Richard Estrin

Richard Estrin
Brooklyn, NY
Collage, Drawing, Mixed Media, Painting, Printmaking, Quilting, Sculpture
College/University, Arts/Cultural Organizations, Community Center, K-12 Schools, Senior Center

My love for art making and my love for teaching are thoroughly intertwined. As an artist, I relish getting lost in the discovery and serendipity that take place when immersed in studio work. As a teacher, I find sharing that sense of openness and exploration that that I savor in the studio gratifying. This directs my teaching style and guides my instructional decisions.

To succeed at this, I create an environment of trust and comfort, where play, sharing and laughter support rigor and high standards. Each student has her individual challenges but all are motivated to stretch, often beyond their imaginings, regardless of the level at which he started.

While I have 10 years of experience teaching at the university level, I have worked with all ages, from pre K to older adults. In every instance, at each level, my students and I learn much from each other. Teaching and learning are collaborative. Each experience is different, every interaction a revelation; a dynamic give and take in which all participate. Like art making itself, the classroom offers exciting possibilities for growth, learning and deep satisfaction through the challenging process of developing technical, analytical and social skills.

To work with older people is to experience history. The stories that they embody are a source of inspiration. It is eye opening and instructional.

Using the visual arts as a vehicle to give voice to one’s individual experiences provides a way to share, be acknowledged and validated that is dynamic and safe. In many instances, working through what is ostensibly a visual problem connects with something profound, a memory, or, perhaps, a forgotten experience. It taps into a wellspring of life that is enriching for the student to revisit and for me to learn about. In working with the older adults, I have found great satisfaction. Their lives offer glimpses into different historical times, their shared stories and unique perspectives have impacted me. As I have taught them, they have taught me so much more; more about life, empathy and what it means to be human.