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General  Principles

Class is a pool

In this class, we’re in a pool together. The things we do influence each other; the waves of our actions, words, work and the subsequent residue and consequences of all those things resonant against all of us. If you do something, the waves ripple out to me and I notice; hopefully the things I do ripple out to y’all and you notice them. We are cultivating a group dynamic; a vibe so to speak.

Although as your instructor, there’s a certain level of authority vested in me, we are all responsible for maintaining and cultivating said vibe. If something’s going on, let’s talk about it. If the class isn’t working, let’s figure out a way to make it work.

The class is by nature fluid and you have the ability to influence this fluidity, take advantage of this. Similarly, realize that you may be influencing the class without trying and that your inaction also has an effect on the class.

Do not pee pee in the pool. We all can see.

Tea & Misery

On a related note, while I love tea in a general sense, and any class we are in together may not be devoid of tea-spilling of some kind, please be aware that commiserating can help people bond, but it can also still ultimately produce misery (that’s kind of a corny sentence but I like it ︎). The point being, if you have problems specifically with me, I’m ready to take the hit, I’m ready for criticism. If I’ve (hopefully) created an environment where spilling tea is happening, it should be one where you can let me know what issues you have with me.

(this is a joke please, hit me only figuratively)

Participation is paramount.

In all of my classes, participation will be a significant portion of your grade. There are several reasons for this:
    • We have a very small and precious amount of time together, let’s take advantage of it.
    • Mixing grading & subjectivity is difficult.
    • You might not be “hitting your stride” in your work despite your best efforts (ain’t nothing wrong with that by the way).
    • Learning a new skill or tool & being creative with it at the same time is difficult.
Because of this participation can help your grade, and your work. The easiest and most immedate way to participate is to talk; ask questions and for clarification, feedback, contribute to critique. If you’re feeling uncomfortable about talking or think of something after the fact you can communicate in any way that is comfortable: set up an appointment, email, text, call, message me through discord, skype, whateva. 

Failure is a resource.
No matter how much I love or care about you as a student and/or human being, excuses can be frustrating. Mainly I want to experience your work, the class needs to see your work and what you’re about and comment on it, and I want to see how you and the class as a whole grow and progress. Additionally, your work and how you approach it, help me gauge how I am doing.

The point here, is that while there are legitimate reasons you would not have work ready for class, or be able to be in class, I cannot grade an excuse. Rather than spiral into a zone of shame, or beating yourself up about the quality of your work, or whatever you may have going on, make sure that you are taking screenshots of interesting moments in your work, that you’re scanning your sketches, that you save versions of directions that you totally scrap.

Treat failure as an opportunity to grow and not as your enemy. Use it as an opportunity to ask your peers or me how they can help, for feedback (I’m ready to give you feedback whenever). Read The Queer Art of Failure, if you want a more eloquent re-examination of failure.

This is not a math class.

There are (almost always) no wrong or right answers or outcomes for a given assignment, but you have to do a bit of aesthetic & conceptual spelunking to figure that out. Some of that adventure you have to embark on yourself, and you have to do it without permission and apologize afterwards.

Let me be absolutely clear here, I do actually like math, but I use this metaphor for the following reasons. 
    • Don’t plagiarize ︎︎︎ I shouldn’t have to say this. This violates the sanctity of the implicit agreement when you are a part of this class. Few things make me truly angry, this pisses me off. You can copy math homework and get the same answers but please do not do yourself the disservice of plagiarizing work in an art/design context.
    • Time ︎︎︎While simply doing a project for a longer amount of time does not make it better; work that is generally “good” will have some proportionality to work that has time applied to it. The main takeaway here is please do not expect to be able to complete an assignment satisfactorily in the afternoon, a couple hours before class. 
    • A lack of concrete answers, does not mean a lack of structure ︎︎︎
      A lot of my assignments will have some level of openended-ness but within a given framework. We should not be looking at 20 versions of the same thing. If you feel lost within this please communicate that to me while the assignment is in progress and while we can talk about it. 

We’re (hopefully) all grown here.

This is mostly to say the following things; you do not need to raise your hand, you don’t need to talk “academically,” all the time, and you can say swores if you want. Please respect and do not abuse these privileges; don’t disappear from class early, do your own work, being able to say shit freely does not mean that is how you evaluate the work of your peers or say slurs. Respect your peers, leave space for other people to contribute; read the room. 

Things I’m working on

So teaching is hard. Being a person is hard. I’m trying to be self-aware but I am trying to not let it get in the way and trying to be the most myself that I can be; that may not be for you and that’s okay and you don’t have to be silent about it. That being said, here’s some stuff I am working on currently. Let it also be known, that I am marking these things to work on them and not because I want to innoculate myself from being critical and improving upon them where and when I can.

    • I’m trying to reduce my “chillness” ︎︎︎ I’ve gotten feedback which I tend to agree with that I am too “chill” or “nice.” My solution to this is not to be “mean” but just know that I’m working on calling on people more to let less folks slip through the cracks. The other component of this is that I assume you are working a certain amount in a class that is not always the case, and I’m going to work to make sure you are accountable for your responsibilities in the class relative to my expectations.

    • I sometimes say “dude” / “bro” / “guys”︎These are not gendered to me (that is to say I’m not going to say something like dudette), the first two started as a satirical thing that I think is sometimes unclear is ultimately a joke. If this bothers you please let me know.
    • I say “like” and “um” a bunch ︎︎︎ If you’re at Purchase Bill made me hyperaware of how much I say like. I think he meant it in a kind way, but I’m just super aware of it now. I also sometimes just collect my thoughts with “...ums.” I sometimes am “consciously” using more likes because it is how I talk and I’m trying to not filter my language through “academic-ness.” If this is not professional to you; that’s like...your opinion, but don’t let it stop you from investing in the class.

    • I curse sometimes ︎︎︎I will inevitably curse in class. The classroom is a fluid, protean space and I often have to oscillate, or code switch between “International Art English,” the linguistic lexicons of (graphic) design, animation or typography, the tone of an instructor who is simulating some version of a professional environment, someone who cares about your development as a designer of graphics, and just a regular-ass user of colloquial language who wants to talk about aesthetically interesting things. Somewhere in that process I may slip into vernacular, which may involve cursing. If that makes you uncomfortable or is “wrong” to you for some reason please let me know. FWIW, “success” in the professional side of my life has occured when I can form genuine relationships with clients and colleagues. This isn’t directly proportional to cursing, but has some relationship to colloquial language.

    • School gets me hype/I forget breaks ︎ I get excited for school in such a way that I don’t think about taking breaks. I try to read the room, but if you’re needin’ a break please bring it up. Note that with COVID/virtual reality, I’m trying to take frequent breaks as “sitting is (supposedly) the new smoking”  and to reduce possible eye strain or ear fatigue.

Please try to review these with some regularity, I will try to re-examine how a given class is applying them throughout the semester.

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