University of South Dakota, 1998.
Indiana University of South Bend, 1992.
Industrial Screen Printer
My teaching reflects a constructivist approach, which implies that for most students, learning happens in the mind. The behavioral and information processing perspective cannot be left out and in fact, must be incorporated to make certain that students have basic information and a foundation from which to work and continue their individual search for knowledge.
“Passive Learning” is outdated and with upcoming technology, students need to know how to think objectively, use judgment, be able to interpret, solve problems creatively, and most importantly enhance their social and interrelation behavioral skills beyond the use of directed instruction and the passive learning mode. I feel students now more than ever need to become active learners to acquire what they need to learn to be productive in the arts.
It is important to teach students how to learn and have them show you what they know, beyond testing involving memorization. Having the students become active in learning by doing exercises, projects, and group collaboration, these become essential to their understanding of the information. This process helps students to retain essential information in long-term memory, and to recall it when they need it.
In presenting information I begin by introducing the topic, give the body of the lecture, give a summary, introduce the project, allow time to complete the project, and either give a critique or timely summary response to the project. To introduce a new topic I often begin by asking students what they know of the topic. I try to keep lecture time down to around fifteen minutes before moving onto a different approach (video, web, or other activity). This way of teaching gives the students the basic information they need without “fire hosing” them with too much information. In a summary process, I ask students questions that reveal an overview of the information I presented. The final step is to get the students to incorporate that information into a project where they can show they understand the information. The projects begin in class where I can assist the students in the beginning, then have them do the remaining outside of class. I give them my email, office and home phone numbers so if problems arise they can contact me. We then do a final critique or I grade the project and get them back to the students quickly so they know how they are doing. This is an outline to the way I feel teaching is most effective for myself. There are many complexities, variables, and crossovers in reaching a balance between the informational and active learning process that allow it to be effective, but this is what I strive for. Keeping the students interested and motivated is tough enough and I have found they respond favorably if a balance can be found and maintained. I am a strong believer that the students leaving my class knowing the fundamentals of art and design with an emphasis on the principles and elements of design.
For both the student and teacher, the learning process is a journey, a journey where the student has room to grow and is enabled to begin to make sense of inner values, individualism, and the socialization process. It’s my intention to give guidance so my students will be enabled to survive in the arts. My hope is that the students leaving my classes will be “learning for life”. Teaching has been a wonderful gift and with this gift I enjoy seeing the students continue on their journey of learning.
Communication has always been a strong focus in my art, printmaking, and graphic design work. I search to communicate to people in a creative and effective approach. The idea of duplication of my message is important to me, seeing that the work is accessible to many people helps to promote communication and at the same time opens avenues for self-expression. Being able to continue to grow as a professional artist and effective educator are my career goals.
I approach my work in terms of content and form. Many of my prints and drawings are becoming more esoteric, the intention behind this is not to confuse the viewer, but to bring them info the work and have them question what the connotations of the content might be. In many cases one form will relate to another, in much the same way that information is acquired today over the Internet and is generated and manipulated through the use of computer.
A large portion of the content is the constant search for humanity in myself and in other people. I view closely how technology and terminology will effect us in the future, including the complexities and ambiguities that befall both society and the individual, what and how will transitions be made, and the cost of making those choices.
In my work, form relates to the message or content. In many cases, I will use forms in a narrative way rather than as an abstraction. Working this way allows me to bring the viewer into the work using familiar cues that can be responded to. This allows the viewer to put together the forms in the work like a puzzle or a math problem. I am strongly influenced by the Surrealism and Dada movements at the current time. Painters such as Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Paul Klee, Marcel Duchamp and on into more current artists like Anselm Kiefer and Odd Nerdrum. Printmakers that have influenced both my process and content are numerous, but range from artists like Albrecht Durer and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, on to more current printmakers such as, Warrington Colescott, Rudy Pozzatti, and Robert Cottingham.
The most exciting part as an artist and printmaker is of course the process in making a print. I am fascinated with problem-solving and dealing with different processes that allow exploration in the generation of a print, from traditional to current methods, this includes Lithography, Screen Print (water and oil), Intaglio, Relief, Calligraphy and on into Digital/Photographic processes. Much of my work will incorporate more than a single process; a single print may include a combination of processes before it comes to fruition. It is also important for me to be able to generate editions that can then be used in portfolios and shared with other artists. An important part of printmaking for myself has always gone back to being able to draw well, if this is done well then the vitality of the print begins on its way to being obtained and communicated.
The goal of my work is to communicate and to be able to build and extend my visual language. My hope is to share the attitudes, history, beliefs, dreams and desires that I have been fortunate enough to see from others. In the end it is the simple need to communicate and elicit a response from someone that I may never meet.