The Art Institute of Portland
Creative energy gets noticed—and attracts opportunities. Annin Barrett , Fashion Instructor , The Art Institute of Portland
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
While I was working toward an art degree, I was awarded a studio space for creating art. I spent most of my time in that studio creating large paintings and drawings for a gallery show. When the show was a success, I wanted to keep pushing forward in the creative art world.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I take real-world projects and problems from advertising, interactive design, page layout, and creative typography and bring them into the classroom—along with real clients to critique student work. We also visit local design companies to look at new technologies.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
I often assign a process work book for students to fill with sketches, ideas and concepts throughout the term. It demonstrates the progress of a project from early stages to completion with full graphic renderings.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
Pulling together students’ strengths and skill sets from across all design disciplines, with each student assigned a certain task, helps flesh out the whole project as a unified whole.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
My goal for all of my students is to gain a better understanding of art and design through the context of thinking and understanding design solutions. I expect them to understand general theoretical concepts, and I encourage them to explore fine art, design history and theory so they can understand current practices in modern and postmodern media.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
Curiosity will take you places you never thought you’d go.