Fashion Marketing & Design Instructor, The Art Institute of Phoenix
The Art Institute of Phoenix
Don't simply do enough to get by—that's not for the seriously creative. Dapzury Valenzuela , Fashion Marketing & Design Instructor, The Art Institute of Phoenix
, The Art Institute of Phoenix
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I got involved in the layout and digital design of my high school yearbook, taking photos, interviewing students, and organizing information. The moment I started using Adobe ® Illustrator ® , I knew I wanted a creative career where I could express my ideas.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I treat my students as clients, and my clients as students. I try to make the classroom experience as real-world as possible. Our creative team meets to share ideas, identify tasks, and determine milestones and deadlines. Creative executions are presented, revised, resubmitted, and eventually completed. Project management is used to keep track of each member’s progress. It’s all about challenging and pushing everyone to do their best.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
In my upper level Portfolio class, students prepare their graduating trade show displays. It’s a pretty stressful time, so I work one-on-one with them to motivate and help them stay focused and positive. Being flexible and persistent is something I strive to instill in each of my grads. I often share examples from my own experience where I was able to turn challenges into opportunities to find new ways to solve problems.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?
Team projects help students build emotional intelligence. Creative people take great pride in their work, and collaboration helps them learn to process the feedback and critique that can help them become better designers. They learn to keep an open mind and consider others’ opinions—and defend their own.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Think positively. If you want to become a successful creative professional, you need to think like one. Read books about them, join organizations they belong to, and produce work that’s on par with theirs. Finally, keep a positive mental attitude to help you get through challenges.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
Over-deliver; Go above and beyond what’s expected of you. Don't simply do enough to get by—that’s not for the seriously creative. Be the first at the office and the last to leave.
Anything else you’d like to share?Being able to work in industry and share that experience in the classroom is the best of both worlds.