David Roland Rodriguez

David Rodriguez HS Color

Critiques throughout the design process allow students to see and look beyond the usual answers. David Roland Rodriguez , Adjunct Faculty , The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

The defining moment in my life that pushed me towards a creative field was when I was given the opportunity to help paint a wall during my high school year. This was for the 1991 Festival of the Arts in Oklahoma City. My high school was one of the schools that were selected to “restore” an abandoned building wall. The opportunity to tell a visual story that helped create a boundary and a focal point allowed people to see the wall as a canvas versus a “tagged” wall.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

During the day I am a Graphic & Web Designer, so being an Adjunct Faculty for the Graphic & Web Design program I bring a vast amount of experience to our students. Using real-world projects helps students not only understand fundamentals, but also deal with time constraints and production issues. Not only focusing on how the project looks on computer, but how does it look as a finished piece.  To understand that not only is the overall design important, but how the final piece is produced. How does the finished piece feel in your hands; was the right paper chosen, should we have used a spot varnish, why is my paper cracking on the folds and I did not see this during the press check. By simply introducing & discussing these topics in class helps students understand the challenges in the field.

Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

In my digital imaging class, projects are not only centered on building their skills within the program. They help student’s explore visual solutions to the project. Critiques throughout the design process allow students to see and look beyond the usual answers.  Thus, allowing for creative freedom to explore and develop a unique solution for their projects.

What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

Collaboration helps students feed of each other’s ideas and knowledge. Allowing a vast amount of communication amongst the students within different disciplines helps them verbalize their ideas. This brings about a level of refinement within their designs.  

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

That everything design has potential. Yet, you need to push yourself out of the mold to create visually stunning pieces, because your competition is sitting right next you.