Interior Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Seattle
There is no shortcut, and there's no substitute for hard work. S. Joshua Brinko , Interior Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Seattle
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
When I was six, I visited an art museum in Cincinnati that had large, colorful abstract sculptures. I drew them from memory on graph paper, and my aunt bought one for five dollars. I instantly thought, wow, I can be paid for doing this! I never sold another one, but my parents encouraged me by telling me I could earn a living as an architect. Today I have my own practice. And it all started with five dollars of inspiration.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
Every single topic I introduce in class, every project I assign, is carefully paired with an example of how it relates to my professional experience. I also relate current professional challenges and give students opportunities to offer solutions. It’s all about giving them a sense of the real world.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
The design studio courses are the specialty in any design student's education. This isn’t just a class where you read a book, do homework, and take tests. It’s simulates a real design project; students evaluate actual design parameters and design a solution using models, drawings, renderings, and other presentation tools. A design studio course can turn into a full-time job for students who take it seriously, so I give them a lot of support and mentor them through the design process.
How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?
A student has never truly been "busy" until they’ve taken a design studio course. When they’re immersed in designing creative spaces, they learn what busy really is.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?
Designers rarely work in a vacuum. They each have a unique background and skill set, so working in the same room with other designers lets them learn from each other and overcome challenges—there's often someone around who’s already tried what someone else may be struggling with. I run a study buddy program that links seasoned students with newer ones. When younger students work in the same space as upperclassmen, the more experienced designers learn to mentor while the underclassmen get valuable input from peers who’ve made their way through the project at hand.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
There is no shortcut, and there’s no substitute for hard work. Dedicate yourself to your craft.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
Gain experience in every facet of the industry. If you don't know how to build something, how can you successfully design it?