shape. Learning can also be had as an instructor. I don’t believe in giving a single concrete answer to all students because each student’s learning is as subjective as the art that is being made. As an educator, it is my job to find out the needs of my students and customize lesson plans to each individual to make the classroom experience student-centered. It is also important to find a balance between that customization and maintaining the high standards of my class. This is difficult job that requires patience, but I know I’m up to the task. There was an instructor that was once patient with me;that act of kindness allowed me to be artist and the educator that I am today. I wish to repay this favor forward by working with my future students.
I realize that teaching is not an individual venture, but that it is a part of an integrated team process where I am contributing to a larger picture. I wish to do my part in assisting the art department and learning from my fellow colleagues. My passion for teaching is similar to my passion for my own artistic practice,and I want to surround myself with like minds while supporting the philosophy of the department. Individually, we are all capable of doing good things, but as a group, we are capable of greater things.