The value of surprise in the process of art making is a key element in my approach to teaching. Incorporating unconventional ideas into my class keeps my students as well as me aware of these unexpected treasures. When we experiment with different materials as well as interacting with artists from other disciplines, we encounter relationships of coincidence that foster new ideas and deeper learning of the subject matter, and puts us into a more intense creative process.

I plant new ideas through exploration of different techniques. As a first stage, I encourage serious involvement with a given material through hands-on experimentation rather than through analytical investigation. I believe in the challenge of new experience to produce creativity. Instead of doing research for the design first, I want students to be part of the process and to gain a physical relationship with the materials and tools they work with so as to feel confidence. In order to combine an inspiring concept with the right materials, students must understand the importance of process as a way to gain experience and create. Only through experimentation will students know what works and what fails. In the second phase, students should then strengthen their ideas through knowledge and research. I start with active exercises and only then will theory follow.

Drawing is the base for any other method of visual practice, and with an understanding of the act of “seeing” as the grammar of this visual language, students learn how to speak.  Through exploration of still life, perspective, spaces, landscape and the figure, and using charcoal and various erasers, students learn to relate to negative spaces and draw in blocking-in technique to produce illusions of reality and develop their individual styles. In my painting class, in order to maintain an atmosphere of creative risk-taking, I craft assignments such as experimenting with color application or designing a collage and then painting it, and these keep the students engaged and not overwhelmed. The students are also a vital part of every session’s informative lecture as I ask them to give short presentations on technical terms and influential artists. I thereby instill confidence in technical proficiency and aesthetic inspiration.

Collaboration between different media in art as well as exposure to different perspectives is key to future creative and artistic growth. In my drawing classes, students are required to watch and analyze weekly video broadcasts of international artists and designers. Exposure to the medium of video with the content of design pushes them to think outside of the conventional drawing frame. Pace, cuts, transitions, cinematography and composition are the same ideas used in drawing, just in a different language of art.

In one of my drawing courses, I experimented with the creation of an interactive context for my students with a five-week collaboration with a colleague from the Music Department. This exercise enriched class discussion and provided creative opportunities. We explored the learning outcomes of dual improvisation sessions. During each session the students were given different open following/leading tasks in the form of reactions to one another. They worked individually and in groups, and at the end of each session we shared our insights. The combination of improvisation and collaboration inspired creative processes between the two groups of musicians and drawers and produced fascinating work.

Being aware of how subjective art is, I accept each student’s individual path, and encourage them to claim with confidence their positions both in technique and in their creative style.