On The Right Track: Teaching Philosophy and Artist Statement Convergence



Yesterday I was asked to deliver a 150 word teaching philosophy for my new position as visiting faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute, I took a day to think about it.

Today I had a wonderful realization, I’m spot on. According to Iowa State’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching a teaching philosophy has to answer four questions:

  1. To What End?
  2. By What Means?
  3. To What Degree?
  4. Why?

When I moved to Ventura to pursue art full time, I decided to combine my artist statement with positive affirmation and visualization (skills I’d honed while high jumping in college). For the dedication of my space, I essentially got a tattoo, not on my body but on my studio. By getting a cut vinyl sign I ramped up the professionalism and aligned myself visually with respected galleries. In addition I placed the sign strategically by door so everyone walking in or out has to look at it, including me.

Having grown up in the Midwest, I’m very aware of the implications pre-performance sign rituals have in preparing for competition. Taking a page from the great coach Lou Holtz, I made my own, artistic “Play like a champion today.”

Artist Statement

For over a decade I have explored and combined traditional art materials with digital techniques demonstrating creative fluency. By moving with ease and grace through a variety of media, I focus on communicating ideas and I gain knowledge in the process.

I work intuitively and iteratively when creating art and often apply scientific methodology to my art practice with the rigor of a seasoned athlete.

By observing human behavior, asking generative questions, and analyzing information, I experience daily how a disciplined process leads to comprehension of complex data and ideas. I use my artistic sensibility to present my findings in unique and compelling ways.

I appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of the artist’s life. I aspire to travel, to teach, and to create while extending my exhibition record. Being nourished creatively while partaking in a challenging path is a delight, and I particularly relish learning along the way.

Art is the most practical, essential, and exciting field of work in the world today, and I look forward to sharing it with you. I guarantee that you will have never seen anything like my art before.

So when I looked at my artist statement today in relation to the four questions that a teaching philosophy must answer I simply modified my statement.

Teaching Philosophy

(To What End?) I appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of the artist’s life and I want to demonstrate that being nourished creatively while partaking in a challenging path is a delight. (By What Means?) By teaching students to move with ease and grace through a variety of media, I show them how to focus on communicating ideas. (Why?) Art is the most practical, essential, and exciting field of study in the world today, and I look forward to sharing it with you as we move toward (To What Degree?) creative fluency.

Concise, to the point, and very clear, this convergence of teaching philosophy and artist statement demonstrates to me that I am prioritizing properly and that the visualizations are working. I am confident that over the next eight months I will achieve my goal of a sustainable art career by March 2011 (the 4th sixteen-week cycle which I will explain later).

Audentis Fortuna Iuvat!