Student Art Work
I worked as a shop technician at the Kansas City Art Institute the year after graduating and that shaped me as a teacher. I enjoyed the process of assisting students to bring their vision to fruition. Each individual in the classroom brings a variety of studies and unique experience. In my classes every student responds to assignments differently and working one-on-one with students to fulfill projects is one of my strengths as a teacher. Through class projects students are expected to develop an individual direction that shows personal expression and an understanding of contemporary issues in printmaking. I am a hands on teacher, I think that critiques are more fulfilling if the students feel that they have received attention and response to their work during its creation.
It is important to introduce students to printmaking materials, techniques, and concepts with assignments that focus on process, craftsmanship, and different conceptual methodologies. A fundamental part of any learning situation is the introduction of safe studio practices during demonstration and lecture. Because of the importance of studio safety practice I give a lecture and safety test during the first week of class. With students working in a collaborative environment like they do in a print shop, it is essential for them to gain a sense of community through out the semester. I want my students to feel uninhibited around their peers as the assignments push them to work outside of their personal comfort zones. To that end several of my assignments (self-published zine, composite portrait, and exquisite corpse narrative) emphasis collaboration and communication between the students.
Over the last two years I have been using team based learning assignments with the intention that students’ pooling their critical thinking skills to arrive at a finished product creates a more beneficial learning environment. This sense of community has led my students to start a print organization called Print and Glory at Fresno State and South Paw Press at University of South Alabama. Both clubs have participated in 26 live printing events at galleries, fairs and art events. I bring at least two visiting artists a semester to lecture and/or work with my students. I have hosted 33 visiting printmakers since the Fall of 2007. The students gain from the valuable experience of our guests’ scholarship and then in turn apply that knowledge to their own creative endeavors. The exposure to collaborative printing and a mature artist’s ideas and process expands the horizons of individual students and improves class discussions.
The visiting artists also help inspire me and gives students an opportunity to witness my engagement as a collaborative artist and allows me to model the qualities of cooperation and lifelong learning. I evaluate my students based on their demonstrated knowledge of printmaking techniques, methods, and concepts in their portfolio, sketchbooks, and critiques. I have come to realize that ultimately students learn to fulfill what is required in the portfolio at the end of the semester. If I require prints exploring different techniques then their portfolios will reflect that. When I give them projects that require problem solving, their body of work will show more problem solving.
I provide a detailed handout and very clear rubric for each assignment. I believe faculty promote trust by setting clear guidelines for assignments and evaluations, honest feedback, and by assigning bias-free grades. With that in mind I feel my class should help students to realize their personal vision through assignments and the use of a sketchbook. As part of their sketchbook assignments I require my students to attend and document artist’s lectures, demonstrations, and show openings. It is my desire that students leave my courses with skills or disciplines related to the idea of the multiple that benefits their pursuit as students and artists.