RJ (Robert Jerome) Sullivan
MA Art Education, University of Florida
BA Fine Art, University of South Florida
Key Professional Appointments
Daytona State College, Daytona Beach, FL
Art Appreciation Instructor Aug 2015 – Present
The Art Appreciation course (ARH1000) is designed to help the learner establish a foundation for understanding visual art from historical to contemporary perspectives.
Adult Education Instructor May 2009 – Sep 2012
Instructing students for preparation of TABE and GED tests. Instrumental in development of curriculum; language, reading and math instruction. Conducted classes on the DBC campus as well as at Tomoka Corrections for incarcerated individuals.
Selected Art Works and Shows
South East Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC, 1987 Venus.dgn mixed media; selected in juried competition by Atlanta’s High Museum’s curator Susan Krane.
Daytona Beach Art League Achievement Award, 2011 The Chair acrylic
Daytona Beach Art League Men At Work III June 2012 exhibited in annual show with 3 other artists
Halifax Art Festival work chosen Beach Street Morning for promotion of the festivals' 50th anniversary.
I have also worked in web development and consulting for corporate and non-profit foundation organizations such as GaryNader.com (Gary Nader Fine Art Gallery, Coral Gables) FLIFF.com (Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival) LEF.org (Life Extension Foundation)WordWiseDrills.com (Vocabulary Building Website). Additionally, I worked in the emerging digital graphics industry in the architectural and engineering sectors i.e. Army Corp of Engineers, Daniel Frankfurt Architects & Engineers NYC, Duke Power, FLDOT, RJ Reynolds, & PPG in a consultation capacity and made guest speaker appearances at trade shows and company demonstrations discussing the implementation and benefits of the technology.
Visited art centers in Rome, Florence, Venice, Nice, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and London, as well as Central and South America. (Spent the spring and summer of 1998 busking –playing guitar in the streets- in Nice, France and the resorts around Lago Maggiore in Italy and Switzerland)
Guest speaker at Florida Literacy Council, Adult Community Educators (ACE of Florida) 2010; Topic: Education in Prisons
Research and Interests
Music and contemporary culture
Social justice, progressive ideas
Education, the value of smaller classroom sizes see ClassSizeMatters.org
Education in prisons (reducing recidivism and crime rates)
Art Appreciation/History Online Learning Unit
The Work Flow Unit was designed by RJ Sullivan for use in the high school and state college level art history classes. It utilizes the wealth of peer reviewed, as well as reputably published, articles and videos available on the Internet in order to coordinate a comprehensive lesson on what it is the artist does and the history that coincides. The unit also discusses the not so simple idea of what is now considered artwork and art making and will analyze the artist as worker, observer and commentator.
Education Theory Statement
The Socratic influenced notion that it's more important to know the right questions than to know the right answers is my classroom mantra. Despite years of social progress towards the democratization of education, it appears the classroom is no longer a place to ask the right questions, but rather a place to fill one's mind with numbers and statistics to be retrieved at test time…to “deliver the goods” in much the way one does in business. Also, it seems there has been a deviation from the notion that education is a "public good" and an individual’s "right", and as noted by the consistent decrease in funding, the arts and the humanities have seen diminished worthiness as academic pursuits.
In these contemporary times where radical individualism and privatization are challenging what democracy is or means, or even questioning whether democracy is something that our society has ever really truly been interested in perusing, it is important that education is not only about issues of "training" and "career". The arts and humanities, history and sociology are not seen as instrumental in what a leaner needs to know in order to become good wage earners, and therefore, a “techschoolification” of higher education has relegated the arts and sociology as somewhat superfluous, or ironically enough, not “serious” academic endeavors. This trend of though is indicative of a greater problem facing our society, that of the abandonment and the discouraging of critical thinking only to be replaced by the mindset of self-promotion, branding and acquiescence to market-place dominance where the “if you’re so smart why aren’t you rich” mindset seems to “trump” classic notions of what it means to be educated.
Finally, my attempt at educating the learner in the visual arts is above all about the principle that education should be about questions of justice, social freedom, and the promoting of a more democratic and truly free society that respects every individual’s right to agency and self-actualization, with the common good being the individual’s ultimate concern. When education is understood as a public good and right regardless of one’s social standing or financial prowess, you get an educated society whereby people are actively engaged agents that utilize critical thinking by questioning the answers and the “givens”. As it’s succeeded in doing in the past, it is important the arts continue to lead this charge and which I endeavor to promote in my art education pursuits.
My exploration in art took me to the University of South Florida where my studio concentration was mainly drawing and print making. While there I was introduced to a really vibrant group of instructors and artists who seemed to have their fingers on the pulse of what was happening in the art world, especially through the Graphic Studio, where artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Dine and James Rosenquist worked. The artists/instructors I studied with and most influenced by at USF were Donald Saff, Theo Wujcik, Jeffrey Kronsnoble, and Jose Rodiero. Graduate student teachers Jake Fernandez and Julio Mateo were great inspiration as well as fellow student Wayne Bryan.
After college I took a job as a technical illustrator. It was while working in this capacity I was introduced to computer graphics. However, my interest in music (did I mention music yet as I had been a guitar player since the age of 8) and writing songs kept me from really pursuing visual art in a very structured and prolific way until the last several years. A good amount of creative energies were spent working with other musicians creating music in the alternative/original music genre that had its roots and inspiration in the punk and Americana genres.
Computer graphics work took me to North Carolina and New York City where I was able to make a decent living in the emerging electronic graphics industry while also creating drawings and paintings as well as playing music. My interest in the computer never eclipsed my desire to make handmade art; in fact the amount of synthetic stimuli in the world today has actually increased my desire and interest in art that uses paint and graphite applied by hand though I am not at all averse to using whatever medium I deem necessary to make art; everything is game.
I have exhibited in Florida, North Carolina and New York City.
(The photo above was taken by Katlyn Coletti on Thanksgiving Day 2012 in my backyard in Bethune Beach, FL.)