Teaching Philosophy

I have a passion to share, create, and engage others to learn about culture, technique, expression and their own personal exploration in art. This desire was greatly influenced by learning and working alongside distinguished artists and teachers myself.

My own experience of seeing my students flourish and grow is not only immensely satisfying, it also is an important part of my own development and artistic drive. My goal as a teacher and mentor is to use diverse methodologies in order to connect with all students and challenge them to think critically. I engage my students by incorporating analogies that emphasize their interests; often using current aspects of popular culture to relate to the cultural, political, social, and artistic lessons that build a depth of understanding and respect for the past. Understanding the influences of the past and contemporary culture, I believe, make for a conceptually rich approach to the process of art making. Being aware of different approaches and philosophies open new ways of seeing and bring students together to contribute intelligent in-depth class critiques. This also challenges students to express complex ideas in their own art.

With a background in a variety of areas -- illustration, fine art, large-scale murals, graphics, digital video, print design, logo design, motion graphics, interactive design, web design, digital design, transaction design, user experience design and research, developer experience design and research, user interface design and research, customer experience design and research, human computer interaction, human-centered design, accessibility (especially color theory and how design impacts our cognitive load), new and emerging technologies -- I would love to integrate these fields in my teaching and research with a goal of engaging the community in a positive symbiotic relationship with design technology. Digital literacy is vital as our technology evolves.

The progressive advance of technologies that can be used as artistic, expressive tools has shaped my goals and guided the explosion of new opportunities for so many industries and individuals. The power of these new tools are even more impactful, easier to access, and more available worldwide. The digital space will continue to evolve and grow, offering opportunity for new methods of creative expression to reach a greater audience instantly. For this purpose, I teach and use new technology not for the sake of technology, but rather as a means towards designing better and more effective modes of creative expression.

I offer students a blend of core foundational skills that will withstand the technology advance and shifts of paradigms, a foundation of current on-demand, job applicable skills, an awareness of their impact on society and culture, and the experimentation and exploration of new ideas, techniques, and methods to further their fields of interest. My experience working in large tech companies and with internationally known brands as a digital designer, as an interaction designer, as a ux design engineer, and as an instructor has taught me the value and benefit of bringing together diverse backgrounds and disciplines to form creative approaches to projects. In mentoring my students to develop their own creativity responsibly, my dual approach is to model the mental habits of exploration and collaboration and to bring to students new techniques, methods, and means towards finding their own voice and vision in design.

Artistic traditions and techniques are the foundation for not only creating art, but also for understanding it. One must understand the foundations (value, contrast, color theory, line, etc.) and the principles of design before one can move on to more challenging compositions and art making. The advent of technology has not eliminated the need to understand the techniques, the traditions, and the rules of art. The computer is just another tool. If a student fails to learn form and space in a foundations class, the student will also have an unsuccessful design on the computer. I emphasize the basic skills one needs to create art, no matter what the tool, to my students.

I use a proactive teaching style that incorporates student participation. I have developed many different techniques for motivating my students and for explaining difficult concepts in easy terms. This is especially useful when teaching digital media courses. Just as in a foundations course, a digital media student must learn the basics of the computer and the applications before a portfolio-quality piece can be created. I use a grading matrix that gives points for execution, concept, and technical mastery of requirements to help maintain a more objective critique of core requirements for grading creative assignments.

I cover a wide variety of art and technique with my students. I prepare students to become successful critical thinkers and digital artists by encouraging classroom debate, group discussions and assignments that strengthen their artistic, critical, and conceptual thinking skills. According to evaluations, my students have been very satisfied with this approach, especially contacting me years later just to keep in touch. My class examples have step-by-step demonstration and contain all different levels of implementation. This allows students to not only easily follow a step-by-step learning process but also encourages them to create more advanced and expanded work based on class examples.

Although my past teaching has focused on illustration, user research and design, graphic and web design, visual arts, multimedia, interactive design, animation, video, motion graphics, and art history, my interdisciplinary teaching experience in combination with my span of scholarly interests and professional experiences would enable me to teach a wide range of classes in areas such as typography, history of media art and digital design, 2D/3D animation, HCI, DX/UX/UI/UXE, and full stack ux engineering. My previous professional experience as a digital design technologist offers different perspectives from a production, art practice and academic point of view. I intend to expand my students’ horizons not only artistically but also culturally, inspiring them to think independently and elaborate their roles as art practitioners in society.

I know the power of an enthusiastic, engaged teacher. I was fortunate to work alongside many of my professors, having engaging conversations about anything and everything, and tying it all back into art. The sense of respect, equality, and the connection I felt as I was developing my own artistic voice is one of the most motivating and inspiring factors in my desire to teach. I offer to my students an enthusiastic desire to teach and to learn. I've used my enthusiasm and a variety of approaches to dispel any boredom or disinterest in the classroom. it's very inspiring to watch slumped, dreary-eyed students waiting for class to begin (and to be over) at the start of the semester only to see them turn into alert, engaged students not wanting the class to end. By being inspired by the subjects I teach, I produce inspired and well-educated students. And to me, that is a wonderful reward.

Teaching Experience

I've worked with all ages and abilities. I had a digital illustration student who lost an arm and still did well in the course with adaptive help, another who broke 2 arms, a leg, and an ankle carrying a cooler on the beach, a deaf student with an ASL translator who needed to learn shorthand for technical terms, an older student with acute anxiety and violent behavioral issues in class when frustrated with saving on the computer. I have a quiet, down-to-earth disposition that helps create a trust and respect with all my students, no matter their background. I deal with these situations based on the context, but often use the appropriate amount of humor and seriousness to quickly resolve the situation with the least disruption and with humility intact. I have taught in mountain towns and city centers, in silicon valley and san francisco. No matter the location, I believe more research needs to be done on the best ways to promote digital health, digital literacy, digital access, and digital responsibility. In addition to teaching at all types of colleges and universities both public and private, I have taught community programs for youth and adults. I have worked with Arts organizations and Art Museums to bring art, technology, and art literacy to enrich the lives of young adults in the community. I have taken multiple annual training sessions on safety and first aid, crisis counseling, and learning differences. I am adept at adjusting the lessons and course based on the needs of the class and the empathy needed to ensure all students get the best support and the education they expect.

I have worked to create digital curriculum that would become its own major within the Art Department with CSU credits. I enjoy engaging with students and the community to bring better days and better experiences to all that surround and touch our lives.

I’m open to new opportunities.

If you're looking to connect, let’s grab a coffee and chat!

Here's some of what I'm listening to.

crosswalk shot across from the sfmoma with painting that reads think outside the building.