Digital Art and Design
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Michael Scott Hull
VISITING ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Department of Digital Art and Design
College of Arts & Sciences
Old Westbury, Long Island Campus
Michael Scott Hull (go by Scott) has been awarded a B.A.S. in administration at Daytona State College, M.F.A. in media design with an emphasis on motion graphics and 3D animation at Full Sail University, in addition to an M.A. in Instructional Design IT-eLearning.
Scott also holds a professional certificate in Modeling and Simulations.
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
Yes, several; the first was the realization of my God-given talent. It was the day I picked up a crayon at the age of 5 and started drawing with my father. We drew owls, they were simple shapes with strong weighted lines. He was my inspiration and my support, his style during that time was whimsical and strong and he always supported me. So, from that point on all I did was create, in some form or another. I started taking several art classes focusing on traditional mediums ranging from graphite, watercolor, acrylics, airbrush, and pottery. This took up my weekends and chances to surf with my friends. So, you can imagine that sometimes I just wanted to quit or just complain. Yet, for some reason, I stuck it out.
The second quickening happened years later. I ran into a mentor of mine from high school and we talked over coffee about teaching and making an impact on someone’s life. He claimed that “there was nothing more satisfying than guiding a student to become what he/she was destined to be.” Then he asked me something, “what did I want to be when I was five years old?” I told him, “an artist.” “Why,” he asked? I said, “to change the world.” He laughed and asked, “have you?” That question was simple and straightforward but it opened my eyes to the value of teaching. Perhaps I can pass on my abilities and inspire a new generation to believe in themselves and change the world. This has been my mission ever since.
I truly love teaching and I am truly blessed to share in my student’s unique and creative journeys. After all, this is a new generation of young artists. They think differently, they act differently, the tools they manipulate are different. Although their canvas is pixelated and electronic it still offers the freedom for creativity. I believe today’s technology-based artists will be the future Rembrandts and I want to be a part of something that great.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
Being a professional in a non-artistic capacity is in my opinion somewhat easy. This statement is not to diminish the importance of a comprehensive professional. Yet, there is a big difference between a creative field and a comprehensive type of field. For example; if an accountant is ill and cannot make it to work what would happen? Perhaps his job is with a large organization and they need to have his work completed. Then that organization can simply pick up the phone and call a temporary worker that can add numbers correctly. In the same situation dealing with an artist, there are tremendous areas that are proprietary to a single person. An artist has his/her techniques, style, tactile control, vision, mood, and passion to list just a few. The ability to replace such individually honed skills is very unlikely. This sets us aside from other professional careers.
Understanding the quandary above prepares me to share some of the importance of a creative career. Artists are sensitive to challenges in many cases they welcome a large challenge if it aligns with their creative side. Yet, they are distraught and perhaps withdrawn from a challenge that is less creative based. Having struggled at times as an artist allows me the ability to engage with them on this level. In most cases, the students have had to put up with friends and family perhaps telling them that an art career is useless, that they will not make money. In some cases, this is true but It’s usually self-chosen. In the creative world if you are driven by the money you will have a long road ahead of you. However, if you are driven because you must create, you need to create, and you follow that road; then you are already rich.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
Creating a sequential storyboard exemplifies my mentoring. Encouraging the students with the opportunity to voice their stories and experiences is an exercise that I am honored to share. The artistic students today are crazy talented and even more shocking is that they have a story. They have a goal; now sometimes that goal can be large and cumbersome. This can create frustration, however, as I encourage the students to get organized and consolidate throughout a storyboard they seemed to become more grounded. This practice allows the artist a detailed look into their individual concepts.
Storyboards are fluid and dynamic, which emulates my teaching style. As an artist, we must be improvisational as well as open to new and crazy ideas. As a teacher, I offer these attributes within my classroom within restrictions. Mostly, if the idea for a concept is logical and productive and above all achievable then I will approve it.
Engaging with a student on a creative level can be delicate. On one hand, as an instructor, you want to adhere to the core competencies for them to be productive and on the other, you do not want to stifle their creativity. This dilemma can be tricky. Therefore, allowing myself the ability to be fluid within my teaching styles ensures my ability to maintain engagement.
I have witnessed amazing creative concepts through a storyboard tool as well as witnessing the almost calming effect a student has after getting their story organized and finally on paper. The great Mr. Rogers carried a note in his pocket given to him by a social worker. The note said, “Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.” This statement is so very true and I remember it each quarter when I am introduced to my students. Each and every one unique to each other and ready to create.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
I teach animation and within that focus the artist needs help. It is tough enough for the students to conceive, prepare, assess, research, and develop, and then on top of that, they must post-produce their media. This is the area when collaborations are a must. The animators will collaborate with visual FX students, audio students, as well as film students for final editing. This area of the production pipeline takes time, so in most cases, I plan on about three weeks of full collaboration within different programs at the college. Not only does this interaction lift the student’s projects to the next level. It also allows students to create relationships for future professional projects after graduation.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
I believe that there are several areas of importance when it comes to a creative career. One of the attributes I want my students to acquire is a solid work ethic. I want them to become disciplined not only with their creative talents but also in their ability to accomplish what they say they can do. Your word as an artist is all you have.
Other areas of importance I try to instill.
It is a different world with unique job positions. A student may have crazy creative talent but they must also understand that the team or person hiring them; must like them.
Make a reel so filled with the “Wow Factor” that the company or team you are desiring to work for must hire you. (meaning you are so talented they cannot say no)
Utilize what that can do. (Use your special talents)
Anything else you’d like to share?
If you are crazy talented or you have a son or daughter that is creatively gifted. Then send them to study with me. Let me and the other instructors inspire and challenge them.