Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is to encourage students to tap into their own unique artistic talent and provide them with the tools to express it. As an educator, I will help students to think critically and to be creative with new ideas. Creativity is essential to succeed in a cross-curricular interdisciplinary education. I will encourage and challenge students to master these skills. I believe in process-based learning and serving as a resource for my students in visual language, media, and art history. My goal will be to help students with the decision-making process by being an effective teacher, and instill self-motivation. This approach benefits conceptual thinkers to have the technical abilities to realize their vision and create their reality. For this reason, I base technical information on what projects are currently being thought about conceptually, encouraging my students to explore a vast variety of resources, subjects and artistic styles. 

 

As a teacher of art and design, I have two goals. The first is to provide my students with the necessary technical skills and knowledge of materials. Students will gain an understanding of the full range of media covered by the class, as well as a skill set of techniques for achieving their aesthetic goals. My second goal as a teacher is to introduce my students to the critique of visual analysis, both with regards to their own work and that of others. Students will be taught a number of artistic systems of analysis in order to judge their work in visual terms: the analysis of composition; the analysis of color theory; the elements and principles of design, etc.
 

I try provide a platform for students to understand the visual language within an art making practice. Before any lecture or demonstration I explain to my students to integrate traditional and contemporary art themes into their personal concepts, requiring a shift from mainly technique-driven training to idea-driven teaching. Introducing the practice of brainstorming as a thinking strategy, helps students generate questions, ideas, and examples and to explore a central idea or topic. Following each lecture, students will begin exercises in which they will apply what they have learned to create their own work. I want my students to establish an open dialogue between their artwork and the work of others. In addition, I understand the importance of establishing rapport with students. During a studio base course students will display their work so every participant has a work up on a wall for group discussion. Providing a guideline for students to follow, each artist will have the opportunity to explain their work to their fellow peers for a group critique. Students will describe what they see in the artwork; next they will analyze and focus on how the elements and principles have been used to organize the work. Than they will interpret what the artwork or artist is trying to communicate with his/her viewers. The final step is that students can actually express their Opinion/Judgment about the success of the work. This provides a stolid criticism for each student during his or her progress within the classroom, comprehending the information that was provided during the critique, students would have an improved evaluation regarding his or her work.

Artist Statement and Scholarly Interests

The Arts are influenced by cultural and personal experiences into a universal language that allows us to communicate within across cultures, creating emotional and thoughtful interpretation of the world. To teach the visual arts is to challenge and empower students as a means to foster knowledge to make connections with their personal perceptions. My scholarly interests lie in fostering cross-curricular interdisciplinary education within the visual arts. As a professor it is my responsibility to continue developing myself as both within the visual arts and as a mentor to my students and contributing to my artistic practice. As a Kurdish American, I’ve experienced the cultural complexities of two distinctive worlds. I have began to explore the psychological pain and conflict associated with my past, paving the road to a freedom of expression. My work takes a root in my own personal emotional distress and psychological trauma that still lies in my subconscious, where thoughts and memories are often repressed or sublimated. I portray figures etched with sorrow, struggles and the suffering of everyday life in my compositions. Often working on multiple scales, my work explores experimental mediums from Kurdish spices to oil paints to mixed media, which culminate into continuously evolving perspectives within my work.

 

Juxtaposing political situations in the Middle East, particularly in Kurdistan of Iraq and Syria. My current body of work deals with the political circumstances in Kurdistan that remain neglected to the western world, shaping our contemporary society today. I am interested in looking at war through those Western eyes, and creating fantastical Sci-Fi paintings and drawings. Through these constructed worlds, with the kitschy fantasy characters of my childhood, I explore the real world political conditions we are facing today. By constructing space into bizarre Sci-Fi worlds, landscapes and architecture becomes unrecognizable, and thus, confuses the viewer’s perception of reality. In terms of my process, I create small-scale dioramas in my studio and generate ideas from what I photograph as reference material to create my paintings and drawings. My work is set into fantastical narratives; strong undercurrents of emotion combine with murky narratives of terror, the loss and destruction and reflect a disjointed sense of unease in an unpredictable world.

 

My future academic plans include: teaching courses in foundations to advanced levels in two-dimensional drawing and painting, figure drawing/painting, color theory and practice, sculpture, installation art and contemporary theory. By the time students reach an advanced level; even towards pursuing an MFA degree, students are ready to observe topics in great depth through exploration. Professional practice also becomes essential for a successful long-term art/design career such as seeking employment opportunities in the art world, having self-directed assignments/works, developing an interest in curatorial practice, establishing a fine arts gallery or pursuing a field in Art education or Art history. Before leaving academia students will also develop a conversation/discussion, which is a significant aspect of teaching in an art setting. Being able to interact and engage in a group setting will help students in so many aspects of the art world as well as the world at large.

© by Ayad Almissouri