The practice of art making is a lifelong vocation. Essential to this vocation are the desire to create, the technical skills and flexibility necessary to inform and execute one’s concepts, and the ability to regard one’s work with a critical eye. Equally important, to my mind, is establishing a community of colleagues with whom to collaborate or share ideas.
I believe that my most essential function as a teacher is to challenge students to find, nurture, and maintain the drive to create. Both during and after their period of study, it is this drive that will propel them as artists, in spite of any difficulties they may encounter along the way. In the classroom setting, I strive to develop a collegial atmosphere and a sense of openness and exploration. Through a combination of one-on-one and group discussion and critiques, students learn to give and receive critical feedback, and strengthen their own perspectives. It is also my hope that in the course of their education they will find colleagues among their peers with whom they may collaborate, each having different strengths and interests.
I emphasise conceptual development and creative processes to generate ideas, and my students will be exposed to a variety of methods, materials, and technologies. By developing a strong background in these fundamentals, students will gain flexibility in their approach to and execution of work, and a critical appreciation of the benefits and limitations each offers. I want students to realize that a creative process is not necessarily a linear progression from a fully developed concept to a finished artwork. The concept may emerge anywhere along the way, or may not emerge in the student's mind at all. While students' efforts may not immediately result in "art" or a finished piece, engaging in the process is vital to their development as artists.
My students will come to understand the foundations of technology, not just its latest incarnations, so that they will be able to learn new technologies more easily and apply them more selectively. Without a critical regard for technology, work risks becoming a mere demonstration. Students will learn the importance of developing strong technical skills, as strong concepts can be hindered by poor technical execution. I will challenge my students to not be restricted to the conventional uses of materials and technology, but to be open to alternate interpretations and applications, and to use these deliberately to further their work.
I want students to find joy in creativity, to take risks and experiment with materials and technology without necessarily being able to predict the outcome of their experiment or the avenue of expression it may take them to. I want students to be equipped as their own best critics, aware of when something is or is not working and why, so that they may learn from their experience and become better artists for it. Above all, I want students to take joy in the process, in the work they make, regardless of the level of external recognition they may attain.
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