Chris Thompson

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Great work takes time, energy, and commitment; great careers take a life of great work. Chris Thompson , Instructor , The Art Institute of Houston
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

Shortly after the peak of rock and roll and muscle cars, I took apart my dad’s drill and put it back together successfully. Seeing the worn gears smeared with grease and the dull glint of the copper wire was a pivotal moment in my life; I realized I liked working with my hands and figuring things out, which ultimately led me to sculpture, painting and drawing.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession

Almost everything I teach is a product of my knowledge and experience as a professional artist. Success and failure are the yin and yang that make us the professionals that we are, and being an artist and art student is a life of both. My goal is to help the students understand how to succeed as well as fail. Without failure, there is no learning.

Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

I believe all of my assignments exemplify my approach to teaching. Each project builds on the previous with new knowledge and skills. I teach the theory that each piece you do should be better than the last, and the bar raises with each project.

What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

Collaboration in my classes occurs during the critiques and discussions of previous work. The class analyzes each piece for its strengths and weaknesses and feedback is given. The students do their own projects, but with guidance from their peers.

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

The number one reason students do not succeed in my classes is time management. This is true for any creative career. Great work takes time, energy, and commitment; great careers take a life of great work.

Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?

I am a sculptor, printmaker, sketcher, doodler, experimental musician, puppeteer, father, husband, cyclist, adventurer, furniture builder, and hoarder of power tools to name a few things. I am in the artist collective Sketchy Neighbors, and the experimental music project Puppy Eyes.