Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Class-ified



Two more 20 minute poses of Kelly and Caribeth, respectively.

drawing room returns this Thursday, after a week off, and I am acting monitor. I do not mind this at all, as it is vaguely reminiscent of my teaching days. And yes, I still miss those days very much. I was offered an opportunity to teach a Spring/Summer session at Sanctuary Arts, where I had taught before. Christopher, the director, told me that people were still asking abut me, even though it's been almost 2 years since I'd stopped because of my new job. I am so flattered by this - and a little sad, too, as I had to decline. Frankly, it's just too much driving. I would have had to go straight there (25 miles south) from my current job, probably have to skip dinner, and drive 50 miles home at 9:30 PM. The reason I know this wouldn't work is because I've done it before without a full time job, and it was rough. If Sanctuary was in Portland, I would surely have done it. Heck, I'd still be teaching there, period.

I also miss teaching in BFA, as well. I just loved my students. So much energy (well, some of them), and eagerness to make art the lifeblood of their existence! - it was encouraging for me, absolutely. Teaching was perhaps the only job where I really felt 100% comfortable, because I knew how to do it, somehow. I never trained as a teacher, I just tell people what I know, and if they don't get it that way, I show them. It's pretty simple, yet there were a great number of students who would come to me from other classes - students whom I did not know - and ask for my help, because they'd heard or seen the results from my students. This was kind of baffling, and I couldn't understand why or how their teachers led them astray - or, more often than not - let them do "whatever" and figure it out on their own. How could they not see that the students needed them so much? I would never, ever refuse a student help, no matter what. I may have been a little goofy with my impersonations and silly humor, but in the end, everyone knew I was serious about painting and drawing, and that I was always looking for results. The students knew this was a fair practice, because they saw that I demanded no less from my own work.

The problem with teaching was (and still is) money. I could never make enough doing it full time to support my family, and I had to take a corporate gig. Had I gone for my MFA, I would be the Chair of Illustration at NHIA in Manchester, no question. That may have been okay financially, but in hindsight, perhaps it was best I moved on when I did. And frankly, the only place where I would even consider getting an MFA is the NY Academy of Figurative Art in Manhattan. Again, with a family of 5, how could this be done? And anyway, degrees mean very little when it comes to art, with the exception of educational job positions, apparently. No one asked to see my BFA for my current job, and I work in a full-on corporate structure! All they really cared about was the work. A piece of paper for which you paid 50k (or whatever) does not a portfolio make.

I have a lot to give, and I'd love to give it. I just want there to be some livable wage involved. It seems it's too much to ask for in the medieval hierarchy of education.

3 comments :

Martha Miller said...

Hi Rob

I also was asked to teach at Sanctuary and did not want to make that drive. Have you looked into teaching through Continuing Studies at MECA? Your approach would be much more academic than mine - they would probably welcome another figure drawing teacher! If you are interested, you ought to call Cheslye Ventimigia right away - they are putting together the summer catalog right now.

Martha Miller said...

correction:

Ventimiglia

Rob S. said...

I'd contacted Cheslye some years before, but nothing came of it. Alex has recently suggested the same. I shall give it a shot. Hope its not too late!