Statement of Teaching Philosophy
My main objective as a teacher is to foster students to become independent critical thinkers. I challenge students to avoid visual clichés and instead consider personalized solutions to assignments. I encourage research of other artists and teach brainstorming techniques in an effort to de-mystify creativity. I stress experimentation, risk-taking, and even failure as paths to success. Through these processes, I believe students can find their own potential as artists.
In my own artwork, I interview individuals asking them to share their personal stories with me. I am intrigued with how people’s varied experiences affect their outlooks on life. I urge my students to think about their own histories, and to allow their personal interests to shape the development of their artistic visions.
Balancing formal and conceptual elements, my assignments introduce students to a variety of methods and disciplines. In-class demonstrations and exercises are designed to allow students to openly experiment and receive feedback from both me and their peers. Students are then encouraged to investigate personal or cultural themes that are meaningful, and create their own individual problems and solutions within the constraints of the assignment. This type of self-guided exploration simultaneously develops technical and conceptual skills while incorporating a student’s interests to make the class relevant to each person.
Throughout each term, I present a diverse group of contemporary and historical artists/filmmakers as well as critical readings that introduce new ideas and provide students context for their own practice. I also ask students to do presentations in which they conduct their own research, develop their own conclusions, and share the information with their peers. Additionally, students keep journals for sketching and taking note of inspirational sources as a way to remain engaged outside of the classroom. These steps encourage students to be aware of their influences and to make informed artwork within a larger cultural context.
The most effective and important tool for students’ conceptual development is frequent, honest and inclusive dialogue. Regular critiques nurture connections among students and are essential to the development of their ability to articulate concepts. I am committed to creating a supportive classroom where students are comfortable expressing themselves, both visually and verbally. I believe learning is most effective in a classroom where the student feels simultaneously challenged, nurtured, and ultimately celebrated as an individual contributing to a larger community.