Cogswell Professor Reid Winfrey Advises Future Educators To ‘Be An Expert In Your Field’
There is no question that San Francisco is one of the best places to live in America. While world-class landmarks, a healthy economy and a near perfect climate are significant factors, the quality of education should also be mixed into the equation. One particular college whose curriculum prepares students for San Francisco’s burgeoning high-tech industry is Cogswell College. Reid Winfrey, Associate Professor and Director of Digital Arts and Animation, talks briefly about his work and what advice he has to give people interested in a career in education.
What is your background and education?
“My background is in fine arts. I’ve been a working studio artist with gallery representation for over 35 years, with group and solo exhibitions throughout the U.S., England and Japan. I have a B.A. from UC Davis and an M.F.A. in printmaking from San Jose State University. I also studied at Sheffield Polytechnic in England.”
What do you teach at Cogswell College?
“I teach Figure Drawing in the lower division and Digital Painting and Concept Design in the upper division. I’m part of an incredible team of artists who teach foundation drawing skills here, and my particular drawing specialty is the human form and anatomy for artists.”
What advice can you offer someone interested in a career in education?
“You have to like working with young people and it’s useful if you are deeply interested in finding ways to communicate ideas that are often nearly impossible to put into words. You also need to be a genuine expert in your field, in my opinion. Students will always challenge you and it’s useful to be confident in what you are talking about. For a career in arts education, well, it depends. Cogswell is a design school. Telling a coherent story, whether in a drawing, an animation, a 3D model or a game, is the most important thing. My experience in Fine Arts programs is that coherence is not necessarily an important ingredient. Either way, most – if not all – public universities and colleges will require an M.A. or an M.F.A. in your discipline.”