This interview was conducted by Hannah Kim Sions on February 20, 2018 at Blackwell Elementary School in Richmond, VA. This interview is part of the Virginia Art Education (VAEA) Distinguished Fellows Legends and Legacies Project, a project intended to preserve the histories of prominent Virginia art educators for posterity.
Interviewer Hannah Sions (HS): Thank you again for meeting me on a school night.
Tiffany Floyd (TF): My pleasure.
HS: To begin, tell me about maybe your school population and what you do, and how long you’ve been there?
TF: I’m Tiffany Floyd. I teach grade K through 5th elementary art at Blackwell Elementary School in South Richmond. Our school is predominantly African American; it’s not really diverse, although we do have a few students of other races. I think I have about 450 boys and girls. I also service the exceptional education population because we have exceptional education classes in K through 5. The disabilities range from some students with health impairments, students with autism, one hearing impaired student, a few students who are emotionally disturbed, and a few others. But the population is pretty diverse when I think about each student’s ability, even if it’s not as diverse regarding race.
HS: How long have you been teaching?
TF: This is my thirteenth year.
HS: How did you get into art, or art education?
TF: Okay, my story is so weird! When I was a kid, I just knew I was going to be a doctor. I just knew it! I had family members who had cancer, some who have died from cancer, but then, I think, by the time I got to maybe the 12th grade, I realized that I couldn’t handle it if patients died. I got obsessed with that. But I was prepared--I had taken two years of Latin in high school because I really thought I was going to be a doctor.
I got that far and I thought, “Oh man, I can’t handle it.” I was taking AP classes in the 12th grade, going to the technical center, taking up drafting. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be a surgeon or maybe create some of the technology that would aid surgeons. Anyway, I changed my mind, started VCU in the spring, the following spring, because I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do when I first graduated. Actually, my major was interior design. I did the two semesters of Art Foundations and then I thought, “Oh, I don’t know if I want to be an interior designer.” I said to myself, “I don’t know, I might have clients who are just a little too tough for me.” If their style is very different from mine, and I didn’t know for sure if I could really meet their goals because it wouldn’t truly be my style. So I said to myself, “No, this seems to complicated. What else could I do?”
I switched majors to mass communications because I love public speaking. I did two semesters of that, and then I decided, “I’d love to go into journalism.” But I’m an overthinker; I look too far ahead to the point where it scares me, instead of taking it one day at a time. Again, I looked too far into my future, and I felt I didn’t know if journalism would take me down a path that would cost me my life, potentially. I would watch journalists on television, and they were doing some dangerous stuff. I thought, “I’m not willing to do anything that dangerous just to get a story”, and so I was back to square one.
Actually, to be honest with you, I was going to just drop out of college. I thought, “I cannot decide what I want to do.” I didn’t want to keep wasting money, going from major to major, but my mom said, “Tiffany, have you ever thought about teaching art?” I actually laughed at her, and I told her, “No way, teachers are the most disrespected people on the planet!” That’s how I felt because when I was in school, teachers were very much disrespected by students.
Now, generally, we did have some respect for teachers, you know. You expect them to be on their best behaviors at all times. When you would see them out in the store, they were always dressed appropriately. You never heard them using profanity, but at the same time I saw peers being disrespectful to the teachers. I knew that the teachers had to maintain their composure. I knew that would be hard for me. I said to myself, “No, I’m not going to put myself through that.” Then my mom said, “Well, just think about it.” So, I took a little time and thought about it, and to be honest with you, I had been babysitting since I was probably about 10, so I knew I loved children, and I had been making art since I was very young too. But the kicker is, I never took art in school. Besides elementary, where you are required to, I never really took art. In middle school my focus was band. You couldn’t do band and art because band was a year-long elective. I thought to myself, “Uh, I don’t know if I could teach art to others since I never took it. I was never an art pupil.” But, I changed my major to art education. I went through it and it was interesting. Actually, it wasn’t as hard as art foundation. Art foundation was way hard.
HS: Really? I didn’t really expect that.
