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Julian Alexander on Art of Studio

Last month Kwaku Alston asked if I would be interested in writing something for his blog, Art of Studio. The answer was yes, and this is what I came up with.

I’ve been passionate about art for as long as I can remember. Growing up art was a hobby, not a career option. Luckily, I had a teacher who changed all that. I took a drawing class in my first year of college. One day the teacher said she thought I’d be good at graphic design. I didn’t know what it was, but I was willing to try anything that offered the possibility of being a working artist and moving to NYC. She helped me put together a portfolio and apply to art schools. She was right.

Years later there was an open teaching position at SVA, my alma mater, and I jumped at it. After a great recommendation and some vetting, I got the job. My friend, Greg Burke and I taught typography to second and third year students. We did it as a means to offer guidance to a group of hungry designers. Surprisingly, it turned out to be a mutually beneficial arrangement. We gave the class knowledge and insight. They gave us inspiration. Our students didn’t think about budget limitations or the politics that sometimes come with ‘selling’ an idea. They did what they felt, no matter what. I remind myself of their creative freedom often.

I was naive about the teacher/student relationship. In my mind it was only a 9 month commitment. Wrong. Greg and I are friends with several of our former students and even work with a few of them. We are proud of them and are invested in them long-term. All of this is to say, the next time you cross paths with a young hungry artist who is trying to find their way, give them a few minutes. It may change both of your lives.

Posted on: July 5th, 2011 by julian No Comments