Art Education Autobiography

Why I Choose to Teach Art.

The creative impulse showed itself early on in my life, not just in terms of expressing creative impulses but also in thinking creatively. Growing up as an only child, I had a very big imagination and loved to spend hours creating my own little worlds. I had an interest in making things from a very young age, whether it was baking cookies with my Grandmother, drawing maps to faraway lands, or making beaded bracelets with my best friend. In addition to loving to create, I loved to learn, a quality instilled in me by my father. My dad always had something to show me, something interesting fact to share. We would go hunting for giant Orb Weaver spiders on hot nights in early autumn, admiring the way they destroyed and created a new web every night. Seeing an Orb Weaver web covered in dew in the morning light was an especially lucky treat. Through these experiences, I learned to look for beauty and detail in everything. I was trained to notice things, to look around, to examine different perspectives, and to continually seek more.

I loved going to school through all of my years in education. I loved the structure, I loved the rituals, I loved having a perfectly organized notebook. I had a wide range of experiences with teachers from good to bad, and this has informed some of why I want to be a teacher myself. I want to pay the great experiences I had as a student forward and in some ways redeem the bad ones. Once I got to middle school and high school, my interest in art really began to blossom and take off. I would create elaborate art journals, a kind of hybrid between diary, sketchbook, and scrapbook. I started taking more art classes in and developing my techniques and skills. I was lucky enough to be able to experiment with lots of different media. Once I found out I could go to college for art, I never considered another option. Though my time in college has meandered quite a bit, I have always maintained my creative pursuits.

In 2012, I created Stardust Coyote, my nom de plume that I use to create art. Although Stardust Coyote is still in a somewhat embryonic stage, I envision great things for the future of Stardust Coyote and my personal art. I have had multiple, successful art shows in San Diego, and hope to continue to push myself to exhibit work. One of my life goals is to continue to work as an artist even after I become an art educator. Being a working artist will not only keep my artistic mind sharp, but it will bring a new level of authority to my art education practicum. Although I do not think I will ever be able to fully support myself through my art alone (although I do dream), personal expression through realized artworks will always be a huge part of my life.

When I originally came to Academy of Art University in the fall of 2009, I wanted to pursue a degree in Fine Arts. I am still firmly rooted in fine arts, which is why I enjoy the curriculum at AAU so much, but I have shifted my focus to Art Education. Working as an HR and Training manager at Madewell, a women’s clothing store, has brought out a passion in teaching in me. I come from a long line of teachers; my paternal grandfather, aunt, half-brother, and his wife are all teachers. Ironically, I never really saw it as a career path for myself until I started working my way up the corporate ladder. Through my work, I realized that I loved teaching others, I loved working with people, and that I loved helping people “get it”. I loved to provide positive feedback and encourage and empower my employees. When I returned to AAU in the Spring of 2016, I knew that I wanted to combine these two loves into the perfect career for me.

When I look back at my most memorable, positive, and truly enriching educational experiences, it has always been in an art classroom. I hope to bring this experience to others and have an impact on students’ lives through the creation of art. I hope that my teaching practice is rooted in teaching methods that are proven to work, but also embracing of new ideas. The art world has changed so much, yet we are still teaching art the same way it was taught during the Industrial Revolution. I am constantly researching new developments not only in the art that is produced, but in art criticism and aesthetics. As an future art educator, I hope to bring something new to the table in terms of the way students think about art, especially after they leave my classroom. I will continue to push myself forward as an artist as well, learning right alongside my students in some aspects. 

Needless to say, I am very excited about my future and having finally found an area of study and career path that combines things I am so passionate about. Being an artist and art educator is a perfect fit for me, and I cannot wait to get started!