TF: Oh, yeah, art foundation was much harder because most of those students were artists. They all took art in middle and high school. They had amazing portfolios. Some of them were majoring in painting and sculpture and things like that. There were a few photography students here or there, and they struggled, because they were thinking, “Oh, I don’t know how to draw or paint; I’m a photographer.” But once I became an art education student, it wasn’t as bad because the focus was art and teaching, and I’m good at both of them. I’m good at conveying what I know to someone else in their language. I’ll switch it up in as many ways as I need to until they get it. Actually I loved going through the art education program. It’s so weird when I tell people how I got there because, like I said, I didn’t take art except in grade school. But now, I can’t imagine doing anything else. That’s how I came to major in art education. Did you want to know how I became an art teacher?
HS: Sure! That would be great!
TF: Oh, that’s a funny story too. My secondary placement in student teaching was at Lucille Brown Middle School. I actually was called to the side by my cooperating teacher, who said to me, “Tiffany, they are looking for an art teacher in Richmond City. Are you interested? If so, they need you to go downtown (to apply for the position).”
HS: That day?!
HS: Oh my!
TF: It was weird, so I went downtown. I think she had me talk to the art supervisor first, before I spoke to someone in Human Resources. And, yes, I was hired before I finished student teaching.
HS: Oh wow!
TF: VCU allowed me to finish out my student teaching as an actual art teacher and use those hours because I started a couple of weeks before winter break. It was the worst because we were close to winter break. The kids’ behavior was crazy, but you know, I was a fresh art teacher so I’m smiling, skinning and grinning, every single day going in there. (laughs)
HS: You’re just excited to have a job!
TF: I was ecstatic! Because I knew how hard it is to get a job when you graduate. There’s really only one art teacher per elementary school, you know, so there aren’t really any openings unless someone goes on maternity leave or retires. That does not happen often, so…
HS: Was elementary where you wanted to teach?
TF: Elementary or high. I knew I did not want to do middle school.
HS: But you were student teaching in middle school.
TF: I was student teaching there, yes, but I knew, because at that age when they’re going through so many things already, emotionally, I said to myself, “Uh, I don’t think I can deal with it.” The elementary little ones, I could help lay foundations with them, and the older ones, I could help them find their track. I could guide them--“What is your favorite discipline in art?” “What would you like to do?” “I could help you tailor your portfolio to get them ready for college.” I wanted those the elementary or high school levels, but not the pocket--not the middle. (laughs) The pocket scares me. (laughs)
HS: I think it’s a personality thing. And I definitely have the sass of a middle schooler. (laughs) So, have you been at Blackwell Elementary School, where you are now, the entire time?
TF: Yes. It’s the only place that I’ve ever worked. And recently, I have thought about maybe going to high school. I know the transition would be kind of weird to go from elementary to high. I’m trying to figure out how to do that. But at the same time, I don’t want to leave the little ones, because when they first come to me, they think art is just painting. Someone was telling the children that when you come to art, that’s where you go to paint. I like to debunk that myth. There are so many different types of art. Sometimes you don’t have to make anything, you can just learn about art, or evaluate a work of art--analyze a work of art and talk about the work of art. Yes, I do like setting things straight at that level and exposing them to a bunch of different disciplines. Then they can decide if they want to take art when they go to middle or high school. They will know it’s not just painting. Besides, if you are not a good painter, I want you to know, “Hey, there’s also sculpture, there’s fiber arts, there’s printmaking”, so many other things…?
HS: I agree. I have a little bit of the same perspective. I think we value art education for your students in the same ways. What is your philosophy on why the arts are important for students?
TF: The main thing I see is it’s definitely an outlet. Big time! A lot of time teachers are coming to me frustrated because students are drawing in their classrooms. (laughs) Of course, I’m sitting there sympathizing, “Awwww”, but on the inside I’m yelling, “YEAH!,” because it’s an expression, you know? Especially if reading and writing are not your forte, if you’re not strong there, you can still use drawing or art as a form of communication. I love it because it’s a universal language. You know what I mean? That’s why art and music--visual arts and musical arts and performing arts, all of that stuff is a human foundation, you know? I do have a deep respect for the core subjects, but I’m have to tell you, art hits kids to the core. Do you know what I mean?
HS: Art is a core subject.
TF: In my opinion, it is, but for some reason, others don’t even consider teaching art as instructional time.
HS: Is that a school thing? Or is that a Richmond City-wide perspective?
TF: I think it is a district perspective--or it was, at least. It may not be now because of the Turnaround Arts programs. That program has been implemented in several schools. I think Woodville (Elementary School), Martin Luther King Jr. (Middle School), Binford (Middle School], and maybe one other school? People are starting to see how the arts matter and how you can use the arts to teach almost any other subject.
