SOPHIA RUPPERT

SCULPTURE

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

 

My curriculum and classroom are centered on inclusion, individuality, technical proficiency, curiosity, and agency. Students work in an environment free of discrimination while harnessing personal experience to cultivate a unique
visual and conceptual language. In addition to technical skills and abilities, I teach creative problem-solving alongside the expression of voice and professional development to cultivate artists who are innovative and self-sufficient.


I promote self-actualization and mutual respect while prompting students with the power of their identity. I encourage using their individual power to develop a visual and conceptual language which fuels a unique approach to making. In
Beginning Sculpture, I assign a project asking students to make a piece centered on their identity, politics, or beliefs. During this assignment, I stress the importance of each individual voice to the creative process. Students hone
collaborative skills through concept critiques. From initial sketchbook discussions to the final critique of this sculpture, students share ideas fueled by experience and listen to the ideas of others in a respectful, inclusive, and informative atmosphere. Their work becomes a vehicle for culturally relevant dialogue and ongoing discussion cultivates an inclusive culture of respect for diverse perspectives and identities.

My curriculum focuses on the development of foundational technical skills alongside visual problem solving with secondary attention to non-traditional material research in the expanded field. Contemporary Sculpture is one of the
most technically uninhibited areas in the visual arts with virtually no limit to the ways a sculptor can make, and students beginning their education may be overwhelmed by the possibility of materials with no physical qualities. I
equip students with a multifaceted understanding of methods and materials upon which they can build. Beginning Sculpture focuses on proficiency and problem-solving in materials such as wood, clay, and steel with a heavy
emphasis on craft and precision. One way students learn problem-solving is through our Deconstructed Box to Sculpture assignment. Students design and fabricate a box using traditional woodshop methods. Upon completion,
students deconstruct their box to make a sculpture using only the remaining materials. This stretches their understanding of the material while honing problem-solving skills.


Once students have a fundamental proficiency of sculpture as object, I introduce expanded media through lectures on culturally relevant artists working in non-traditional media. Students become familiar with artists who utilize light, sound, social practice, installation, and performance through classroom lectures and their own ongoing research. Students are encouraged to engage their curiosity while experimenting in new media without fear of failure. Projects are centered around a question rather than a predetermined outcome. Methods of this question-based learning can be found in advanced sculpture assignments. Students are given the objective of exploring one material in at least ten variations. Another method tasks students with making an opinionated piece from an object or material they consider to have no predetermined sculptural properties. These assignments broaden an understanding of materiality and content. A strong material foundation, coupled with non-traditional material research, produces aesthetically and
conceptually engaging student work with contemporary relevance.

 

Starting with intermediate courses, I mentor students in ongoing professional development to promote self-reliance upon completion of their program. I reinforce the importance of an active resume/CV while providing students with
information about local exhibition opportunities. Through the promotion of student organizations and community involvement, students become familiar with the importance of citizenship. To aid in their exhibition records and
gallery experience, I organize group shows while allowing students to participate in the curation and installation process. In class, we practice proper documentation of their work while discussing the importance of a strong
portfolio. Projects in advanced courses are fueled by independent research in preparation for a studio practice beyond the classroom. By encouraging early and ongoing career preparation, my students are ready for whatever their next
step may be.


As an instructor, I prioritize voice, craft, curiosity, and agency. Students are taught technical standards and encouraged to challenge traditional methods while being propelled by lived experience. Equipped with a strong foundational
knowledge of materials, self, and an innovative mind, students develop compelling, culturally relevant work.

All works © Sophia Ruppert 2020.
Please do not reproduce without the expressed consent of Sophia Ruppert.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Instagram Social Icon