I believe in the potential of my students and have faith that they will apply what they learn in the classroom to other elements of their lives, that learning ways to communicate visually translates into life-long qualities of understanding, articulation, and approaching the world. As a teacher of printmaking and the visual arts, I strive to impart the spirit and relevance of printmaking as a vital means of art making. I also endeavor to develop students’ critical thinking skills and abilities to plan, and highlight the relationship between students’ ideas and the application of those ideas. For students to fully understand this relationship between idea and process or product, I incorporate art history and contemporary issues into courses. All of these elements lead to what I believe is at the core of teaching: empowering students through teaching them skills and the ability to critically think in order to be well-versed and capable in their future growth.
At the heart of my teaching, and reflective of my artistic approach, exists a cultivation of a sense of experimentation and research along with dedication to practice. The assignments I design ask students to root their projects in concept and strive for sophistication in craft and aesthetics. While the introductory projects focus more on students learning the process, I ask them to develop their ideas around a central idea, one that I sometimes assign or students sometimes self-direct. In order to guide students through their verbal communication, I structure critiques that require all students to participate and that hinge on formal and conceptual analysis while addressing content.
Because I believe in a multi-dimensional education of process, concept, and context, I incorporate various methods of instruction. To showcase the continuum of printmaking and fresh applications of the discipline, I create powerpoint lectures of historical and contemporary prints and bring in art books and actual prints for students to examine. I require students to attend exhibitions and recommend contemporary printmakers for them to research. I ask other printmakers, when available, to visit the class and demonstrate their particular methods, thereby teaching students the many ways in which they may approach a technique and to inspire them to not copy my process but to develop their own. These varied resources instill in students an understanding of technique, a love of the process, and sense of the rich history of printmaking as well as enriches them in their understanding of visual culture as learning artists, critical thinkers, and creative problem solvers; these examples in conjunction with current issues in art or critical readings I bring to the classroom create an intellectual framework that builds upon their understanding of the media as well as how the context of artwork in its production and reception is critical to developing one’s practice. And, while I highlight printmaking in class, I also situate the field in relation to different methods of fine art production such as other two-dimensional approaches as well as three-dimensional and installation: this cross-media presentation of art creation allows students to think of what they learn in printmaking as a part of a vast field of artmaking and emphasizes their thinking as not only printmakers but as artists.
I meet with students regularly throughout the quarter on an individual basis to discuss their projects and to assess and address their needs as learners and burgeoning artists: I adapt to the approaches from which each student learns best, being more encouraging with one student and more critically engaged with another. At the same time I teach as much to the individual as possible, I teach to the entire class and foster a sense of community and the communal nature of academic and printmaking studio work. As a mentor, I believe in being approachable and supportive as well as challenging. I have learned that the more I ask of students, the better they perform and the more they are accountable for themselves and their work. My high expectations and my enthusiasm generate positive classroom experiences where we can have honest critiques without discouraging each other and where students feel comfortable to seek out my help beyond what I offer.
My belief in teaching reflects my attitude to my own artistic practice: I take great stock in research, experimentation, dialogue, and setting high standards. What I teach to my students, process and practice, is what I do in my own life, and I find I grow as a better artist the more I teach.
I am committed to education and learning, my students’ and my own.