Failure is always an option; a student who pushes his skills and ideas to the breaking point is a student who is striving for greatness. As an instructor my main objective is to create an environment that allows all students to explore their limits, freely exchange ideas, and engage the classroom community in open dialogue. It is with this approach that I believe students will be able to achieve success beyond what they ever thought possible.
As a teacher I am concerned with three main objectives. The first is to provide technical skill and knowledge so that students gain an understanding of the full range of possibilities offered by a particular process or material. I encourage students to think critically and openly challenge the way we traditionally use materials, fostering experimentation and innovation. Though craftsmanship is no longer the single standard to which we hold an artist, I strongly believe that is critical to how we as makers develop and are perceived.
My second goal is to introduce the students to the idea of visual analysis through open dialog and critiques. Students will learn to interpret and verbalize what they see. They will learn how physical connections, material choices, color, form, symmetry, etc., form the foundation for a visual language with which they will begin to communicate. It is through these systems that the work will grow beyond a single resolute idea formed by one student into a piece influenced by their peers and the growing classroom community.
However, art is more than aesthetic beauty; it is concepts and ideas merged with form. Once the students have a foundation in the technical and visual I move into my third main objective: critical analysis. They will learn to think carefully about all decisions they make, from material choice to construction techniques and how to relate those decisions to contemporary and historical context. No work is created inside a bubble and as the instructor it is my duty to help students understand how their work fits into the world and how their work is perceived by others in both a historical and contemporary context.
Each student is unique and works in their own way, but I believe by setting a good example as a practicing studio artist, and opening myself and my work to the same rigor in which I hold them, every student can achieve and surpass their goals.
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