HS: Could you tell me a little bit more about the Turnaround program?
TF: I don’t know a tremendous amount about it, but I know that some celebrities have come in and worked with students. I know it’s arts integration so the regular classroom teachers are required to incorporate art into their lessons as well; which is awesome. I think it’s a great way to advocate for the arts. As I said, you can use the arts to teach almost any other subject. Hopefully, it will spread. Right now, it’s a pilot program. Hopefully, it will spread to every Richmond city school, over time. We’ll see...
HS: Tell us about your teaching career. What has the journey been like for you as a teacher throughout the last thirteen years.
TF: It’s been interesting. My school, itself, has gone through transitions. Therefore, I’ve had to go on that journey with them. When I first started there, our school performed pretty well on standardized tests. Then we hit a rough patch where the scores were not too good, so we had to improve. With us being in improvement there is a really heavy focus on the SOL testing, trying to increase those scores. I notice there’s been a shift where maybe not so much attention is put on the arts. We’re not electives; we’re more like humanities.
That’s been a little bit disappointing because at times we’ve had (to stop teaching art) to assist kids in other areas that we’re licensed to teach. We’re physically capable of doing it and knowledge-wise, we’re able to do it as well. But my passion is teaching art. I get a little bit disappointed at times. With that being said, the focus is also on the kids that need support, the kids who need remediation. That caused a few colleagues of mine to put together a STEAM group where we focused on the kids who were already high but who needed enrichment because we didn’t want them to fall through the cracks. So STEAM has been a good thing to come from that. This is our fifth year doing it. Sometimes we even have students in who may not be top tier regarding their grades, but they’re inquisitive and they love building and construction. We found that it also assists kids with behavior. There’s been a lot of exploring going on. When I first started, I thought I would only teach art. (laughs). But then you learn that teaching is much more than the subject you went to school to teach. Sometimes the kids come in and there’s been a current event that’s impacted a lot of people. Or, a few students in the class might be having a rough time, so you have to stop teaching the subject that you thought you were going to teach and have a family moment. Really, I’ve learned you’re teaching the whole student; you’re not just teaching art, you’re working on citizenship and all kinds of stuff. That is something I wish I had learning in college. I still would’ve become an art teacher but I wouldn’t’ve gotten so discouraged when I couldn’t teach the lesson plan that I actually typed up. I would’ve known, “Hey, it’s okay, most teachers don’t actually teach the lesson plan verbatim, the way it was written.” There’s always going to be unforeseen occurrences, so I’ve gotten way better with that. The first two years, though, if I couldn’t teach the exact lesson plan, I thought I was failing the students. But, realizing what I know now, I’ve learned to be super flexible because the kids change every day. Even if it’s the same students, they come in with different things on their minds. I’ve become very quick on the draw. Before I became a teacher, we were often told not to smile until Christmas? (laughs) You know, it’s just an old saying that suggests you need to come in stern and then you lighten up later. But I don’t do that. Because it’s not okay, I want my students to know that I love them and that I care about them. I have a very playful nature. I want them to know that. And that actually helps in my room because they know that I’m not, you know, standoffish. I smile, I let them know, “Hey, I love you,” but I can discipline with love, if that makes sense.
HS: Do you find that it’s hard to manage a playful manner with the discipline component? For the new teachers who are wondering, how do you walk that fine line between being welcoming but not being a doormat?
TF: It really has to be a part of your normal personality. If it’s part of your normal personality, it will fuse perfectly. If it’s not, you’ll probably spend a lot of time thinking to yourself, “Oh, I don’t want them to think I’m mean.” Do you know what I mean? That thought never crosses my mind. It’s because I try to fuse my playful nature with the way I was raised by my father--he was a disciplinarian, big time.
