Casey Martin

Interior Design

Interior Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Portland

Casey Martin

Go see the world, meet new people, see new things. Casey Martin , Interior Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Portland
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I always migrated to the creative side of things, but a year into an architecture program I realized I was destined to create captivating interiors. Bringing people alive in spaces is something I strive for in every project.

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

I teach based on real-world scenarios and experiences. I want my students to feel as if every project, every class is grounded in reality. I reach out to many industry professionals so students can hear from a range of professionals—and start building relationships in the industry before they graduate.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

I teach mostly studio classes, so I spend a lot of class time working one-on-one with students. I also think that discussions and examples of real-world projects is a fantastic way to learn. I often bring in examples of projects I’m working on so they can see the work in progress.

In what way do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

I’m always pushing students to go further, posing questions so they can find the answers themselves. I encourage them to talk to their peers and ask the hard questions—that’s the best way for them to learn.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

Collaboration is a huge part of the design process. We can’t solve problems alone. I teach many group-project classes as well as cross-listed classes with Industrial Design students. It’s all about blending ideas from many different disciplines and working together to create a solution.

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

The world is changing, and no one does just one thing anymore. Be flexible in what you can offer, always work hard, and be prepared.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

Take every vacation day you have. Go see the world, meet new people, see new things. As creatives, we need to resupply our creative minds. We need that escape and that inspiration—and travel is, in my opinion, the best way to do that.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I grew up in the Middle East, and one of the things I love most about teaching here is the diversity.