The following comments are from students in the Fall 2014, Art 160 Visual Thinking class. I have selected passages that touch on my teaching goals in an introductory course that emphasize what I value–mainly: process over product, personal authenticity, hard-work and the (often unanticipated) intellectual nature of the creative experience. The student’s original process logs are linked to the observations. Mostly these quotes are responses to a request about their overall learning in the semester. Kudos to all of the students in the course for the integrity of their approach and engagement in the projects and the community as a whole. It’s the approach that makes it happen–the meaning that comes from the collaboration between students, experimenting with materials and embracing the project goals. Right on.
Coming into this class with absolutely no artistic experience felt like a huge disadvantage at the beginning of the semester, but now I realize that having a completely blank slate gave me total freedom to explore, learn, and grow, even though I was often reluctant to do so. I learned so much about shapes, line, proportion, value, and materials, and I realized how much consideration and planning go into a single project. I loved getting to know the other students in the class and seeing their personal styles develop and show in their own projects. I think the most important thing I learned in this class is how to start allowing myself to explore possibilities, without judgment.
I loved coming to class each time because it was a chance to learn something new about life and by now we should all know, art does not imitate life, it is, in fact, the other way around. Life imitates art. As I watched myself and all my fellow classmates create and re-create concepts and ideas that were beyond our normal realms of thinking and engaging with the world around us, I was genuinely moved and inspired with each new project adventure
My main takeaway from this semester is one that I understood already at midterms: you don’t have to produce great art to be an artist; you have to be an artist to produce great art.
I only produced a couple things this semester I think are good enough to show off. Mostly, it wasn’t about what I made, but how I made it. I have better tools now, and I feel much less pressure. The combination is incredibly empowering and uplifting.
Originally I took this course because i thought it would be interesting and really cause i needed the credits. But as the semester went by I enjoyed coming to class because I discovered that I had been lying to myself by saying that I was not an artist and that I had no artistic talent. I realize that art is more that just being able to draw or paint something. I also learned not to be so critical of myself. Art is something where everything is up to interpretation and there is no set right or wrong.
Another thing I learn is that I need to stop asking weather my art is right or not because I am the artist and because I am the artist only I would know when my art work is done or right,…
This course was much more of a struggle for me than I thought it would be, however it challenged me in great way. It forced me to think outside of the box, realize that mistakes are beautiful, and that there is no right way of doing something. I noticed that everything is a process. It’s not always important to have a finished product that appears to be perfect, but it’s the in-between that is the most meaningful. This course taught me that there is a constant battle in our brains between how we perceive things to look as compared to what your eye is looking at. This class really showed me how to look at an object or image. Our perceptions can become distorted when looking at images because we are trained to think about things in a certain way.
Coming to Art 160 twice a week was a really nice mental break from my week, not because I didn’t have to use my head but because I had to use my head in a different way then I do in my other classes. The drawings we did of the chair, the boxes and finally our self portraits were difficult for me because I almost never draw but I really appreciated the projects once we were finished because they taught me the importance of value, proportion and honesty drawing with the eye. Aside from the projects themselves, I really enjoyed getting to see everyone’s individual approach to the projects and the finished product. I feel each one of us brought a piece of ourselves to each project and gave it our own personal touch. I remember during our value box critique someone said the boxes turned out so well because each one was unique to the artist and how they hope to see aesthetics develop over our time in the course. I feel that each one of us has found a skill or technique of our own just in these past few months and I think that’s really cool. This course has been so valuable because it has taken all of us, those with experience and those without, and has taught each one of us something new not necessarily about the art we make but ourselves in our process of making it.
I took this class as a distributional requirement, and it was much more difficult than I could’ve ever imagined. It took way much more time and effort to complete all the assignments with my best given effort, but it was definitely worth it. I am proud of the hard work and time I put into this class, and I do not regret taking it. I learned new art concepts, how to use new materials, and that its ok to make mistakes. All of the assignments were basically new to me and they were all different and diverse.
One thing that I have repeated over and over and remains true right now is that I have learned to trust and focus on the process, not the product. All the woulda-coulda-shoulda’s do not always matter, especially in art. I have produced some work that I am quite proud of in this class. I have been graced by the exposure of my classmates’ wonderful work as well. Some of us my have had experience in an art class before, others may not have. I don’t entirely think it matters because I believe all of us have learned a lot about themselves as people and artists.