Nick and I have both rounded out our professional tasks this Fall with the addition of teaching. It wasn't something that we set out to do but we're both big proponents of learning and by teaching we actually learn a lot about our craft and how to improve what we do.
I've taught art classes since college, mostly K-12 in drawing, painting and ceramics and more recently pre-college courses in Fashion Illustration at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. But over the last few years I've had more interest in guiding people toward their achieving their goals. When I was at the gallery, recent grads would come seeking internships or placements but because the fine art world was and has always been a difficult landscape, I wouldn't be able to get them jobs right out school. There were a few exceptions, of course, but most had to travel a meandering route to get to where they wanted to be. And that's not so different than what I had to do to become Director at my last job.
Witnessing the triumphs and lackluster job market, it has only driven me more to help students succeed. Next month I'll be lecturing at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design on breaking into the art world as an artist. From there a series of workshops will be tailored to fit the needs of those students that are most vested in making a profession out of being an artist or designer. Since this is the first program of its kind, this experiment will most certainly be a learning experience for me as well. I'll fill you in as the program grows.
Over the last four months I've also taught private art lessons in people's homes. Ranging from elementary up to adults, people are seeking out fine art skills but with more personal attention. We get to talk much more in depth about abstraction or why something is a technical versus fine art drawing. It's really engaging both for them and for me.
Nick is doing something very similar in his line of expertise. This past week he started working with Bright Futures, a program based out of Eastern Michigan University. He gets to work with high schoolers in the Ypsilanti public school system, teaching them digital photography with new Nikon DSLRs. He'll tackle composition, F-stops and exposures, lighting and all the fundamentals that will get them shooting their own professional portraits. There's been talk of an exhibition or publishing a book, or both. This type of initiative gives the students a chance to explore a profession with a professional before they reach college level. We're both really excited about this prospect and Nick loves sharing his knowledge of lighting, which is really what photography is all about.
We've also had the chance recently to offer our food styling and photography as a day long workshop because people are interested in the tricks of the industry.
Like I said, teaching is not something that we set out to do but education is vitally important to every industry and job you could ever hold. If you have interest in learning about any aspect of what we do, art or photo-related, feel free to send us a note.