Vickey Bolling

Graphic & Web Design

Graphic & Web Design and Illustration Instructor
The Art Institute of Atlanta


My role here is to uplift my students so that they begin to see themselves as I do—creatives. Vickey Bolling , Graphic & Web Design and Illustration Instructor , The Art Institute of Atlanta

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

No, I never had a defining moment when it comes to creating my life in the visual arts. It has always been there, in how I see the world around me. Creating is intuitive for me. Over time my creative professional career organically evolved into my becoming a children’s book illustrator, designer, artist, and educator.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

During my career I have worked for companies like The Weekly Reader Corporation, The Walt Disney Company and Turner Publishing as well as a freelance designer. All of this industry expertise is integrated into all of my classroom teachings—from pricing, contracts, negotiations, to the entire creative process from thumbnails to print production. I share this knowledge with my students in a way that helps them formulate their own path, gain technical skills, and build a solid portfolio. This makes them highly desirable in the marketplace.

Plus, I know the pros and cons of effectively working for yourself and working in organizations. This allows me to share my personal stories and enlighten them about real world experience–showing them what working in this industry could be like. Then my students and I work collaboratively to figure out what is the best design path for them.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

With all of my assignments, I design the learning to have personal importance and meaning to the student. If they care about what they are doing, they are invested in the outcome.

How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

Whether I am teaching an entry-level software course or a portfolio class—I work individually with each student to take them to the next level in their own design abilities. With this genuine level of investment on my part into their education, the students trust that their “dream” is safe and that they allow me to push them to be the very best that is possible. We are “co-creating at its best”.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

Our students grow exponentially when they get to work together and understand the dynamics of each other's skills and talents. The opportunity to do collaborative creative thinking allows our students to improve their communication skills, their understanding of each other's creative needs, and awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses. They learn how listen and implement a group of ideas into a coherent body of work. The skills learned in these classes reflect the current industry, regardless of the student’s major.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

I want my students to understand that there are no limitations to what they can achieve. I want them to know that all they need to be successful in life is within themselves—they have the talent to succeed. If there is anything holding them back—it is how they view themselves.

Anything else?

I love what I do, I love co-creating with my students on their projects and I am grateful that they trust me to help them on their very personal journey. I see us} as equals in the creative process. My role here at The Art Institute of Atlanta, is to uplift my students so that they begin to see themselves as I do— creatives.