Teacher Feature-Gerald Obregon
Tell us something about yourself: What is your creative history?
- I had done a chalk drawing of an owl for my fifth grade teacher. By the time I had done a passable drawing of Benjamin Franklin in sixth, I was hooked for life. I knew at that point that I wanted to be an artist. I was exposed to the arts from a very young age. My father did some acting on stage and television. He was also my first favorite artist. I loved his cartoons!
What inspired you to become an art educator? How long have you been teaching?
- I had graduated from School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Illustration, but I didn’t pursue it after I graduated. I did some graphic design work for a few printing establishments before going into retail and running a comic book store for seven years.
During that time, a number of my customers would come in with their drawings of different superheroes. They had no idea I had gone to art school. I would take some time and go over what they had done and really encourage them to keep working. I would praise the things they had done right and showed them what needed fixing in areas that needed more work. I would also show them examples of how various comic book artist did similar types of drawings.
Working with those kids, I realized that I really enjoyed it. It was what made me want to go into teaching. I decided to get my Masters in Art Education at Florida International University. Nineteen years later, I’m still at it!
What is your favorite medium to work in and why?
- My favorite medium to work in is oil paint. I enjoy all kinds of drawing and painting mediums, but in the end it comes down to oil paint. I love the flexibility of the paint; being able to make corrections to my pieces while it’s still wet. Acrylic dries too fast for me. I’d like to do more with watercolor. For me, it’s the perfect combination of painting and drawing sensibilities.
What is your proudest teaching moment?
- I have quite a few in my 19 year career. It’s been interesting to see a number of my students go on to become quite successful in the art world. Some of them are known nationally as well as internationally. For proudest moment I’ll go with my most recent: My school’s first graduating high school class included 10 art students. Nine of them went on to college. Eight of those went on to art school at places like School of Visual Arts, New Hampshire Institute of Art, School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and Delaware College of Art.
If you could have lunch with any artist in the world (living or not) who would it be and why?
- For me it would have to be two artists: Claude Monet and John Singer Sargent. The trip I took to France back in 2007 really opened my eyes and provided me with a drive to paint and produce art. Before I left, I would often start a piece and then labor over it for months on end without ever finishing it. The Impressionist style of painting provided with a means of finishing up more quickly so that I could produce more. Monet and Sargent are two of my all time favorite artists.
What are your personal and professional art dreams for the future?
- I really want to teach art at the college level. I really love working with people who have a strong interest in developing their skills in drawing and painting.
I would also like to do more travelling and painting in different locations around the world.