Julie A. Gilberg
Graphic & Web Design
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
Your first idea is rarely your best idea. Julie A. Gilberg , Foundations 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 started drawing at age five, and I’ve never stopped. As I learned more about art, I became more passionate about printmaking and graphic design. Those who taught me about art inspired me to get into education.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
Whenever I give a student feedback, I share examples of how he or she might use a concept like texture in a video game or in a interior space to make it more realistic. I also inform students about professional groups and forums, so they can learn about their career field and start making connections.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring—and how do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
One of my favorite assignments in Design Fundamentals is formal symmetry design. I ask students to create designs using radial symmetry and consider space in the composition. I try to push them to do things they might not think of by changing their compositions in Photoshop during the video critiques. My goal is to create autonomous learners. I challenge them during my critiques so they’ll challenge themselves later.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?
Although there are no group projects in my classes, students collaborate by critiquing each other’s work, just as they’ll do later in the workplace. Teamwork also helps create a sense of community in the classroom. Although students are separated by hundreds of miles, critique and discussion help them get to know one another and learn to work together.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Robert Frost once said, "What we do in college is get over our little mindedness. To get an education, you have to hang around until you catch on." My job, then, is to help students "catch on" and function on their own. Students need to be autonomous learners who think critically and question everything.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
I tell students to keep experimenting and playing with their art. Your first idea is rarely your best idea. The more you experiment and re-think your artwork, the better.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I enjoy connecting with students and helping them grow as artists.