The Art Institute of Houston
No matter which niche or facet of the field students may enter, design is about problem solving. Michael Bulsiewicz , Instructor , The Art Institute of Houston
M.F.A., Communication Design, Texas State University
B.F.A., Graphic Design, State University of New York - Fredonia
Advertising and graphic design experience since 1996 in increasingly responsible creative roles: Art Director, Schlumberger; Creative Director, Texas Lutheran University; Senior Graphic Designer, Texas State University; Senior Graphic Designer, Mirror Show Management; Senior Graphic Designer, RES Exhibit Services; Art Director, Spoon Exhibit Services; Graphic Designer, ExhibitGroup/Giltspur. Awards include Silver Case Award, Special Campaign/Magazine Periodical for Texas Lutheran University; Gold Addy Award, Direct Mail Campaign for the EF Group; EDPA Award, TS2 Multi-Level Promotional Campaign for RES Exhibit Services; Exhibitor Special Merit Award, Design for Eastman Kodak Company, Cineon; District and Regional Gold Addy Awards, Exhibit Design for Walt Disney Company's World Media Expo. Supporting member of the American Institute of Graphic Artists (A.I.G.A.).What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I knew I wanted to work as a creative professional in grammar school, when I had the privilege of having a retired professional cartoonist, Mr. Button, as my art teacher. He showed me how art can be as much about problem-solving as it is about personal expression, and sparked a lifelong interest in the arts.
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?
As an industry veteran, I try to instill the values of a strong work ethic, critical thinking skills, and craftsmanship with my students. No idea is a sacred cow, and the process of design has no shortcuts.
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?
A class assignment that best reflects my approach to design education is in the systems design approach inherent in developing a Pictogram series. As students initially digest the project challenge, they either think it will be easy or impossible, and the tables usually flip for each of those preconceived notions. The confident soon understand the adversity, and the meek soon embrace the challenge. This project is the great equalizer, and I love to see the growth in all of my students and help them through the process.
What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?
Collaboration is critically important in the creative industry, and is critical for students to be successful in their design education. Once students understand not only the importance of sharing ideas, but understanding how interdependent each person can be in the creative process, they understand the idea of strength in numbers. When each student brings their own unique perspectives and life experiences to bear, well-rounded student outcomes occur.
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?
Ultimately, having good habits in the classroom directly translates to valuable employees in the field. Being dependable and living up to your commitments are the most important virtues to succeed, both in the classroom and in the field. You can have the best portfolio in the class, but if one is not reliable, ultimately it will be to one’s detriment. No matter which niche or facet of the field students may enter, design is about problem solving. Keep your eye on the prize and never lose sight of the creative goal to which you are assigned.
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‘m honored to join the faculty at The Art Institute of Houston, and hope to make a difference in the lives of my students. In many ways, it’s exciting to experience design fundamentals for the first time…again…through the eyes of my students.