Joe Pastor, MFA


Styles change. Tools change. Software is constantly being updated or made obsolete. But art principles remain. Joe Pastor, MFA , Foundations Instructor , The Art Institute of California—Inland Empire, a campus of Argosy University
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

In my case, it was a gradual process of drawing, looking at art books, drawing some more, hearing stories about artists, and taking a class or two. The more I learned about art and artists the more curious I became. Eventually, I realized that it was what I wanted to do, what I wanted to be. Even today, the more I learn, the more I want to learn.

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

I share my real-world experiences and the challenges I’ve faced in the industry. Very few of us have any idea what to expect out there, so we need to be adaptable and develop the core skills that help us find solutions. We have to be able to learn what employers and clients expect from us.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching, mentoring, and pushing your students beyond their own perceived limits?

When I was a student I learned a lot by watching the different ways my peers solved problems. In my Design Fundamentals class, students can see their classmates’ work up close during critiques. They share fresh ideas, they see classmates do things they didn't know were possible, and sometimes even compete with each other. It's group learning, and it's rich.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

None of us knows everything. Students working together relate more closely to each other, and are in a unique position to come up with new ideas and approaches. Often, we see students who think of things we didn't think of, and we’re inspired to do better because we want to improve our art. We share common interests, and that inspires a sense of community.

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

Styles change. Tools change. Software is constantly being updated or made obsolete. But art principles remain. Learn those principles.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m committed to helping any student in my class. I have my own skill set and professional experiences, and I work to impart those to students. I stress principles, because even as philosophies, history and styles change, they’re constant.