Sunday, January 24, 2010

week 2.b: Art Educator + Artist

I have often thought that being an art education major has guided my art-making to more practical, functional, recycled, low-budget art projects. I can't help but think about how to reuse materials that others would throw away or how to try certain printmaking processes in more accessible ways in the absence of important or "essential" tools. Perhaps it's the already present budget fear in my mind, or perhaps that is just part of the thrifty, goodwill shopping artist I am. However I think that my style of art making will (and has already) benefited me a great deal as an art educator because I am constantly looking for more than one way to solve a problem or complete a project and I enjoy the challenge of working with what I have on hand rather that gathering more supplies in to finish a project. Last semester we were required to put aside studio time each week to produce our own art. Initially I grumbled and protested at the absurdity, "I'm a full time student" "I already have hours of homework every day" "I had to work last night".. but then I slowly realized that those excuses are exactly why we were forced to try to start that habit. Soon enough my complaints will turn into "I have to grade projects" "I am exhausted from a long day with my crazy students" and "I have parent teacher conferences tomorrow night". Unless those habits of dedicating time to my personal art making begins now, or it will be impossible to keep up with as a full time teacher. I think it is very powerful to show students your own artwork; to validate the idea of a life long artist. I will never forget the time my senior year when my 2D teacher took myself and another student in independent art to show us his home that he was remodeling. He had constructed his own stained glass windows for the new room, and then showed us his potters wheel and personal studio. To show my students that I too have studied what they are learning and I am continually finding new ways to use those skills in new forms and media is a very special way to reach them. I believe the relationship between teaching art and art making should travel side by side and hand in hand. Continually creating art will continue to present new obstacles to solve, new ideas to try in the classroom, and will serve (as always for me) as a way to express and release emotions I otherwise would bottle up.

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