Last week, cartoonist/librarian Jen Vaughn invited me to contribute to the Schulz Library blog with an alumni interview. Thanks so much Jen! Here’s a little excerpt on the undergraduate class I’m teaching, or read the entire interview here!
What have you been up to since you graduated from CCS and moved?
Katherine Roy: I am teaching a new class at the Art Institute of Boston (AIB) called “Form, Content & Context,” which is basically a cross between 2D Design and Visual Thinking for undergraduate freshman in the Foundation Studies department. Each week or so we’ve done a project exploring a new element of design, including shape, line, texture, and value, soon moving on to color. My 10 students have completely different levels of artistic and concept development experience, so it’s been a challenge for me to learn how to frame the parameters for each assignment in a way that gives them a focal point, while also encouraging play. I feel like my job is really to teach how to SEE, and in return I get to revisit the way I see and make and explore through art. It’s my first time teaching at this level, after lots of experience with kids and adults, but so far it’s been incredibly rewarding.
Which assignment turned out to be your favorite?
KR: So far the texture assignment has been, I think, most successful, which is funny because it was the one I felt most uncertain about. I started off by stealing an idea from one of my drawing teachers, Jeff Fisher, who sometimes has his students wrap a commercial-sized trash can with a long piece of paper, and then the students move AROUND the model, drawing AROUND the trash can, keeping it oriented to the model while circling the room. The result is a distorted but very dynamic drawing that forces you to think about connections in space, and editing while you draw.
To translate this into a design assignment, I started by setting up a large still life in the center of the room, and had the students do two drawings on the trash cans, using paint and charcoal, as they circled the still life. From there they had to choose the one that was working the best, and then collage textures back into it (rubbings, drawn textures, etc) and incorporate value to create a completed piece. I was very pleased with some of the final pieces— you never know how students will respond to something so unconventional, but the unfamiliarity forces students to try thinking in a new way, which is exactly what (I think) Foundation Studies should be about.