Previous statements on teaching
STATEMENT ON TEACHING (rev. 2004, 2006, 2007)
While there are those that argue that art without theoretical or conceptual subtext is still art, the artist in the university setting should be moving decidedly away from this vantage. I believe that the distinction between process and theory must be addressed so that they no longer function exclusively. It is my goal to teach Process, while also offering students the opportunity to move beyond mere production, into a practice supported by theory and concept. Anyone can learn the mechanics of ink on paper, but intention is what defines art.
The role of the university teacher in making this transition is key. Since technique and process are integral to the study and practice of printmaking, as the instructor, I must present them with such ease and grace, that the time spent performing the processes provide a forum for discussion and conceptualization to take place.
Printmaking has a unique history, based in multiplicity, commerce and innovation, and this provides an opportunity for critical analysis unlike any other discipline. The contemporary printmaking program should be an exciting and challenging environment for both student and faculty. The goal of the program must focus on advancing the thinking and practice in a field historically based on evolving technologies. I encourage my students to explore what it is to produce, as well as reproduce, making use of any technology necessary to make the statement they need to make. Advancing thought should aim to understand that integrating digital technologies, rather than unilaterally abandoning more archaic methods in their stead, is the key to a successful, contemporary and relevant program.
Perhaps the most important and often over-looked aspect of a successful printmaking program is the attitude of the faculty. Being able to firmly incorporate the technical and conceptual sides of printmaking into a teaching practice is of course, significant, but sharing the energy and excitement I feel for art is even more so. I believe that this is the reason that I teach.
STATEMENT OF TEACHING PHILOSOPHY (2002)
Art is not about “art”. Rather, art is about everything else: the artist; their inner thoughts; their visions; and their interpretation of the world. To bridge these realms, the art instructor must constantly present different and relevant avenues for individual advancement and interpretation. These avenues will hopefully allow students to understand that learning about art is not about answers, it is about questions.
As an educator, my role has two distinct yet connected components: to provide technical instruction; and to facilitate and encourage critical insight. It is the second component that sets art instruction at the University level apart from any other learning environment. To help better facilitate this critical insight into student creativity, artwork should be discussed and eventually framed in regard to the wider social world and the history of art.
In a procedure-oriented medium such as printmaking, students from all levels of artistic maturity will converge to find that their greatest challenges are often in attaining proficiency in the medium. Fortunately, their rewards are not limited to the proficiency itself, but in the personal reflection that occurs while following the technical procedures. Printmaking has its own set of rules and consequently invites the artist to challenge and reevaluate his/her own thoughts and ideas. As a creative educator and art instructor, I not only invite, but encourage each and every studying artist to challenge, question, and critically examine all aspects of their art, and their life.