Seriously, I got a ton of spankings growing up. I misbehaved when I was little; I get it when the kids misbehave. But I have, what you would call, unorthodox methods for my consequences, where I would incorporate some playfulness but by the time the consequence is over, the child understands, “No, I don’t want to feel this uncomfortable again.” There’s a little bit of discomfort--not physical discomfort—but just having to go through a consequence that you don’t enjoy. You’re missing out on what the other students are doing, or, you see you’re having to do a task or something that just isn’t enjoyable. And then when it’s done, I do talk to them about it and then I can joke with them again. When they come the next week, I don’t have the same problem. But it’s not a type of joking that would confuse a student. For example, some teachers joke with students in a way then if the student jokes back the same way, the adult will say, “Wait a second, that’s not acceptable.” I joke in ways where it’s acceptable for anyone. That is, if a student joked with me in the same way then it’ll be okay. For example, you know, when the teacher picks up a student while we’re doing Class Dojo. I’m giving them students points, I may put my hands on my hips and I’ll say, you know, “Was Miss So-and-so behaving today?” And the kids will look at the teacher and then look back at me and say, “Yeah, she was okay!” We’ll give the teacher some points too. That’s an appropriate kind of playfulness. And for my older students, 4th and 5th, it’s great because they understand sarcasm.
Then I can really have some fun with them. I would have to say, it should be part of your normal nature anyway. Don’t force jokes or fun, just be yourself. And just discipline to the proper degree, if that makes sense. Sometimes I notice kids get consequences that are way too harsh for what they did. Then people never come back and let the kid know what they did wrong. For example, you know, if somebody keeps yelling out, a teacher may keep saying, “Stop yelling out”, but are you saying what you would like them to do? You know, “I need you to raise your hand and wait for me.” An example might be when a child didn’t raise their hand or they were yelling out. So, obviously I hear them, but I pretend that I can’t. I’ll walk around the room and I’ll walk close to them, so that in their minds, they are thinking, “I know Ms. Floyd can hear me,” but I continue to ignore them. And then when they finally realize it’s because their hand’s not up, they raise it. And with a lot of exaggeration I’ll turn around and say in a fun way, “OH HANNAH, thank you for raising your hand! How may I help you?” You know, in a fun way, so the child remembers, “Oh, okay, I need to raise my hand” but they don’t feel like they’re being yelled at--“STOP YELLING OUT!” I joke a lot because it helps me. It helps to keep me calm. As a teacher the last thing you want to do is get to a boiling point in anger or frustration. You can’t come back from that. If you can find little ways to keep yourself calm, and playing is one of those ways for me. It just helps me.
HS: That’s such great advice! I’m excited to share some of this with some of my students, and especially since some of them are going to be in your classroom. It’s exciting. What memories or experiences stand out in your mind over the course of your career?
TF: I have to be honest with you, I recently received an R.E.B. award, and I used that grant to travel to Finland. Because I know my students, most of them, just don’t get a lot of experiences outside of what we show them in textbooks, school and we pull up on YouTube. I was talking with them about the Northern Lights, and they told me they knew what they were because they’ve all seen the movie Frozen, and there were some in there. So, I said, “you know what, I’m gonna Skype with them from Finland.”
I couldn’t Skype with them at night, while the Northern Lights were out, because we were seven hours ahead over there and we had to Skype with them during times they were in school. But just for them to see how deep the snow was, where I was, and how everything was blanketed in it. And to see all the layers I had to wear. It just brought so much excitement to me. I didn’t know how excited they would be? It’s just bringing back experiences. I brought back souvenirs for them. That right there, those experiences really made my eyes water. I brought back actual reindeer hide for them to feel, and I took pictures of reindeer because a lot of times they think that reindeer are like unicorns. I said, “No, reindeer are real! They just don’t fly but they are real, and they do look different from the deer that we have here.” They didn’t get it but when I came back with the photographs their minds were completely blown. Every time something like that happens with my students, I feel so good because I know I’ve impacted their lives; I’ve given them some experience that they can take with them. We’ve walked to the river, and took samples of the water and brought it back to the art room and examined the life that’s going on in that ecosystem. There’s been more than one awesome experience. Like I said, all of the “Aha” moments have been great experiences in my career.
HS: That sounds like it was such a meaningful experience for them too. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like to have seen and experienced something so foreign, and through your teacher, it’s the definition of learning. So, looking back on your career, what do you think was your biggest accomplishments and what are some future goals that you have for yourself.
