Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I'm not sure I've had that "defining moment," because I think of myself as someone who helps others realize their goals and potential, both through my own work and by helping students with theirs.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I give students straight talk, I bring real life clients into the classroom, and I take my students on field trips so that can actually see, touch, and smell the things our industry is made of. You can’t learn about a profession like this within the walls of a building. By experiencing those situations while in school, they learn to deal with a lot of the challenges they'll encounter once they graduate.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
In Layout class, I have my students create a book about someone from a much different place—in terms of geography, religion, society, financial status, whatever. They interview that person to learn about things they've never experienced, then combine the written interview with original imagery to create a book that documents and explores the diverse world we live in.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
In my Art Direction class I like to have students from different programs work together. By the end of the class they've all learned something about each other’s craft, and they’re better prepared to work with others in the industry.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Believe in yourself. It’ll help you succeed when you don't feel you're up to the task at hand.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
Work hard—and do it for yourself.