Virtual Visiting Artist : Phil Sanders

Last spring my dear friend Tom Spleth said to me – “there’s this guy you’ve got to meet.”  Years of friendship have taught me that I should trust Tom’s instincts, especially when it comes to people. He usually brings interesting, enlivening people into my life. He introduced me to Phil at lunch one day and I was quickly impressed by his enthusiasm for printmaking. Director of the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in NYC, Phil was kind enough to Skype with my class this past week. He gave us a quick overview of the history of the workshop, a quick glimpse at his own work, an in-depth tour of the workshop’s impressive programs, and a step by step look at printing a multiple layer lithograph.

My class enjoyed the opportuntity to see printmkaing outside of the university setting. They didn’t know that such places existed.

Let’s geek out on technology for a moment : I just video confrenced with an artist in a completely different state! He shared info and enthusiasm with my class! It was sooooo cool. Sigh…Thanks Phil.

Phil Sanders working in the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop

Teaching : What I’m learning

student Carly Bickel, drypoint, line etch and aquatint

I had an interview for a teaching fellowship today.  Each year we have to apply for the teaching jobs that they offer grad students. You can get a job teaching a foundations course like drawing, or art for non majors. Or you can be offered a position by your department, to teach say… printmaking. I was offered a printmaking job last year and could end up keeping it for next year but it’s always good to have all your bases covered. They asked me a few questions that I’ve considered but never really had the chance to articulate my thoughts on. One big one was – how does teaching effect your personal work?

Teaching printmaking for one semester has already changed the way that I approach the field of printmaking. I find myself seeking out knowledge with the intent of not only absorbing information but also digesting and disseminating it. I look at things knowing I’m going to want to share it and talk about it with someone else.  This is such a subtle shift but it has a deepening impact. I pay more attention now and I’m looking more. I’m looking at prints and their derivations with the eye of a novice and a pro. This all must be seeping into my personal work. I find that as I’m teaching I’m beginning to solidify my opinions, and those opinions also show up in my work.  I’m excited to see how teaching effects my work over a long term.