As a mentor of emerging artists, I am dedicated to the development of my students in technical, conceptual, and professional areas. Each of these aspects takes precedence at different times in an artist’s career and finding the proper balance is a continual challenge. Individual students have various degrees of strength in each of these areas. My goal as an instructor is to encourage students to take risks in thinking and to understand that confusion is a regular, even valuable, part of the journey towards becoming an artist.
I have been a practicing artist since 1988. I have a strong and varied technical background that informs and supports my teaching. I believe that artistic techniques and craftsmanship are a foundation upon which to develop a career. Material informs technique, and technique informs concept. I guide and encourage my students to develop a dedication to craftsmanship that will enhance their ability to express ideas through art.
Conceptual skills are a major focus of my teaching style. Critical thinking and the ability to analyze one’s own work are incredibly important. A university is a rich environment for the exchange of ideas – where true external critique of artistic work is available. I encourage students to actively participate in the analysis of their work and the work of their peers. Using a variety of formats, students are given the opportunity to enhance their artistic vocabulary by communicating with their peers about art. As an instructor, I help each student develop the judgment, strength, and personal integrity necessary to pursue their own artistic direction.
Finally, I promote and develop students’ professional skills. Some of these skills are technical such as documenting, displaying, presenting, and speaking about finished work, while other skills are more personal and fundamental. I set a fast pace in my class to give students practice meeting deadlines and encourage them to over-come obstacles. I encourage students to find the limits of their abilities and then find ways to work around those limitations. When students accept challenges instead of answers, I have accomplished something important in teaching.