TF: It’s hard to say. You know what, and I’ve pondered these questions when I looked at your interview questions ahead of time. I couldn’t just pinpoint one thing, but just as a general response, I would say, probably having students to come back and tell me that they’re taking art because of what they learned in my class. I know it sounds so corny but that lets me know, “Okay, I’ve done my job.” It shows me I fostered that zeal for learning more about art. You know, and if I can do that, then I say, “Excellent! Great! I can lay the foundation for them.” That’s what I want to do! Lay the foundation for the children so they will want to explore art when they go to the secondary level. Then you can just do whatever you want to do with it, by at least exploring and knowing it’s not just painting. You know, it’s just awesome. I would love to have them come back after high school. We don’t get a lot of students who visit after high school but I know what they have been up to. When I know that they have grasped something that I’ve taught them, and it has stuck, I just feel, “Oh, Tiffany, you’ve done something!” (laughs) I don’t necessarily look at their work and say, “Oh, this is a beautiful piece of work. Oh, this is not a good piece of art.” I’m trying to know if I have touched their hearts in some way? “Have I reached you in some way?” Because I don’t even know if this piece of artwork is going to even make it home. I don’t know if you care about the piece of artwork. “Will you remember some experience that you had in this art room?”
HS: It’s a lot more lasting, sometimes, than those tangible pieces and products that they make.
TF: That’s the hope.
HS: Do you have any goals, or do you feel like you’ve reached certain goals as an advocate for art education?
TF: I working on the advocacy piece. I still have a few parents who just don’t see the importance of art. I have a few colleagues who may not see the importance. But the majority, literally, the majority of my colleagues absolutely love the work the kids do and they make it a point to look at it in the halls and to tell their students, “Look with your eyes; don’t touch!” The advocacy piece is going well. I’m doing a couple of things to help with it, I’ve got quite a few parents signed up for Artsonia, not so they could buy stuff--that’s the least of my concerns--I just want them to see the work, and comment on it. They can also see other people’s comments on it, and the kids could see the comments which builds their self-esteem. That is one of my goals--to just increase the awareness of how important art is to your child. I want to tell the kids, “Go on, talk to your parents about it.” I am working on getting more parents to come out to the shows that the district has. During my career, I had a few art shows at ArtWorks--that’s awesome, for the kids to have their work at an actual gallery. They saw their work: “Oh, my goodness!”.
I would say my ultimate goal is to end up at a high school. I think I would like to finish up my career at a high school. I know you can do so much more with them, and just to see their individual styles blossom. A lot of times at the elementary level the kids are still looking towards you, we’re still teaching them techniques and still teaching them about artists. A lot of times they’re trying to copy something instead of freely creating their own images. They’re not able to relax as much, for some strange reason, I’m not sure why. Kindergarten, no problem. You give them the supplies and they go at it. The older kids, once they start testing, they become very self- conscious. They want to you to tell them what to do and what to draw. But at the high school level, some of those students have so much sass. They say, “Nope, I’m gonna do it my way.” I want that, I want someone to come in confidently and display their work and say, “I don’t care what you say, because I made this art for me.” Now, of course, if it’s a ceramic project then it needs to meet established criteria, of course, but I’m not telling you what to make, I want to see what each student can come up with, what their thought process is. I would say my ultimate goal is, yes, to end up at a high school.
HS: How about as an artist? Do you make your own art? And if you do, what do you make?
TF: I do! I’m so embarrassed, I haven’t made anything in a while, as far as a body of work goes. I’m a fiber artist and a mixed media artist. I do a lot of stitching and painting and printing on fabric. Then I stretch it on a wooden frame so it hangs like a painting. A lot of times these pieces are quilted, with actual batting in the middle layer between the front and the back. I just like using my hands, manipulating things. I don’t really like drawing and painting, and it’s crazy when my students ask me to tell them about my art. They say, “How can you be an art teacher if you don’t like drawing and painting?” And I said, “Well, because art is not just drawing and painting.”
TF: I try to do two collaborative pieces a year. I did bicycle stories one year, where I created a work of art to pair with a young man’s story about bicycles. Twice I’ve participated in Art Space’s Art Roulette. I do lots of things, including quite a few community service projects where I link up with the community center and I’ll do props for them. Just to make myself keep working. I find that at a lot of times, I’m busy making prototypes for the lessons that I’m teaching my students. By the time I do that at home, I’m tired. But over the summer, I try to do a little bit. I do have three pieces that are in progress that I work on here and there, but as I said, I haven’t made a body of work in a while.
HS: What contribution do you think you have made to art education, either as an individual or collectively? What specifically stands out to you?
TF: I have served the art education community by serving in a few different capacities in the Virginia Art Education Association (VAEA). I served the Central Region VAEA as treasurer and vice president. I just finished as the Elementary Division representative for VAEA, and I still do on-site registration at the VAEA conference each year. I’ve done a few volunteer things with Art 180. I’ve always looked for ways to give back. Nothing for long term, except the work I’ve done with the VAEA and the CRVAEA.
