As a practicing artist and designer, I feel that my own learning process is a lifelong pursuit. I believe that art practice and creativity facilitates a kind of multidimensional thinking, which allows us to engage the role of “the human” within our continually evolving contemporary culture. For example, the speed of contemporary scientific discoveries challenges our creativity and critical thinking to reach new horizons of knowledge through visual communication, empathy and active learning. I bring this philosophy to class, where I mentor my students to develop into leaders of their field by taking an active and passionate engagement in the discipline of applied Art, Visual Communication and interrelated fields of human perception, interactive design as well as art and media theory.
In class, I focus on the research and the future of the visual communication, art and design as well as sharing my experience from my professional practice and introduce students to practical applications and pathways for their skills. I actively engage in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborations that help our students to take part in creative projects alongside disciplines such as; painting and drawings, literature and illustration, sculpture and 3D printing, data visualization and interactive environmental installation, publishing, art-based research of user experience in application development.
As part of my Arts-325 Digital Painting class, I have collaborated with a prominent Shakespearian scholar Dr. Laura Estill on illustrating the play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. My students created illustrations that were showcased in a special exhibition as part of Shakespeare’s First Folio visit to Texas A&M campus. One of the illustrations created by Peter Wong was published in the Cahiers Élisabéthains academicjournal.
My interest in Fine Art, Philosophy and Interactive Mediainforms my teaching. In introductory courses such as Digital Painting, Life Drawing and Interactive Design I focus on engaging students with contemporary discourses surrounding art and science. For the Interactive Vertical Studio during the fall of 2017 I have introduced project-based interdisciplinary learning in the class environment where my students had to engage with existing research projects from other disciplines and create an art-based interactive installation or user experience and visual interface. Over the course of the last four semesters, students had to work closely with researchers in Data Visualization, Evolutionary Biology, Computer Science, Engineering and Child Development among others in order to visually enhance the findings and make it the research accessible to a wider audience. This methodology is being accepted by the Visualization Department and currently I am helping further develop the course to integrate a reading and writing component with focus on Art and Media Theory as part of the theory and practice methodology focused on the active learning approach.
I strive to enable students to expand their approach to creativity-based research and explore topics that will allow them to form their own creative voices. I encourage team-based learning, where students can explore the scope of the projects beyond their immediate skill level and practice active-learning methodology. Student work is being reviewed in studio environment where we hold critiques as a way of providing feedback and suggestions for taking the artwork to a higher level of complexity and fidelity. In many cases I have mentored students that wanted to pursue their own research through Independent Studies program in painting, drawing and design or in collaboration with the Center for Undergraduate Research where the students receive honors credit for conducting research and publishing research papers and exhibiting their work.
As an indication of my pedagogical success, I can attest to the fact that many of the students I have mentored have been accepted to graduate programs to national and international institutions pursuing MFA or MA degrees in Art, Animation, Game Design and Visualization. My teaching evaluation scores average 4.5 out of 5 for the last three years and my performance evaluations have always been very good or outstanding.
My research interests also focus on interdisciplinary pedagogy and project-based active learning. Currently I am working with a team of faculty and researchers from the Department of Visualization, which I represent, Urban Planning, Landscape Architecture, Computer Science and Engineering on a grant proposal for an interdisciplinary teaching module focused on the Autonomous Vehicles and their impact on underprivileged urban communities and the Smart Cities of tomorrow.
I continue to be dedicated to ongoing pedagogical research and methodology and I am actively engaged with the Center for Undergraduate Research and the Institute for Applied Creativity in order to expand the interdisciplinary art-based reach of our curriculum.