Learning Is Worth Doing Every Day

John-Paul - Tacoma, Washington
Entered on November 8, 2005
Age Group: 18 - 30
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My oldest memory is that of a set of encyclopedias in my grandmother’s living room. At the youthful age of three, I could not understand the grey matter that filled each page of those volumes into a woven pattern of words, but I could understand the imagery. Our most basic and effective form of communication was as clear to me then as it is now.

I believe in the visual arts and the means of communication as the tools at our disposal. My curiosity for learning never ceased and so continues my passion for education to this day, through teaching. I believe that it is in education that we can become better individuals and a better society as a whole. A world that is educated is a world that is united — and in the information age, the visual arts play a central role. But to say that the arts will save us is to simplify a greater calling, for the strongest asset I have as a graphic designer is not my eyes, but what is behind my eyes: my brain.

The means to think, create computations and express my thoughts and emotions is a stronger tool than any army might wield. I believe in art with content and therefore, art that captures the individual in his brain, and in his heart.

I tell my design students that design without content is nothing more than a pretty picture without an audience. I believe that I cannot create content without experience, so my birthdays represent some of the best chapters in my design research. Some notable episodes include Chapter 12, a birthday party where I learned friendship is more valuable than presents; Chapter 18, being proud and making someone proud by accomplishing so much; Chapter 21, falling in love with my wife and adding a new volume to my research.

I believe that each person’s life contains chapters of valuable material to learn from. I would not be the artist, educator, husband, Latino I am today without the supportive beauty of my wife, without the laughter of my father, without the open heart of my mother and without the wealth of knowledge of my grandmother who believes that learning is worth doing every day of her life.