Continuing Studies Instructor
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Why did you choose SVAD UCF?
When I started at UCF I started as a Graphic Design/Computer Science major. As I progressed I found myself wanting more direct art contact so I pursued a foundations drawing course to increase the quality of my illustrative work. Thus I went out and got an override into my first art course. From that point on I was hooked; by the time I finished my Drawing Two course with Robert Rivers I had switched my major to fine art.
What did you like most about it?
The rigor, the intensity, and the focus. A lot of majors in college don’t really integrate you into a community like the visual arts do. They give you some tests, maybe you form a study group, but as a whole the visual arts in a collegiate setting encompasses so much more of your time and energy. Being part of that community was one of the first times I really felt like I was going to college. Spending countless hours in dark studios till the break of dawn painting with friends. Working on a craft with your peers just seems to create a bond with your class mates that is hard to replicate in other programs.
Most colleges have a specific personality that goes beyond its academic offerings. How would you describe UCF personality at that time?
Let it be known that the year after I graduated UCF had its first Football game on campus, the personality of the school was very much different then. There was a general feeling of anticipation and jealousy for what the new students would get to enjoy and what we, as seniors, were missing. As I look back at it, as an alumnus, I am very proud of my experiences at UCF, the school personality was very hectic and busy, and one which brought about personal growth. It was a very rough and tumble school, where you were responsible for yourself and crafted your personalized education.
How did your time at UCF shape your decisions and choices in your life and your career?
UCF taught me a few things; the faculty taught me how to make things well and how to master my craft. They showed me the joy of teaching others and sharing information. I remember watching beginning drawing students excel, becoming talented artists and feeling exhilarated by their successes. Since graduation I have made a career out of sharing what I learned at UCF, by making art and teaching drawing, painting, printmaking and just about anything I can get my hands on. I try to pass along everything I have learned to new young students. UCF also empowered me artistically to do anything I want. If I want to learn any new medium or a new technique in any new and emerging medium, I know that my foundations are so strong that I can adapt and change to whatever way the world turns.
What do you like about your current job/life?
As an illustrator I get to draw Lord of the Rings pictures for the Plants of J.R.R. Tolkien book all day which is literally a dream come true. As an educator I get to watch and help others discover the joys of making art. As an artist I get to be my own boss and work from home and spend time with my children while creating wonderful things that give others great pleasure. Every year new opportunities and possibilities pop up. I get to help create board games, make art, and run a print shop. I don’t really have too many complaints.
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