Associate Program Chair of Design
The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
Stay humble—there's always more to learn. Kenny Lantz , Associate Program Chair of Design , The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I always had an interest in many different things, and fine arts was the only way I figured out how to do all of them. Once I decided on a career doing something I love, the direction was easy—though the path was a difficult one.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
As a professional artist, my experience is one of constant problem-solving. In my opinion, the skills needed to succeed at anything in life are the same: problem-solving and communication. Another important skill I emphasize is working through a design process. I share my own process with students, and demonstrate how it helps me solve design challenges.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
One of my favorite assignments is all about process and discovery. In my advanced drawing class, we build a sketchbook from a single sheet of paper, by hand. We cut, fold, and sew-bind it. Students then pick a theme, and every drawing in that book must fit that theme. It’s very rewarding for the students to create a book that they’ve spent so much time on...they can really see the progression of thoughts and ideas.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
I’ve taught a lot of art foundation courses, which bring together students from across disciplines. It’s awesome to see how different programs tackle the same project. For instance, an animation student is way different in their approach than an interior design student. When we critique, the various students always bring a fresh set of ideas for all of us to think about.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
The most important part of my teaching philosophy—and the skill I want to impart on all my students—is the ability to problem-solve. It will get them through school and through life.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
You need to stay humble—there’s always more to learn. Anyone who thinks they’re finished learning and knows all there is to know can only begin to forget.