Statement of Teaching Philosophy
My goal as an instructor is to cultivate critical independent thinking and creative problem-solving skills. The process of visually analyzing the world through art helps students to open conduits to a plurality of information and develop contextual networks for their ideas and thoughts. Creative and intellectual maturity depends upon the cultivation of the process of seeing and the process of inventing. I nurture and develop this self-guiding capability to conceptualize problems and realize several different approaches to solving established problems. It is important for students to develop an identity, which inherently grasps the act of continually questioning and answering their adopted approaches to understanding art and the world.
In order to foster a studio environment of experimental creative exploration, I urge students to take risks and challenge themselves. I strive to design projects that will encourage students to grapple with material limitations, technical applications and important conceptual theories. It is my hope that by connecting course material to a web of broader social contexts more relevant to students, they will become more personally engaged in the project at hand and therefore more involved in their own learning process.
Image lectures have proven to be a vital tool in exposing students to historical and contemporary art issues while simultaneously creating a platform on which we can objectively discuss works of art. Written responses to assigned readings from current art periodicals also further develop students' capability to look at and talk about art critically. Critiques offer an opportunity for students to learn how to objectively discuss and judge the quality of their own work and the work of others. Each critique of the semester is run differently so that students engage in several processes of description, analysis, interpretation and evaluation.
Technical expertise and craftsmanship are crucial in order for students to fully maximize themselves in the chosen medium. I emphasize a working knowledge of both traditional and contemporary skills and techniques. Ceramic students must have the proper knowledge of all the traditional forming processes, clay body formulation, glaze calculation, mold making, and kiln construction and firing. Hands-on activity is crucial in learning these skills. Only after a student has been exposed to all the conceptual and technical options can they begin to make well-informed decisions with their work.
It is my intent to serve as an inspirational role model and to motivate students to have a disciplined work ethic and positive attitude in all aspects of the practice. I energetically engage in an open dialogue format with my students to inspire creative inquiry and intellectual rigor. The best way to do this is by sharing my own commitment to learning and growth as a professional artist and instructor.