As a teacher I promote a holistic view of artmaking encompassing both practice and discourse. Attention to craft is aligned with the development of a conceptually rigorous artistic practice that challenges students to consider their role as an artist in society today. To this end, I approach my classes as studio-seminars, combining technical demonstrations with cross-disciplinary readings, slideshows, and screenings. As a group we critique artworks and analyze readings, thereby developing a vocabulary for discussing the work of our peers as well as contemporary artists. This combination of practice and dialogue prompts students to reflect upon not only their own work as an artist but the context in which they create.
In the studio I emphasize the development of technical skills and an awareness of print media’s historical and cultural significance. With these two goals in mind, I challenge my students to consider how they might enter into a more conceptual engagement with the media. I use my expertise in printmaking, digital printing, photography, video, and installation to foster students’ development in a broad range of technical skills. I encourage students to think of each media or skill learned as a tool at the service of their ideas. Students are encouraged to explore the potential of the multiple and what form a print might take by experimenting with materials and researching their personal interests.
In creating a studio environment that rewards dialogue and experimentation, it is my hope that students gain confidence, take risks, and ask questions. Whether in a museum looking at a 16th century engraving or sitting on the subway staring at a blur of advertisements, I hope my students employ a more critical stance towards visual information – asking how and for whom images function. In the end, I consider myself a successful teacher when students realize that they are active participants in visual culture, when they are excited about their role and responsibilities as creators of images, objects, and events in the world.
Monoprinting workshop at the Icelandic Printmakers' Association in Reykjavík, Iceland. Spring 2011.
Interview about Day of the Dead Steamroller Print Project. Video by Sergio Gonzalez.