As an educator, providing a variety of opportunities and challenges for my students is vital. Empowering them to take an active role in their education is critical. With the instruction of students in the field of visual arts, process and theory needs to be more than simply studied; they need to be applied. My approach to teaching includes, but is not limited to, demonstration of techniques (hand construction, computer manipulation, to public installation), instruction of concepts and theories (movements, cultures, artists and emerging technologies), and historical identification within the art world (locally and globally).
I foster an engaging learning environment, contextualized through theoretical, historical and practical cognition. My approach to curriculum is that of a multifaceted mindset, which includes lessons that cover materials, concepts, current technologies, theories, and societal influences. These topics are explored through lecture, demonstration, and group critique. From these forms of presentation and evaluation, students become more mindful of their work as a whole. Understanding content and theory is equally important as the physical object. Motivating students to work past the point of a technical method is crucial. It is also essential that a student develop a discipline of research, sketches, and Maquettes for creating art past amateur attempts and fortunate results.
I facilitate the exploration of art making through materials, concepts, and presentation. Students need to understand how to utilize materials, tools, and content in their work. Do you make an object from scratch or seek out found materials that could yield the same or superior outcome? At one end of the spectrum, lack of material handling could limit or impede the ability to construct and/or produce the needed elements for a project. At the other end, obsessive fabrication to make or remake an object could overshadow the message of the work. I see this as a fine line, but feel strongly about still knowing how to make something, while maintaining an open mindset for the use of non-traditional materials and technologies within their work. It is also important that students recognize the relevance of their artwork’s existence in the world. This includes current and past issues, movements, materials, location, and culture. Lacking awareness or understanding could produce a naïve sensibility in a student’s work. The purpose of these lessons is to enhance their awareness of who they are, what they are doing, and the scope of their audience.
I integrate technology into my curriculum at all levels of instruction. Digital technologies present students with a number of options (audio and video manipulation, rapid prototyping, to interactive processes) for creation. I encourage my students to engage in interdisciplinary and collaborative ventures for new ways of art making. This can stem from foundation studies, to the cross pollination between fields of study in advanced level instruction. The combination of traditional and digital tools is a must for students to explore, as this is another tool to your education as an artist. This is why I continually review and explore a variety of tools and skills needed to capture, create, distribute and publish my own work.
I actively communicate with my students at the individual and group level. Encouraging discussion, brainstorming, and troubleshooting in multiple capacities. Making it a point to be available for students outside of class and assisting in their development as artists is instinctive to me. Knowing when to intervene with a student concerning their progress and to inspire them to exceed beyond the prescribed challenge is essential. Aside from the expectations I require of my students, I too, place these expectations upon myself as an artist and as an educator. My continued development as an artist (personally and professionally) supports the methodologies that are executed in the classroom.
The goal for my students is continued exploration, questioning, and creative activities. I strive to motivate students to constantly inquire and explore individual and external topics. This is relevant not only to their artwork, but also to their personal enrichment. My commitment is to provide students with the necessary talents to be successful and proficient in the field of art as well as a member of society.
Brian N. Glaze