You’ll want to “zoom” in on this week’s Teacher Feature as we focus on Professor Tony Pinto of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. From Introductory to Photography to Digital Manipulation class, see how Professor Pinto captures art through photography.
Tell us about yourself
Hello Coastline! I’m Tony Pinto and I am an Adjunct Professor in Coastline College’s Visual and Performing Arts Department and this is my fifth year teaching.
In addition to teaching at Coastline, I also teach graphic design classes at Irvine Valley College, and have taught at Chapman University, California State University, Fullerton, and California State University, Los Angeles.
What do you love about teaching at Coastline?
I love the diversity of the students at Coastline — In addition to “regular” college students, we have everyone in between such as high school, military and retirees. Due to the wide range of experiences in the classroom, students tend to share with each other and the experience is deeper and richer than in more traditional university classrooms (where I have also taught).
Another reason is that the campus is beautiful! The Newport Beach Campus hosts spectacular views of the ocean and Catalina Island. While this might not affect what happens in the classroom that much, it’s just a really nice place to go to school. Between classes, I frequently visit the patio and sit in the sun for a bit. Also, the Art Department faculty are all amazing and filled with committed teachers and terrific people.
I honestly love teaching because it’s a thrill to share my experiences and insights with students and then watch them run with it and develop their own passions and skills.
What is unique about your class and teaching style?
My teaching approach is based in “learn by doing.” First off, we start with lectures about what we are doing, explanations of why we are doing it, and demonstrations of how to do it. Next, I allow students plenty of time to actually do it in class, so I can assist and answer any questions they might have. On art projects, I encourage students to help each other out, build a community and create friendships within the classroom. When it comes to art, photography, or design, a “hands-on” approach is essential to the learning process.
Interesting and unknown facts student may not know about you?
While my MFA was in Painting, my MFA Thesis Exhibition was entirely photographic. Some of those thesis pieces were shown at my 2018 solo show at the Coastline Art Gallery called “Modern History.”
For the past several years, my art practice has consisted of one large series titled “Artist Seen,” which is portraiture of artists, in both photos and paintings. I have had two solo shows of this work, one in 2017 and another in 2018. The series is ongoing; at this point, I have photographed about 170 artists.
In addition to being an exhibiting artist, I am also a creative director/graphic designer, and have an award-winning design firm in partnership with my wife, Adrienne Grace, called Vim & Vigor.
Part of this class is working with photography digitally, and I have been using Photoshop since the early 1990s! I have always used photography for my art and professional work, and have shot with everything from an iPhone to a Hasselblad to a 4×5. Currently, my camera is a Nikon D610, which is what I use to photograph my “Artist Seen” series. In Art C212, one thing we will learn is how to light photos, using both natural light and flashes.
Three tips you have for Coastline students
- Show up. By that I mean attend all your classes, because every time you miss a class you are missing valuable instruction; and when you are in class, be present — actually be there, in the moment, not on your phone or the internet.
- Read the directions completely and follow them! I’m always amazed when students turn in work that is wrong or incomplete because they didn’t bother to fully read the directions for that assignment. Read the directions, then re-read them. Ask questions if you are confused. Then get started.
- Do the work. Here is a quote from artist Chuck Close: “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.” What Close is essentially saying is that by doing work, it will lead you to create work that you would never have thought of otherwise. Work generates ideas and takes you in unplanned directions. If you’re not inspired, that doesn’t matter; just do something and see where it takes you. Getting started is the hardest part!
Where can students find you?
Students can find me or my work at the following:
- Art website: tonypinto.net
- Graphic design website: vandvcreative.com
- “Artist Seen” Instagram: @tonypintophoto
- More personal Instagram: @thetonypinto
About the Teacher Feature series.
Coastline College proudly highlights its renowned faculty through the Teacher Feature blog series. This week’s feature showcases Professor Pinto, Visual and Performance Art Department.
Enjoy learning about Coastline’s greatest? Check out the previously highlighted #TeacherFeatures. Your future instructor may be amongst the featured!