I view myself as an artist as well as an educator.
Theseroles are equal in importance and in many ways directly enrich each other. Asan artist, I strive to synthesize and translate knowledge through the universallanguage that is art. As an educator, I strive to encourage the need to pursue suchknowledge and guide them through the translation process.
By way of appreciationand active participation in our visual culture, I push my students to step outof the role of viewer and into the role of creator. As an educator, my goal is to cultivate an environment fromwhich students can gain the necessary skills to truly appreciate art, createart and become producing artists if they so choose. My classroom is a construction of studiopractice, discussion, lecture, and hands on learning. I approach my own studiopractice with the same interdisciplinary style as I do my teaching. Knowledgeis inherently interdisciplinary: ways of seeing, skills, and methods build uponeach other and are applicable across many media and subject. The balance ofhands-on discovery learning, student-oriented critiques and group discussionsthat emphasize social and personal awareness are the building blocks to for a beginningartist. Under my instruction, students can take in information, process it, andmanipulate it to represent their own views and present it to an audience withsuccess. My students are encouraged to approach art as a form inwhich to explore interests, issues, and themes that relate to them and theirworld.
The Carolina Core Introduction to Painting experience is aboutexploration of materials, subject, and tools. I teach these areas withhistorical and traditional accuracy and juxtapose the information with contemporarytechniques to keep the content exciting and relevant. This structure has a fluidityas well as a cognitive component between skills and thought with time. This encouragesstudents to investigate how a variety media can speak differently to a conceptand which medium is best to communicate their ideas and how different mediumshave served in such ways. Technical skill must always be the goal to conceptualknowledge. Without technological knowledge, a student will face barriers tosuccessfully executing their ideas. By embedding the instruction of skillsneeded within conceptual prompts for assignments, students get excited abouttheir ideas first, which instills the want and desire to work through thechallenges of learning a new skill.
It is part of the student’s responsibilityto employ the techniques that best suit their work, thereby promoting aself-reliance in making important decisions.Throughout my minimal experiences as an educator, I havelearned much about the practice of teaching. One of the most important aspectsI have learned is that each student is unique. Individual students are drivenby different means and to different ends. What might work for one student maynot work for another – even an approach that worked for a student at thebeginning level might not work for that same student as they mature. Consideringthis, I employ a range of different pedagogical methods and work to betterunderstand the needs of individual students and employ varying methods atdifferent points in their development.Through openness, laughter, support, and conversation, I activatea space where my students understand they are free to express themselvesthrough their work. The most effective way for a student to do is throughquestioning themselves and being questioned about what they are creating in thestudio and then making connections with knowledge they posses and learn.
Forexample, in a recent assignment I structured the prompt in such a way that thestudents had to situate themselves in the position of a cave man or woman tocreate a cave painting. They created the materials they would use authenticallyto the period and crafted their own cave wall. Immediately after, I juxtaposed caveart with contemporary graffiti art.
I then prompted them to create a culturallyrelevant version of their cave story in downtown Columbia, SC. In thisenvironment, my students quickly realize they are free to explore how materialsand processes can be merged and that different materials carry with themdifferent connotations.The pockets of my teaching apron are armed only with myprofessional experiences in the classroom and as an active artist. Having astrong base of knowledge and experiences are a good starting point for myphilosophy of teaching, however I feel that a willingness to be flexible andlet my philosophy evolve is most important. My teaching is informed by mypersonal and professional growth and therefore I strive to be well versed innew developments in the field, to be an ongoing participant in the artcommunity, and actively exhibiting my artwork. With this evolving knowledge base,I can assure my students they are receiving the best possible education I canoffer.