This page is an overview of my experience as a teacher as well as highlighting some accomplished students.
I started teaching at the post secondary level at the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media in 1997. I was 23 years old.
AIMM was a 1-year trade school when I initially won a scholarship to go there. I completed their 1-year program in 6 months, and was subsequently asked to teach.
While there I began working as a freelance musician and a freelance videographer. In the process of learning to make video for a wide variety of clients (Timberland Shoes, Foot Action, Atlanta-Hartsfield Airport, the Grammys, etc). I learned a great deal about animation and graphic design.
Eventually I completed a BM and MM at Belmont University in Nashville while commuting to Atlanta for production work (I completed my undergrad at Belmont in 2 years, and my MM in 2 years). Then I completed an MFA in Communication Art (Sequential Art) at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 3 years (I took one year of undergrad art courses before being admitted to the MFA program).
While in school for my MM I accepted a full time adjunct position at the Art Institute of Atlanta (as well as a part time position at Vanderbilt U in Nashville). I was hired to teach as full time faculty in Audio Production at AiA in 2008, I began teaching in their Animation department in 2012. I stayed at AiA until 2015. Since then I have taught at Boston Bible College, Kirkland Community College, The Art Institute Online, and now I teach at Johnson University in Knoxville TN. I also work with Shawn Crystal, former head of the Sequential Art Department at SCAD, on an online instructional platform called “Inkpulp Instruction” where we do long form instructional videos with high profile comic book artists.
“I see myself as a digital artist/storyteller.”
Classes I have taught include:
Music Theory • Ear Training • Jazz Performance • Styles • Improvisation • Audio Recording • Mixing • Mastering • Sound Design • Audio Post Production • Interactive Audio
Some people will look at this and think I’m all over the map, and I can’t possibly be any good at all this. To some extent you would be right. I’m not going to pretend I’m as good of a bassist as people who specialize, but I see myself as a digital artist/storyteller, so everything fits those parameters (and I’m not a bad bassist). I’m also an ink and watercolor artist, which are the physical mediums I use to inform my digital artwork. I play a variety of folk instruments to inform my digital sound work (upright bass, acoustic guitar, tenor banjo, and mandolin).
At Johnson I am the only digital art teacher, and I started all their digital art programs.
Most of the places where I have worked the digital art programs have been very commercially oriented. I would like to do more art-driven work in the future, but for now, the programs where I’ve taught have enforced this commercial mindset.
Here is a video made by one of my students highlighting work they and their classmates have done since I arrived in 2019. This video was made in Spring of 2021, and represent at least 8 projects from various students.
Here are some additional Graphic Design Projects by various students:
Ariel Murphy produced this simple packaging template in My Graphic Art and Design Processes course, Spring 2021, which is about packaging design and product photography.
This is a magazine cover and article created by Elina Nelson in my Graphic Design II course, Fall 2021, which is all about publication design.
Angela Dye Created this poster in illustrator in my Graphic Design I course, Fall 2021.
An animation student of mine from the Art Institute of Atlanta created this 3D printed sculpture using Zbrush
Another student at the Art Institute created these images for my portfolio class. I have taught portfolio for a range of disciplines.
Evelyn Howard produced this in my typography class, Spring 2021.
This is an informational pamphlet Lindsay Jones created in my Graphic Design I class, Fall 2021. I have the students do this project specifically to learn bleed and folding before they get into more complex designs.
This is an exercise I have my Graphic Design II students do to experiment with gradients in illustrator.
This is an animation and live action project Elina Nelson did in my 2D Animation course, Fall 21.
Reagan Marx created this animation in my Advanced Animation Class, Fall 2021, by combining some drone footage with a Blender animation. Composited in After Effects.
This is sort of a bizarre piece and it isn’t finished in this format, but let me explain it. I assigned 2 of my Music Technology students (Sam Cunningham and Andrew Reid) to create an EDM version of a Christmas tune for our Christmas festival at Johnson U. I then had an animation student (Nathanael Timbs) create a puppet that would auto respond to the synth vocals created by the Music tech students. I had another student, Reagan Marx, create a lyric video with this star texture, and Leah Tofano shot some video of the Music students working to create this piece. I had higher aspirations for it artistically, but frankly, it was thrown together in the last couple of weeks before the Christmas concert in 2021, and we got what we got. The reason I’ve added it here is to demonstrate how much I love to get students collaborating across disciplines. When it was performed live my wife played the violin parts, I played bass. One of the tech students played keys, and the other played guitar. This version doesn’t have all the live elements.