Jessica Newman

Jessica Newman

Have a passion for drawing and design. Jessica Newman , Interior Design Instructor , The Art Institute of California—San Diego, a campus of Argosy University

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I always knew I’d be an artist. I've been drawing my entire life. It just seemed like a natural and obvious fit.

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

When I first meet students, I show them my portfolio so they can get a sense of my work and who I am as an interior designer. I’ve worked in large firms, mid-size firms, small firms, and as a freelancer. So I talk about interior design from many points of view to give the students an idea of which type of environment they’d like to work in.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

In my Sketch and Ideation class, I begin each session with a 30-minute drawing. We have two cups—one labeled “spaces,” the other “styles.” The space cup is filled with slips of paper with different types of interior spaces written on them...penthouse living room, exterior courtyard, etc. The styles cup features different motifs like industrial and art deco. Students choose one slip from each cup, then we draw the space and style combination. This exercise helps them in two important ways. First, the only way to get better at drawing is to draw; second, it helps shift their attitude away from focusing only on the outcome of a particular drawing.

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

In Hospitality Design, we team up with Culinary Capstone students, who come up with an original concept for a restaurant in an international location, including a "bank-ready" business plan. They then pair up with Interior Design students, who work with them to design the space and build a model. The project is capped off with a celebration during the portfolio show, complete with samples from the restaurant's menu.

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

Have a passion for drawing and design.

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

Take advantage of as many internship opportunities as you can while you’re here. It’s a great way to see where your skills fit in the industry and get the kind of experience you can’t get in a classroom.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I'm a practicing artist who paints cityscapes.