This morning, Alex Ruiz asked me, What would it mean to you if you could make a living creating art?


This may seem like I’m dodging the question, but the key is what you mean by “making a living” and what you mean by “art.”

I make a living as a biology professor and I create art. But I also feel there is an “art” to teaching.

My work is often analogous to that of artists that try to communicate their perceptions and their meaning by guiding observers as they look at their art work. I try to evoke interest, attention, and hopefully, transformative insights in my students.  I live for the spontaneous “oh, now I get it!” comments as students and I discuss our subject.

The cultural traditions of art as a career seem remote from those of most other professions, but not if you dig deeply enough. In other words, you can make an art of any activity and it will be just as satisfying.  You can make “a virtue of necessity” and find qualities in life that could not have been anticipated if you followed a traditional “career path” and you will be the richer for it.”

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