My principal at the time came to my classroom just as 80 of my students were finishing up their ceramic sculptures for a competition. Yes. 80! Each one had a custom wood base so there was saw dust everywhere; open cans of stains, brushes and glue were on all the tables. The smell of turpentine engulfed you upon entry and stuff was literally everywhere. My principle fawned a smile and I knew she understood the energy….but was this much mess really necessary?
That summer in an attempt to better manage damaged name brand clothes, I decided to design a cool paint shirt that kids could wear,and what better way to announce to the rest of the school that art is just messy? So naturally, I came up with:
ART IS MESSY.
GET OVER IT.
Beneath it was a cute blurb about controlled mayhem. Click here for T-shirt Info. I had the shirts made super big in bright colors. The kids loved them… So much so that they started to disappear from my classroom. I politely told my students that all they had to do was ask and I would get them their own. Then I did what any art teacher would do….I tried to figure out a way to come up with the money to afford them. I came up with the idea of printing their name or nickname on the back. It worked! They paid for their own personal paint shirt.
What began as a t shirt project for me evolved into a 12 month quest to better organize and manage myself and my classes. I taught multiple subjects and most of those are the definition of messy – painting, sculpture, and ceramics….I had to find a better way to organize my supplies, cleanup efforts, lesson binders, substitute projects, competition information, student information, etc.
Then it all changed with a diagnosis…
Medical reasons forced me leave the classroom and to approach teaching from another angle. I have a degree in Graphic Design from The University of Texas in Austin (1989) . I had a 10 year career in Environmental Graphic Design as well as my own product design business selling in 28 states. Teaching, however, is what has been the most rewarding to me. It has reshaped how I define myself as an artist-completely.
My mission as an art teacher has always been to take the student who “can’t draw” and show him he can. The majority of the students I had in my class were not the “gifted” art student so I wanted to find waysto achieve greater margins of success and I did that by breaking down everything into steps. All art can be broken down into learnable steps!
It is my sincere hope that artismessy.com will help you create an energetic, engaging, organized classroom where you will touch the lives of many. I will spend my time out of the classroom digging around and experimenting with new techniques, processes and materials so that you, the almighty, over extended, invested art teacher may work your magic in the classroom,
Treasure the journey….