It all started with a messy sink….
My principal at the time came to my classroom just as 80 of my students were finishing up their ceramic sculptures for a competition; Each one had a custom wood base so there was saw dust everywhere, stains, brushes and glue were on all the tables. The smell of turpentine engulfed you upon entry and stuff was literally everywhere. BUT WE WERE MAKING GREAT ART! She smiled and I knew she understood the energy….but was this much mess necessary?
That next summer in an attempt to better manage my mess, I decided to design a cool paint shirt that kids could wear to protect their clothes, and what better way to announce to the rest of the school that art is just messy? I came up with: Art is Messy. Get over it. Beneath it was a cute blurb about controlled mayhem. 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 all art teachers 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 paint shirt. Or so I thought….they were ordering them in sizes for regular tshirts that could be worn to school, not to paint in. I discovered that Art is messy. Get over it. was more than a goofy paint shirt – it was a connection for these kids. A belonging, if you will, to art.
What began as defense mechanism for me evolved into a 12 month quest to better organize and manage myself and my class. I always teach multiple subjects and most of those are the definition of messy – painting, sculpture, ceramics….I had to find a better way to organize my supplies, cleanup efforts, lesson binders, substitute projects, competition information, student information….and don’t even get me started on organizing my desktop!
Then it all changed with a diagnosis…
Long story short, medical reasons have forced me to approach teaching from another angle. Teaching came 3rd after a degree in Graphic Design from The University of Texas in Austin led me to a career in Environmental Graphic Design, which led me to create my own product design business. Teaching has been the most rewarding personally 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”, or sculpt, or paint, and show him he can. I was not a gifted art student. I had to learn and relearn everything. The majority of the students I have are not the gifted art student so I wanted to find a way to achieve greater margins of success and I did that by breaking down everything. All art can be broken down into steps.
Hopefully 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 up new artists, experimenting with new techniques, processes and materials and create fun lessons for you, the almighty, over extended, invested art teacher.
Enjoy the journey….