Instructor, Digital Arts & Design
My experience with Digital Arts and Design started in the early 1990’s in Prague, (yea, that definitely makes me sound older than I actually feel), in a Central European country which was then known as Czechoslovakia. This was not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequently, like a set of teetering dominoes, the rest of the Soviet Union. This was also not too long after the time Digital Arts and Design was born and delivered to the commercial market and to me specifically via Adobe Software and Apple Computers. When I got to Prague, I had just graduated from Miami University in Oxford Ohio with a dual Major in Journalism and Creative Writing and had planned on staying in Europe for just a couple months doing the Eurail thing, maybe running with the bulls like Hemingway in Pamplona and, last but not least, doing a bit of travel writing about the newly freed and euphorically former USSR. I ended up staying for over 10 years.
My path into the largely visual realm of Digital Arts and Design came strangely enough through music, specifically the saxophone. I had played in concert and jazz band up until my freshman year at Lakota High School, but I didn’t like the marching band uniforms or being exposed too much to the elements while trying to play a cold brass instrument, so I quit playing all together as soon as I learned that one of the requirements of being allowed in Jazz Band was playing in the marching band... in silly uniforms. Not cool!
When I got to Prague in the winter of 1992 I got a pretty well paid, (by local currency standards at least), job teaching English right off the bat -not too many Americans had made it to the “Left Bank of the Nineties” yet, so we were a bit of a hot commodity. This left me time to also pursue other passions, one of them being saxophone. I got my chops back not too long after buying an alto, (still have it), and started playing with Avant Garde theater groups and subsequently in a multitude of bands ranging in genres from Free Jazz to Reggae to Funk to Drum & Bass music. This got me in the sound booth recording and eventually behind mixing desks mixing, then onto DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) and MPCs (Music Production Centers). But hey, bands need music videos and promotional merch (CDs, t-shirts, posters, websites etc.) and who better to produce it (for free) than the members of the band themselves…namely me.
In light of this new digital frontier, which brought all of these tools within easy reach of the masses, on my first visit back to the US after many years, I bought the first generation of those colorful iMacs (remember those?) that was able to handle video editing, shipped it in the original box and packaging via the plane’s cargo hold and prayed it would survive. It did, and two subsequent trips after that to boot…still have it and it still works!
Suffice it to say, I started doing lots of Digital multi-media work including Graphic Design, Photography, Videography/ Sound Design and Web Design. Along with some of my friends in Prague, we even started a small production studio called The Lab. You can see some of my work here @ reganbrown.com -until the "internets" soon discontinue flash -and then I’ll have to build a new one, but it’s time anyway…
When I returned from Europe in 2002, I went on to get a certification in Electronic Media Technology at Raymond Walters (now UC Blue Ash, where quite a few of our students go after DAAD), and then on to UC DAAP, (a very competitive program where just a few of our students qualify to go), and where I got a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts -Electronic Art. I also recently finished my accreditation program for Career Tech Education from BGSU and all the while I’ve been back I’ve been freelancing -mainly for the local universities and high schools I’ve taught at but also for a few international clients with whom I’ve managed to keep in touch. (See my pre-Scarlet Oaks resume here.)
What I love about teaching...
What I love most about teaching in this program is the students themselves and how many of them bring a specialized skill in some area of the arts that they then share with the class. There’s always a lot of talent up here in DAAD!
The best part of my classroom is....
The camaraderie, connections and friendships my students develop, often while working on group projects related to the Digital Arts and Design Field. This not only helps them learn their future career path, but it also helps them understand teamwork ,which often means acting as a support and a helping hand, even sometimes outside the classroom. This incredible resilience and empathy my students have shown one another has proved especially important during these trying times.
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