Jonathan Fisher

Foundations CoordinatorJohn Fisher KSU School of Art and Design

Biographical Information

Jonathan started at KSU in August of 2016, with 15 years of teaching in higher education and serves as the Coordinator of Studio Foundations. I hold a B.F.A in printmaking from The University of North Carolina at Asheville and M.F.A in printmaking from Ohio State University.  Art and design studio foundations has been the focus of my entire teaching career. I also work with program assessment with a specific interest in assessing creativity across the first-year B.F.A core classes.

My personal work explores the idea of systems and growth clusters. With systems such as maps, bacteria and the solar system in mind, I’m fascinated by the way our world, distant universe and immediate neighborhoods are structured.

I find interest in the visual similarities between man-made systems such as political boundaries and more organic arrangements such as bacteria. For me, maps and microorganisms can tell a story of human migration. They can document a record of human pursuit. Under a microscope, we see patterns and schemes of microbes that seem to have a plan regardless of the intention of humans. Biological structures and the solar system hint to phenomena that exist partly outside of our human control or understanding. Some systems such as maps and landscape features can organize by the human hand.  Others such as galaxies and some bacteria do not allow for human intervention. 

While referencing the symbols and familiar structures of these various systems, my work is not meant to actually document anything in particular. I’m not interested in reconstructing those systems and patterns as they are, but to present them as fascinating structures that can be pondered simply for their aesthetic wonder and implication.

Educational Philosophy

I view my job as an educator to be more than just a conduit to impart knowledge. Whether it be
a studio course or art history class, my goal is to challenge the student to appreciate the creative,
idiosyncratic part of themselves. I want for students to attain the skills, art vocabulary and self confidence to feel aspirational in their creative directions. I want students to be inspired by and react to current artists and those that came before them. Encouraging students to notice the common struggles that are present within any creative medium is a first step. I want for students to have a respect for art history but not feel bound by it.

Students must learn the formal skills, then decide how to use them to create an experience that
only they can share. Strong formal drawing skills alone can be visually sterile without the
important trace of personal expression.

Students come away from their education empowered when they can also learn to digest
constructive criticism and know how to use the feedback to better inform future work. Critique
should never be seen as a means to inhibit. It is quite the opposite. Constructive criticism should
be the welcomed additional and necessary ingredients to an on-going process of making.