Faculty Spotlight: Brent Webb
Honesty and positivity. That’s what Art Professor Brent Webb uses to motivate his students each day they are in the classroom.
Webb – along with his honesty and positivity – was led to Radford University because of its family atmosphere.
“I was looking for an opportunity to work with other faculty members,” said Webb. “I also wanted to be a part of a team and work with outstanding students.
“I really love working with students from just being able to draw what you see, then on to idea generation and to more abstract methods of problem solving as they continue to develop a more personal approach to their work,” Webb continued.
Webb uses his practical experience to increase student learning through positioning himself as a resource to students.
“Artists are visual problem solvers,” Webb said. “When I am working with students, the chances are I dealt with some of those same issues in the studio when I was a student, or even now in my own work. How did I solve the problem? What helped me? How can I best explain this experience to the student? Those are all things I think about when working with students. It’s very important for me to be an artist who teaches - not a teacher who used to make art.”
While in the classroom, it is important for Webb to create “a space to foster learning.”
“I really like the process of working with students where they are in their career,” Webb said. “Drawing is such a fundamental skill – it’s the most basic, primal form of visual communication. I need to help them see ways they can apply these principles in their work.”
Webb believes that sharing personal experiences helps resonate with the students and helps them be prepared for what they will encounter after completing their degrees.
“Recently, I was discussing the importance of craftsmanship and taking care when presenting your work, I talked about a specific time when I learned the importance of craftsmanship, and that as a professional artist I am making a product,” Webb said. “During a studio visit, I was called out on my craftsmanship by a gallery owner, she didn’t pull punches with me.
“She is running a business, so she was very honest and called it how it was,” Webb continued. “I was terribly embarrassed of course, but I learned an invaluable lesson. If I didn’t teach from personal experience, I would be doing my students a disservice.”
Art is a very interesting thing that is both intensely personal and very public, which can be difficult to manage, says Webb.
“Your journey is uniquely yours, but there will be a few landmarks along the way I have seen before,” Webb said. “I can help point some of those out and smooth out the rough areas.”