Brad Whitney, MFA

For me, interior design is a Place. I like to call it a Place rather than a thing or major or profession simply because interior design is full of possibilities - it is a Place where experiences are formed and remembered. Just about any area of human knowledge flows into this Place.

By nature, I am an artist. I use a variety of media to help me better understand the Place where I am. This requires a great deal of effort in learning to see the world around me differently, to change my own position so I could better understand the many aspects of this Place that go unnoticed if only seen from one point of view. Seeing the entire picture at once is really hard, but attempting to see it from different angles can be really fun and extremely worthwhile. 

I currently teach 2nd Year Interior Design Studio and Material and Methods for Interior Design. These two courses are a perfect balance of "Why I do what I do". Second year interior design studies is both a bridge and a "spatial catalyst" between the abstract conceptions of Design Foundations and the technical knowledge areas of upper level interior design courses that are necessary for interior design practice. Materials and Methods is the coolest lecture class by far! The course discusses numerous materials to improve our quality in life. From the beginning of human history to the "newest and greatest" materials used today and dreamed about for tomorrow, we discuss aspects of those materials and their impact on our physical, psychological and emotional well being. As an artist who teaches interior design, I honeslty find the energy in second year to be extremely synergistic to my own creativity.

On why I do what I do...

There are two core reasons why I make art and both are hard to put into words. First, I simply love the act of making – be it ‘hands-on’ making or ‘capturing’ a moment in time snatched from a camera or manipulated via computer. As far back as I can trace the joy that comes from bringing a thought or idea to life has been the single most consistent force in my life. Whether drawing, painting, photography, digital art or animation, I feel most alive and connected to something greater than myself when I’m in The Moment.

The second reason that drives me to continually “make” is to establish meaningful interactions with others –  a  fundamental force that overlaps into my teaching. Throughout my work I try to establish moments or events that require me and the viewer (or student) to simultaneously participate in the experience or place of now. In my design and art, I work in both imagined and real space and I ask the viewer to consider the place where we truly are; to engage the viewer in conversation so I may deepen in my own knowledge of what it means to be human. As a teacher of interior design, I shift this philosophy to studio where I hope to impart  a very important message: that  decisions made during the design process  have great impact on the lives of the people we design for. Design is not a product, it is a process and the more one understands the complexities of the process - designing without ego - the more effective and enriching the outcome for everyone. Within the studio, understanding arises from  discovery and discussion which, characteristically, is organic and circular in nature – meaning, if one asks a question one most likely has a sense of the answer. By facilitating or enabling particular circumstances in studio, my aim is to engage a student toward more meaningful thought  processes and deeper internal discovery rather than merely pointining students to answers or encouraging solutions that comfortably fit within a student's preconceived sphere of knowledge.

Currently, I am in total love with all things related to photography and digital imaging. The aspect of “immersive experience” is something I constantly strive for when I have camera in hand. Right  now, SCUBA is my number one passion; some say an obsession. Combining my photography with the underwater world has been a positive force in my life. I am thankful for these wonderful moments and am engaged in exhibiting underwater photographic works or work inspired by the underwater world. Over the years, I can see how my photography has influenced my painting and drawing as well as vice-a-versa. Most artists who work in different mediums will recognize this pattern. Yet, along the way I have had to conquer fears regarding learning new technologies or techniques, methods that are capable to broaden m palette of visual expression. Sometimes the cliché is true: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but I always find a way to tear down those sorts of preconceived limitations. In turn, the culmination of these experiences has given me a strong footing for my teaching – an understanding that the teaching/learning process is very similar to the design/making process. So I say, ride the wave and since you have no choice not to ride it, why not enjoy it?

Got questions? Contact me at whitneyb@vt.edu

 

Places you can find me ...

www.bradwhitney.com

Facebook

Flickr

 

Favorite spots I visit often ...

Tree Hugger

Inhabitat

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