Seth Eisen Teaching Statement

My teaching style is steeped in a life-long study of visual art and performance technique combined with my interest in improvisation and contemplative practice. Through the marriage of technique and creative play, I aim to create a safe haven for taking creative risks, leading students through a creative process of artistic development and personal unfolding.

My work as a teacher is about finding ways to broaden human perspectives by offering students opportunities to contemplate social, political and psychological realities. My aim is to incite dialogue and create a community of diverse perspectives. I teach two branches of activism– one that is at service to the individual and community through socially engaged work and one that works towards the expansion of the collective imagination through image making and the creative process.

The primary goals for me as a teacher are:

  • to discover with my students innovative ways to engage in creative inquiry
  • to cultivate opportunities to take creative risks by releasing inhibitions and redirecting internalized criticism
  • to awaken the senses and encourage the intuitive instincts
  • to instigate social discourse and creative practice that foster social change

My students in turn challenge me to be a better listener, an empathic witness and an engaged citizen through the challenges and successes they bring to our creative dialogue. Together we teach each other about the infinite ways we evolve as humans and to live more fully through our work as artists.

My Courses:

Critique and the Creative Process is an ongoing exploration and review of student artwork through discussion, reading, writing, and in and out of class exercises. We will work towards deepening your work by developing techniques that help stimulate new work and gain perspective on the content, context, media and methods of your art practice. This class will require a high degree of risk-taking, self-disclosure, willingness to be innovative and authentic, thereby increasing confidence, self-esteem, and autonomy as an artist.

We will engage the community of artists we build in class in an interactive dialogue about our work to develop a common language and discourse about the creative process. Students will develop critical skills in observation and expression of their ideas through research and writing about their own work and the work of their peers.

Finally, students will explore connections to their work in relation to the larger art community, professional practices and a receptive audience. Students will be working toward a finished body of work and the professional presentation of this work through verbal, written and visual means.

In this class we will explore one of the oldest forms of expression on the path of becoming fluent in graphic, visual communication. It is the motor behind many forms of artistic expression and a visual language with the potential to shift how we see the world. Learning to draw is a physical experience of creating a multidimensional space on a two dimensional surface. Through deep observation we reveal the difference between looking and seeing by learning to draw both from life and the inner worlds of our imagination.

Through demonstration, discussion and practice, the course will explore and develop the range of basic skills and techniques necessary to drawing such as quality of line, light theory i.e. value and contrast, form, mass, composition, and perspective. We will study the human form, landscape, architecture and still-life in indoor and outdoor class projects, taking advantage of amazing resources in our local, natural environment.

We will work with a range of drawing materials and surfaces to discover new ways of expressive mark-making. We will make thumbnails drawings and sketches and refine our drawings in both traditional and more experimental styles. The class will help to cultivate opportunities to take creative risks by releasing inhibitions and redirecting internalized criticism. I encourage students to trust intuitive instincts by investigating their own expressive drawing methods through the development of a personal style.

Part of our study will be to look at historical and contemporary Master Drawings through videos, texts, and fieldtrips. We will make a special visit to the Achenbach Collection of the Palace of the Legion of Honor for a private viewing of many master drawings and a demonstration on their conservation. Students will develop online resources and a group website of our best work.
The Continuing Drawing Class will meet for weekly critiques and have weekly projects that are specially tailored to their level.
The Special Projects section of the class is an independent study for more advanced students and will meet weekly with the instructor to discuss and develop individually initiated projects leading to a cohesive body of work by the end of the term.

Three Dimensional Design is an exploration of the concepts related to sculptural work or work experienced in three-dimensional space. The class will include the creation of new artwork in several different media, in and out of class, towards the development of a portfolio. The student artwork will be regularly reviewed through discussion and critique. Lectures, fieldtrips, videos, reading, and writing will supplement and support our study. We will work towards deepening your understanding of three-dimensional work by developing techniques that help stimulate new artwork. The class projects will help you gain perspective on the media, methods, content and context of three-dimensional practice, including references to contemporary art and art history. This class will require a degree of risk-taking and a willingness to be innovative in creative problem solving. The class aims at increasing your confidence as an artist whether you are new or returning to three-dimensional work.