Richard Wilde @SVA: how to be an inspirational professor

This video is a collaboration between the young director Nicolas Heller and the author/designer/professor Steven Heller. Steven Heller and Lita Talarico, who are co-founders of the MFA Designer as Author Program School of Visual Arts in New York, contributed “The Twenty Senses” to Illywords #21 “Senti-mentality”. Richard Wilde is their colleague at SVA.

Such videos would help us understand the perspective of art and how people related to art are important.  It is as useful as Casanova and makes us learn about the opinion of great men.  To teach about art to students is not like teaching other subjects and it requires immense creativity and understanding of the subject.  This is because Art is expressed in so many forms and every individual uses a different technique to present it.  An art professor should have enough proficiency to understand and evaluate all the techniques and guide the students appropriately.  This video is a rare collection in the sense you can learn deeply about what are the challenges that lie in this profession.  It would help you to make the right choice when it comes to an art-related career.

Nick Heller says about the video: “It was made to celebrate Richard Wilde’s 40th year as chairman of the BFA graphic design and advertising department at the School of Visual Arts. In addition to documenting the gallery opening, I selected a few of Richard’s past students to interview — all of whom have very positive things to say about Richard and SVA.”

Illywords would like to thank Nicolas Heller for his permission to embed the video here. For more videos please visit his website.

The Wilde Years from Nicolas Heller on Vimeo.

The video interview with Wilde lends itself to a list of “How to be an inspirational professor (and give your students a base that they can use for employment in any field)” which I summarize here:

encourage your students to think through concept before form; resulting works don’t just reflect the fashion of the day but rather are about forms, choices, and personality.

Give students problems that cannot have cliché answers. It makes them have to ask better questions.

Give specific assignments that make students focus.

Encourage play in and fresh approaches to real world situations.


And a final word of wisdom for designers:

“The fashion of the day is tomorrow’s cliché.”