HS: Teaching is a very high stressful and requires a great deal of commitment.
TF: Yes, it’s tough, because, yes, it is a commitment, but, I don’t know, it’s sometimes better for me to do a few one-time things because then I do those things well, instead of trying to tackle many things and not doing as good a job with them. It allows me to stay focused. I think the biggest way that I’ve given back, to be honest with you, is by mentoring student teachers from VCU. I absolutely love that. This particular year, I wasn’t able to have any student teachers for a couple of reasons. We got another new principal this year. We also submitted our final components for national board certification back in May of 2017. When the school year started in August, my nerves were just terrible. I said to myself, “You know what, I think if I don’t achieve that, I would feel like I’m not able to mentor anyone.” I made the mistake of attaching my worth to that because it’s someone else telling you whether they think you are a decent teacher or not. And I just thought, “Oh, my gosh, I cannot take a student teacher this year, because mentally, I was just so stuck on that”. But as it turned out okay. I look forward to student teachers every year, having someone come in, because I have had awesome cooperating teachers, and they didn’t just leave when I became an art teacher. They were there and they are still there. I can call any time, literally, anytime and I feel that I had such good cooperating teachers, I have to give back in that setting. I’ve had eight student teachers and this is my thirteenth year. I will begin mentoring candidates who are interested in going for National Board Certification; and those are two more ways that I am giving back. I just like sharing what I know with others, whether it’s teaching art to my little ones or sharing tips as an educator with another educator. Either or, it’s just sharing knowledge.
I: Second to last question, if you could finish this sentence, of sorts: As an art teacher, I am…
TF: Oh, my goodness. (laughs) How about as an art teacher I am dead set on helping my students understand that art is not just drawing and painting. (laughs)
HS: (laughs) That works! That works! That’s definitely a big struggle, I think, because they have it in their minds; they’re already coming in with this idea on whether or not they are “artists” before they come into your room.
TF: That’s true.
HS: There is a lot of unlearning that has to happen.
TF: Yes, big time. They will psych themselves out. Then I have to tell them, “Guess what, the next project may not even require drawing or painting. Get through this one and then maybe you’re a better weaver or better at sewing or better at ceramics.” But, yes, I would have to say that right there sort of sums up what drives my lesson plans, what drives almost everything that I do in that art room.
HS: Last question. Going from here, whether you stay in elementary or go to high school, what do you hope to pass on to your students? Especially if they already have an appreciation for the arts? Or, maybe a better question is, what do you want to be remembered for as an art teacher?
TF: It’s tricky. I’m going to give you a cluster of answers. I want my students to remember that Ms. Floyd exposed me to a lot of different disciplines of art. I do want them to know that. I also want them to know that I love them; I tell them that all the time. Because then when they know that, they’re not afraid to make mistakes in my class, then art can just relax them. I also want them to understand that not all artists are alike. Embrace your style, because yours may not look like mine, and mine may not look like Hannah’s. If you compare yourself to others, you will never truly know yourself. Your art is supposed to be an expression of YOU, what was going on in you, do you know what I mean? I really need them to understand that. I think, yes, if my students remember those three things about me, then they’ll be pretty set. Those are pretty awesome life skills too. They are. Knowing that, you know, it’s okay to trust people sometimes. I’m not the art teacher that’s going walk around and say, “I like that, I like that, I don’t like this, I don’t like that…” I’m going to walk around and actually give you feedback on your work, do you know what I mean? Once they get to a point where they trust me, when they feel like something has gone awry, and I say, “It’s okay, you can let it dry and then paint over that.” Once you know that I love you and you trust me, then you’ll relax and you won’t be fixated on getting it right. You’ll move on to something else and come back and then you’ll look at that later. You know, it’s okay… it’s literally okay to be wrong. I can show them works by many artists that have been painted over multiple times. They don’t see that. So, the more that I show them mistakes that I make, they say that I’m imperfect, then they’re like, “Oh, wow, all of that went into this. Let me see how this one got to this point.” Because it’s not all roses; and they need to know that. I give my students the real deal, all the time; I don’t just pretend to be perfect at all. That’s why they trust me because they know I’m a person.
HS: Thank you so much for your time and thoughts! It was a pleasure to interview you.