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Re: technique vs. expression


From: Larry Seiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Mar 16 2001 - 05:36:41 PST

> You cannot separate
> the artist from the personal aspect of his technique. The teacher,
> must be able to demonstrate technique in a way that recognizes the wide
> of interpretation among his students

Well...this philosophy is what kept me from getting back into the class room
a long time ago after having had the axe. The reason why at 46 years of
age, I have no retirement yet to look forward to.

Years ago...and I mean years, art teachers were to be artists. Then
diversity and pluralism feared bias would prevent a rounded exposure and
infringement of artists as teachers were slowly weeded out,
allowed to retire, and no longer hired. Teachers were to be simply
facilitators. Without expressing my personal opinions about it, performance
based art curriculum and other changes are once again seeing advantages (or
a willingness to consider...) having an artist/teacher. It seems to be
progressing without detriment to the facilitator as teacher. It is possible
for someone to be a good basketball player AND a great guitar player. It is
possible for someone to be a good artist AND a good teacher. It is possible
for someone to not box, and understand much about boxing (Howard Cosell for
example). It is possible for someone to not be actively making art, and
understand much about art.

I have my preferred working methods as an artist. I also respect it took me
20 some odd years to get there and no one gets to where I am overnight. I
have plenty of empathy to go around. As to methods...I've tried many. As
to how other artists work....I have insight. I teach "many" ways a thing
can be done....and further more, teaching is intriguing to see the
"many" ways played out over a long development of the students. I also know
what fails to work better by having mentored many artists.

When it comes to DBAE....artists as teachers can bring a great deal of
passion into art history, being aware of their own fears, phobias, efforts,
etc; I relate to Van Gogh, Sargent, Manet, Rembrandt. Not to say
facilitators cannot...but when the idea that an artist as teacher brings
something less than desireable into a classroom...I say it took about 20
years in education to show that to be myth. Meanwhile...a good many art
teachers have had their lives sadly affected by it. Artists as teachers
also understand intimately the values of aesthetics in their life...and are
great defenders of it. Not to say facilitators can't.