Lobuzova, Y. (2020). Personal History of Art Education Timeline.
It all started in the early nineties. I was a picky eater, but I was never a picky artist. The earliest memory I have of doing art as a child is sitting behind a table in my booster chair ready to have lunch. I was being fed soup by my paternal grandmother, but little did she know that I did not agree to have soup for lunch. Her compromise with me was to give me drawing paper and pencils; and, while I drew, she fed me my lunch. I vividly remember drawing a row of five long-legged people, but I cannot recall the reason for the strange proportions. If I tried to duplicate this drawing today, as an adult, the final product would not consist of the childhood whimsy that I remember my drawings to have. Outside of the lunch drawings, I remember my mother’s paintings hanging on the walls of our home. These images were not framed, they were not for sale, but wonderful enough to be displayed for us and home visitors. Her skills were not taught in school, but she gladly painted for her own self-expression. Little did I know, that all of my creative juices are attributed to her.
My next memory filled with fruitful artwork consists of being a second grader and not being able to communicate verbally with my classmates because I did not speak English. I was constantly expressing myself through my drawings of early morning cartoons that were constantly on replay on television. I learned English by watching the classic Disney VHS films on repeat, and while watching these films, I also drew the characters from these movies that were so vividly engraved into my head. The doodles of Powderpuff Girls and the Little Mermaid characters filled my childhood notebooks. I remember teaching my second-grade friends how to draw these figures as well. I enjoyed seeing my classmates’ eyes light up after I taught them to draw these figures. That was my form of communication. Language barrier? No problem, because there is always art.
Starting in middle school and leading into high school, my school agenda was filled with doodles. No longer were cartoons a priority. Constant scribble-scrabble energized the pages that were filled with boring year-long homework assignments. While in middle school, I also took a wood shop class because I was always good at making things with my hands. My memory gets foggy as to why I did not take an actual art class during those years, but the next four years of high school pushed my artistic endeavors forward.
Furthermore, in ninth grade, I took the basic art class that contained a variety of art projects: self-portraits, printmaking, drawing, painting, and Papier Mache. It was exciting to start using my hands again to create art in a constructive setting. In tenth grade, I took ceramics, but creating three-dimensional sculptures did not drive me wild. I knew from the beginning that, for me, creating woodwork and sculpture were not as intriguing as two-dimensional art. Then came the glorious year where experimentation went beyond what I was expecting in a high school classroom. I joined the magnet art program and that is when I began to practice art I truly enjoyed. In eleventh grade, I discovered oil painting, charcoal, en plein air painting, and the idea of experimentation. My teacher pushed us to draw to music, use mixed media in our designs, and create using unique materials such as joint compound and wood. Not many teachers are this memorable, but I still bring his philosophies to my own teachings every day. I constantly embody his mentally and try to make my own classroom as exciting as his was for me.
There are many encouraging lessons that I learned which I apply to my own classroom every day. The magnet art teacher encouraged us to constantly submit work for art contests and publications. In high school, my artwork was featured in the school newspaper, the yearbook, and school art and writing magazine. As I am the yearbook coordinator at the school I teach in, I make it my ultimate goal to feature great student artists in the yearbook for that year. I also encourage my student to constantly apply to local and national contests in order to get exposure. Back in high school, the instrumental art teacher also orchestrated a one-night student exhibit in an art gallery in the Miami Design District where parents and friends of those exhibiting art were welcome to view the showcase. It was an impressive sight to see my artwork on the walls among others that were extremely talented. Now as an art teacher, I gather my gifted students and ask them to participate in our end of the year art auction to raise money for our school. My art teacher also tried to expose us to us much art as possible, and dedicated time for us to visit Art Basel in order to get exposure to the world of contemporary art. As an art teacher myself, I enjoy taking my students to local art museums so that they can get similar eye-opening experiences.
In college, I took a variety of art classes that all proved to be useful in my art journey. I once again experimented with three-dimensional design, figure drawing, art history, and graphic design. My graphic design teacher was just as much an inspiration as my high school art teacher. My graphic design teacher engraved in my mind the idea of creating art and design for the improvement of society. Her idea of designing for good is still what drives me to create my own artwork. I enjoy participating in art auctions for local organizations and donating my artwork to raise awareness and money for people in need. It is one thing to have an art talent and create art for aesthetic purposes but is another to take your talent and embrace it to help others. This professor went above and beyond, as well, to create an exhibit and a small booklet publication to display the artwork of her students who were designing for humanitarian organizations.
After graduating college, I participated in a graphic design internship, but I soon realized practicing graphic design in a corporate setting was not for me. I wanted to help people, I wanted to teach people, and I wanted to create artwork that was more than just for monetary purposes. While primary and secondary education is where I started, I see myself teaching in a post-secondary educational setting. It is a very empowering feeling to have come full circle from being a student to becoming a teacher and embracing the power to challenge and push the creativity of others.