Chris Priest, Ed. D.
Interior Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
If you can imagine it, you can create it. Chris Priest , Interior Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I’ve always been artistic, so I just assumed a creative career would be in my future. Art was interesting, but I had a fascination for design—I enjoyed pairing function with aesthetics. While I was working in construction, I pursued my interest in design, developing talents in technical illustration to help me share those concepts graphically. It’s rewarding to have my own creative ideas and also to be able to illustrate those of others.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
Sharing my professional experiences brings a sense of reality into the classroom and helps students relate the material to their future career. It’s also important to foster professional connections, maintain certifications, and join industry organizations to stay current with emerging ideas, movements, and technologies.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
Sketching assignments are a key aspect of my courses; they help students express their thoughts and develop their creativity. I urge them to sketch constantly, even outside of the classroom, and to never stop at just one sketch or think their first idea is the right solution. Creativity is problem- solving using artistic, inventive, and imaginative ideas.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
Designers don’t design in a bubble, they design for people. They to work together with a variety of specialists to develop the best design solutions. It’s important to be able to work closely with others who may have expertise in different areas, and apply all that talent to solve the problems at hand.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
If you can imagine it, you can create it. Creativity isn’t something everyone is born with. In those who are more technically minded, it can be nurtured through education, experience, and practice.
Anything else you’d like to share?
My passion is helping students discover their talents and develop their creative skills.