Graphic & Web Design
Foundations Department Instructor
The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
An artist creates to communicate. Who better to communicate to than the next generation of artists? Honoria Starbuck , Foundations Department Instructor , The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I started to become a creative professional when my Uncle Laddie taught me to paint when I was 6 years old.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I always bring my professional experience into the classroom. Specifically, as an Advisory Board Member of SXSW EDU and SXSW Interactive I am able to bring up-to-the-minute industry news and context to my classes. Staying current is crucial so they really benefit from this.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?
In one of my classes, I assign a professional development presentation that I call “Tell Me About Your Work.” Students are asked to show five or more examples of their best work and present it to a fellow classmate who is acting as an employer or investor who could be interested in working with you. They are to express their personal interests and explain the style and strength of their work. This is something that almost every student will have to do in their future careers, so learning how to present themselves and their work articulately is critical.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?
At Ai, students are encouraged to develop a style of critique that focuses on interpretation and analysis rather than evaluation. Through sharing interpretations of stories, meanings in artwork and the analysis of techniques and tools, a trusting learning community is built. This opens up the critical exploration of multiple solutions to creative challenges.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
The most important thing for my students is to gain confidence both in their work AND in their ability to articulately communicate about complex aesthetic and logistical challenges.
My mission is to live and to share a deeply creative life. The “live” part of my mission is being an active and engaged artist in the world. The “share” part of my mission is teaching and facilitating a dynamic community of learners.
An artist creates to communicate. Who better to communicate to than the next generation of artists? Passing insights, inspirations, and techniques from one generation to the next is one of the most rewarding parts of my creative teaching life. I enjoy enabling students to create their own understanding.
I not only teach, I also learn from my students by being open and respectful of students’ creative processes. I love my job.