My art practice alone has helped me move through difficult times to communicate complicated feelings and has given me a space to process my lived experiences. I want to share what art does for me and, in turn, share the process of making art with others. I want my students to explore art as a platform to understand the value of their lived experiences and how making art can support them in communicating their ideas. In my artwork I combine sociocultural theory and authentic learning theory with choice-based learning into my curriculum to do so.
My artist self fed into my research self, and thus both influenced my teacher self. Through my experiences, I have used art as a platform for healing and communicating, and it has helped me progress as I got older. More recently, my art has become more experiential. It is the fact that I don’t know what the result will be that excites me the most. It is mindful making, where the process of making something is more meaningful than the final product. I explored experiential art-making for the first time in 2014 when responding to a prompt to create a non-figurative self-portrait. I had no idea how to go about this, so I ended up just putting Opus 23 piano music in my ears to help me focus on the process. I had no plan written down, no words as clues, so I just rolled out the biggest paper, laid it on the floor, poured paint down, and used plastic to smear the paint around. This process was just what I needed, and the exploration of materials continues to inform my art practice.
I see myself as an explorer, an artist, and a teacher. My metaphor embodies an exploration of an unknown medium through monotype prints. Choice-based pedagogy is all about playful experience, whether it is new or known. My visual metaphor captures a playful experience, experimentation, excitement, and encouragement, all of which I will incorporate in my classroom. If it doesn’t go as planned from the start, we will keep exploring.