on learning

I consider the creative arts to be a practice of continuous study and experimentation. Rather than formulas we use principles. If we are effective, our work raises more questions than it answers. As such I have often found that I am teaching my students how to learn as much as what to learn. The question I chase most in my preparation is; Can a student learn to be creative? 

My students and I work together as agents of change, addressing each creative challenge with focused curiosity. While I encourage my students to present a personal response to each assignment, the final work that they create is not solely their solution in that collaboration amongst the students and the teacher is at the very heart of each successful experiment. The most compelling works are routinely a result of a student incorporating observations generated from an ongoing dialog throughout the creative process. My classes include group oriented elements that emphasize the importance of discourse and knowledge of past and present practice in the field. It is in this respect that class discussions are developed. Centered around the critique of assignments, as well as other class activities and observations our discussions include questioning what determines the value of a work of art, social implications raised by work, and the responsibilities of the artist in society. 

 As a teacher I maintain three objectives: To demonstrate the necessary technical skills and knowledge of materials appropriate to the course, to emphasize the value of lateral thinking and visual analysis, and to guide the student in conceptualizing their knowledge. To this end, students are encouraged to explore the full range of possibilities offered by the materials in achieving their aesthetic goals. This aspect of my teaching addresses the concepts of formal reasoning, which raises many questions. One of which is how materials and visual design contributes to the content of the work. 

From my experience teaching both digital and traditional classes, I have found that the issue of craft is just as relevant to digital media as it is to traditional forms. As with all new types of media, the possibilities offered by form, in this case, digital technology, can overshadow the question of content and become an end in and of itself. With this in mind, I have learned that when teaching in the digital context it is of particular importance to focus the attention of the students toward the larger picture and the objectives they are charged with achieving. 

This objective-based emphasis leads the review discussions toward visual analysis and lateral thinking with regards to their work and that of others. Our studies address the elements and principles of design as well as the conceptual implications of the experiments. Throughout the semester, I introduce students to a variety of strategies for evaluating the progress of their work. One of which is the creation of process books or process journals which aid in focusing and streamlining the formal process. These journals serve as a chronicle of the progress and creative development over the span of the project. Most importantly students learn to form conceptual objectives and understand that the measure of their progress is grounded there rather than aesthetics.

In the larger sense, the collaborations and group reviews are a means to calibrate the students’ ability to conceptualize their intentions; that the piece they planned to complete will inevitably have been changed by events and discourse during the process of executing the work. Students realize that the greatest obstacle to the progress of the work is often the artist’s preformed expectations. My goal is to guide the students toward initiating an ongoing body of work that is profoundly personal and broadly understood. I mean to teach that art is part of their lives and that each work is but a single step toward becoming and artist.    

Course Works

Imagery in Motion

Concentration on experimental video and time based digital imaging methods. Using non-linear editing techniques and contemporary presentation concepts, students expand on previous studies as they work toward incorporating various digital media into the production of technically accomplished and conceptually rich moving image projects. 

Time Based Media

Elements of continuity,rhythm and transformation will be emphasized along with basic production/project planning techniques. Aesthetic, historical, and conceptual issues will be addressed while students explore time based media as an expressive and communicative art form

Experimental Photography

Course explores non-traditional methods in photographic image making. Digital and chemical photography techniques are covered with an emphasis on creative contemporary approaches to historical process. Students use the processes addressed in this course as the formal elements of conceptual visual communication.

Photographic Techniques

An introduction to observational seeing through an exploration of two dimensional design issues particular to photography. Successful students learn the value of light to photography while distinguishing the contrast between a photograph that is about a subject rather than simply of it . Fundamental functions of the camera, creative exposure techniques, effective composition and critique strategies are emphasized.   

Intro to Digital Media

Digital foundation course that explores the principles of creative design processes. Basic concepts of visual communication are examined as well as the practical application of design principles through digital media. Apple OS X platform, digital lab equipment as well as the Adobe Creative Cloud flagship software are introduced.

Digital Imaging

An overview of raster based imaging materials and processing methods. Visual communication will be explored through the application of design principles and formal research. This course offers students a foundation for incorporating digital tools into their creative process as well as exploring the dynamics of visual communication. Students prepare images by taking advantage of various output options including print, web, and multimedia presentation.  

Digital to Darkroom

Explore contemporary methods for producing exhibition quality prints from the darkroom using digital and analog tools. Topics include advanced lighting and exposure control, HD digital capture, inkjet negative production and hand coated emulsions. The successful student will create a body of work crafted to archival standards that communicate relevant themes. Concepts such as pre visualization and historical precedence are addressed.  

Media Lighting 

Quality of light is at the heart of every effective photographic image. Using the five characteristics of light as a foundation, this course examines artificial and natural sources in and out of the studio. Successful students learn to effectively design lighting solutions through placement, modification and balance of light for a variety of imaging objectives.  

Digital Portfolio Seminar

A lecture/critique course dealing with the collection, organization, reflection and presentation of the artist portfolio . Investigations into the functional roll of the portfolio, and evaluating the value of the collection will be the primary focus Students research and produce a showcase portfolio of current works as well as preparing a developmental portfolio presentation.

Using Format