Designing a new way to share art

Tori O’Campo
A&E EDITOR

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Whittier’s Art and Visual Studies department has recently welcomed their newest track with the creation of the Digital Art and Design program. According to the Whittier College website, this program was designed to “focus on the commercial application of visual art and design principles in the production of creative content for various media platforms.” With this new track that emphasizes the study of graphic design, digital art, and animation, the art department hired new professors with backgrounds in these specific areas. Visiting Assistant Professor of Art  Brody Albert is one of these professors, and although he was hired specifically for his graphic design background, he has already invested himself into the general arts and culture of the Whittier community.

Albert started his Whittier career at the beginning of the 2018 – 19 school year and has already taught two sections of “Drawing” and “Graphic Design” during Fall 2018. He also created a class of his own design, called “Watcha Mean, What’s a Zine,” in January 2019. Zines, although not having one strict definition, are often homemade publications made with photocopiers. Through this class, students constructed their own zines and learned about artistic elements with hands-on experience. Composed of students ranging from art enthusiasts to art novices, the class took a trip to LAto experience the city’s art scene in real time. “It is so different to see it in front of you, rather than seeing a projection on a screen while one of your old professors tells you why it is important. [You can] actually be in the room and smell the smells and see the culture right in front of you.  I swear I could feel their molecules rearrange,” Albert said. “I realized how much of an asset having the L.A. art scene so close to Whittier College can be and that we need to figure out how to get students out there.”

He began brainstorming on what would be the most effective way to show students the different shows and museums that are available to visit in the L.A. area. He decided to start an Instagram page as a way to post about different shows, so that his students had access to the unique experiences that only throwing yourself into the art scene can provide. “I thought that Instagram might be a low-stress way of doing it, where it would be embedded into their feeds,” he said. “Going to shows and participating in art and design is what keeps me going. I want to share that and for students to have access to it.”

For Albert, art has always been an essential part of his life. Because his grandfather was an illustrator and painter, his mom dabbles in various artistic mediums, and his father is a passionate art connoisseur, Albert grew up in museums and studio spaces. “I have these funny memories of being seven-years-old and my dad being like, ‘Brody, what do you think about this composition,’ and me responding even though I was super young,” he said. “Art has been the air that I breathe for as long as I can remember.”

He began to reflect upon his artistic upbringing when he became a teacher and recognized that not everyone was raised around the appreciation that made art his priority. Although he came from little money and a working class family, Albert recognizes the privilege of having access to the rich world that art gifted him. “There is nothing stopping you from participating in your own way. Being exposed to it will open pathways that you didn’t know were there,” he said. “I needed someone to show me that, so if I can do that for someone, I think that would be really great.” He hopes that by incorporating the shows he attends into his teaching and through using the Instagram page, more students will be inclined to get out and experience the culture the city provides.

“While talking to the guy who owned this one gallery, I mentioned that I teach at Whittier College and he goes, ‘oh! I went there,’” he said. The gallery owner had once been a Whittier Scholars Program student, which gave Albert even more of an inclination to use the Instagram page. “I wonder what the path would have been if he would have been introduced to [the art scene] earlier, and if he would have figured out that he would have realized that he could participate in these L.A. shows while he was still a student.”

Albert believes that the liberal education belief in encouraging students to take charge in becoming humans of their own agency can be achieved through the foundational ideas that can be learned through studying art. “I realized that the inherent lesson of art is radical and political. Whether learning art history or how to create art, this is a thing that was made. It is the realization that if someone made this, then that means I could make it. If I could make it, I could make it differently,” he said. “That is not far from looking at a chair. If someone made that chair, I could make that chair, I could make it differently. Laws were constructed. If someone made those laws, then I could make those laws, and I could make them differently.”

As for the future of the @poetsxdesign page, Albert plans to continue posting and encourages students to submit museums, shows, and exhibits for him to promote. “I want a non-stress art community to evolve organically.”

You can follow the Instagram page @poetsxdesign.

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“While talking to the guy who owned this one gallery, I mentioned that I teach at Whittier College and he goes, ‘oh! I went there,’” he said. The gallery owner had once been a Whittier Scholars Program student, which gave Albert even more of an inclination to use the Instagram page. “I wonder what the path would have been if he would have been introduced to [the art scene] earlier, and if he would have figured out that he would have realized that he could participate in these L.A. shows while he was still a student.”

Albert believes that the liberal education belief in encouraging students to take charge in becoming humans of their own agency can be achieved through the foundational ideas that can be learned through studying art. “I realized that the inherent lesson of art is radical and political. Whether learning art history or how to create art, this is a thing that was made. It is the realization that if someone made this, then that means I could make it. If I could make it, I could make it differently,” he said. “That is not far from looking at a chair. If someone made that chair, I could make that chair, I could make it differently. Laws were constructed. If someone made those laws, then I could make those laws, and I could make them differently.”

As for the future of the @poetsxdesign page, Albert plans to continue posting and encourages students to submit museums, shows, and exhibits for him to promote. “I want a non-stress art community to evolve organically.”

You can follow the Instagram page @poetsxdesign or check out the latest Quaker Campus Instagram post to find his account.

Asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor