PROFESSOR

INTRO

My career in academia began in 2003 as a member of the part-time faculty at both Montserrat College of Art and Rhode Island School of Design. For over a decade I have endeavored to create a classroom environment that is engaging, entertaining, and challenging. In 2013 I became an Asst. Professor at Montserrat College of Art and I have achieved the rank of Senior Critic at Rhode Island School of Design. My decade plus as a visual arts educator has strengthened my belief that a student's concepts and "personal vision" are meaningless without the technical facility to manifest them, and that helping students find their "style" is not about exalting a feeble pursuit of learning the fundamentals.

A FEW WORDS FROM THREE FORMER STUDENTS

JENNIFER HOM, RISD '09 Illustrator/Doodler 
Google Inc.


"I repeatedly enrolled in Shanth's courses for several reasons: he focused a great deal on the importance of using historic cultural references to solve contemporary design problems and he explained how to communicate meaning through the use of basic shapes. Most importantly, however, Shanth nurtures the development of a crucial aspect of any artist's career-- professionalism. Shanth made it clear that talent alone is not enough to succeed. One must present her/his work in a well designed/choreographed portfolio and have the ability to speak clearly and confidently about their work."


CAMERON DAVIS, RISD '05 Concept Artist 
Dreamworks Animation

"Shanth approaches life and teaching with a passion that always inspired me as a student, and still does today as a friend.  When I took his character design class my senior year, he discussed metaphor, history, philosophy and mythology and in the process I learned a great deal about myself, and the common themes of the human experience."


"This basic idea (Mythophoric Character Design) was first brought to my attention by a teacher I had in school named Shanth Enjeti,  He goes into depth...really goes into depth and you should look him up.  He talks about basic shapes and what they mean to humanity." 

-Cameron Davis excerpt from GNOMON WORKSHOP CHARACTER DESIGN FOR GAMES AND ANIMATION VOLUME 1


BETH ZAIKEN, RISD '08 Fabricator/Muralist/Digital Production Engineer 
Blue Rhino Studio


"Shanth's classes are great because he can push you to develop artistically beyond just technical skill. He can help you to separate your real motivations and inspirations from the superficial or aesthetic, and give you a better understanding of yourself and your work. He gets you down to the 'why' and not just the 'how', and that's not always an easy thing to do."


TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

My focus as a teacher is to create a studio environment wherein I maximize the capacity for all of my students’ work to improve. I present my assignments in a fashion that addresses the diversity of ability and learning styles in a classroom, as well as presenting problems that allow for a diverse range of solutions.

ASSIGNING WORK

In giving homework assignments, I always strive to give clear guidelines, present detailed assignment sheets which I read aloud, present visual reference, and allow for questions if any of these are unclear. This maximizes a student’s capacity to succeed and compensates for the presence of different methods of processing information. The same approach is useful in addressing the different modalities of learning that exist in any given classroom.

ASSESSING TECHNICAL APTITUDE

In two-dimensional work, I break down the assessment of technique into four categories: composition, value, hue, and draftsmanship. These categories are organized in order of importance, and in picture making assignments students are asked to critique their fellow classmates using these categories and assessing how successful they are on a scale of 1-10. The goal is always to improve students who are lacking in technical capacity, and the most important aspect in doing so is identifying the degree of the problem in relationship to professional level of competency. Professional level competency, is measured by the number “6” and this, conveys to the students that they need to compare their work to master artists rather than their classmates.

ASSESSING CONCEPTUAL CLARITY

The most important area of the critique is the discussion of whether or not the work communicates the idea the artist intended. In order to accurately chart a students growth, the students are required to address specific problems that increase in complexity as the semester progresses.

PROVIDING EXAMPLES

Students are frequently presented with examples from a diverse group of artists. These have included N.C. Wyeth, Eiko Ishioka, Mary Blair, Stanley Kubrick, Hayao Miyazaki, Akira Kurosawa, Ron Mueck, Kara Walker, Julie Taymor, Howard Pyle, Frank Lloyd Wright, Saul Bass, Santiago Calatrava, Norman Rockwell, Hergé, Maxfield Parrish, Osamu Tezuka, Hokusai, Eyvind Earle, J.C. Leyendecker, Syd Mead, Jean Giraud, Gustav Doré, John Singer Sargent, and Windsor McCay.

DEFINING SUCCESS

A successful student is a student that progresses substantially over the semester, participates in critiques, and is always on time with completed assignments. Examples of these former students have gone on to become members in art departments at Google, Dreamworks Animation, Lucasfilm Ltd., Microsoft Games, and the Walt Disney Company. Others have gone on to win awards for their exceptional work in my classes in both student and professional competitions.

While these accomplishments are inspiring for me as a teacher, it is the sense of accomplishment I feel when I see the excitement in students who have learned something new about themselves and their work that will guide their pursuits in new and exciting directions in the future.

STUDENT WORK

All of the artwork shown below was created by the artists during their time as students (click on images to enlarge).


COMIC ILLUSTRATION • by Nicholas Kole • RISD


CONCEPT PAINTING • by Jack Truong • MONTSERRAT


CONCEPT PAINTING • by Jennifer Hom • RISD


CONCEPT PAINTING • by Thomas Wakely • MONTSERRAT



CHARACTER DESIGN • by Chris McInerney • RISD


GOUACHE PAINTING • by Hannah Connolly • MONTSERRAT


ACRYLIC PAINTING • by Fabiola Garza • RISD


DIGITAL ILLUSTRATION • by Gloria Dilanni • MONTSERRAT


CUT PAPER ILLUSTRATION • by Young Jin Chung • RISD


FOOD ILLUSTRATION • by Zö Pezzano • MONTSERRAT


OIL PAINTING • by Rob Rey • RISD


DIGITAL ILLUSTRATION • by Lisa Martinez • MONTSERRAT


ACRYLIC PAINTING • by Beth Zaiken • RISD


GOUACHE ILLUSTRATION • by Ciaran Gaffney • MONTSERRAT


CHARACTER DESIGN • by Anne Szabla • RISD


ILLUSTRATION • by Brendan MacAllister • MONTSERRAT


COMIC ILLUSTRATION • by Claire Hummel • RISD


ILLUSTRATION • by Lauren Carozza • MONTSERRAT


GOUACHE ON BOARD • by Kevin Laughlin • RISD


DIGITAL ILLUSTRATION • by Johnny Good • MONTSERRAT


GOUACHE PAINTING • by Kai Carpenter • RISD



CHARACTER DESIGN • by Ashleigh MacIsaac • MONTSERRAT


COMIC ILLUSTRATION • by Steven Sugar • RISD



ILLUSTRATION • by Michelle Tuttle • MONTSERRAT


DIGITAL OUTREACH




Tell Forward is an educational web log Shanth maintains for those interested in learning about his approach to visual storytelling.  You can visit the site by clicking HERE.