As an artist, I am interested in using my work as a meditative practice as well as a way to connect with other people. My work heavily focuses on the social aspect of making, whether that is working in a group setting or using conversation as a starting point for a piece. Similarly, my teaching stems from conversations with students. As an educator, I build upon the students’ interests in order to relate with them and promote engagement. The constructivist idea of “learning by doing” is a pillar of how I structure a classroom. A key point of my relationship with students is introducing new materials and techniques to expand their artistic repertoire. That being said I want to ensure that students still maintain their personal voice and connection to their work. To accomplish this I have to research the students and take into account their personal, social, and cultural backgrounds and perspectives.
This body of work explores the idea of thinking through making. Thinking through making encourages conversation. That conversation happens with myself, with the materials and with the students. Split into two parts, these pieces reflect my experiences as both a student and a teacher during quarantine.
The work I made over the course of the summer and fall consists of studies of my surroundings made with oil pastels and acrylics. Through the unpredictable events of COVID, our environments became static, while our minds were frantically tasked with pulling everything together. This collection of work reflects that mentality by creating a dialogue between still environments and figures and active mark making. Due to these pieces being created from observation, the marks are immediate in direct response to what I am seeing. As a whole these pieces act as a refresher on techniques that were becoming less prominent in my other bodies of work. In revisiting these skills, I was able to build lessons around them in my spring teaching placements.
The second half of this body of work demonstrates my thought process while teaching, breaking down lesson plans and prototypes, as well as drawings with students. Each of these drawings capture a conversation with myself as I am adapting to the virtual environment and my new role as teacher. Using pen, pencil and other household materials, these pieces document my thinking through a combination of notes and drawings.
In relating my own process to teaching students, I focused deliberately on planning and scaffolding their work. Lessons were structured so that students would work through a concept by completing preliminary drawings that lead to a more substantial piece at the end of the unit.