Joseph J. Tucker Artist/educator

My name is Joseph J. Tucker and I was born in Berlin, New Jersey in nineteen forty eight.

Self-Portrairt (oil on canvas)

When growing up, my family moved often because of my father's employment and I attended many many schools in many states over a period of many years. I do not remember having art, either in elementary school in New Jersey, or in any of the many high schools that I attended. Although, i had always enjoyed drawing, for me it was a natural form of expression and something that I was compelled to do.

self-Portrait ( graphite on paper)

After high school, I had attempted to further my education , but it was not meant to be. One day and much to my father's dismay, I joined the army. Vietnam was occurring at that time and although I was initially sent to Germany, I eventually went to Vietnam, where I would spend over a year before being released from active duty. When looking back and thinking about my Vietnam experience, I simply feel great sadness for what I believe to be a misuse of the American spirit and the many men and women in uniform.

The day before I was to get on that plane for Vietnam, I was talking to my dad on a phone when a soldier walked near where I was standing. He was on crutches and only had one foot. At that moment, I shared this with my dad and he said to me "son, if you think that you should refuse to go, speak up".

I was shocked to hear my dad say those words and in hindsight, I now realize that refusing to go required a courage that I did not possess. At that time, I was simply blinded by the flag.

Blinded by the Flag (mixed media)

While in Vietnam, my aunt, who was teaching college at that time, sent me an application and encouraged me to apply. Not yet understanding my need for visual expression and unsure of my direction, I returned to school and received a BA in Sociology. It was only after completing school and still unaware of the direction in which I needed to go, did I years later return to school to study art and art education.

(Left to right) Ms. C, Shane and Miss Bloom (graphite on paper)

After completing my art studies and acquiring my New York art teaching license, I was fortunate to have gained some wonderful professional experience in film as a scenic intern which resulted in an letter of introduction to the scenic painters union in New York City. At that time, I I also worked on an Alexander Calder exhibit at one of New Yorks' fine museums. Ultimately though, I chose to teach art because I believe that art is important and could possibly play an important role in a young childs' intellectual and cognitive development.

Although art was my primary focus, I went on to acquire teaching licenses in Elementary Education and English as a Second Language as well. These credentials allowed me to acquire licenses in three states in the northeast. Primarily working with second language learners for years, art always played a large part in my teaching an over time a personal educational philosophy began to emerge.

Shoes (oil on canvas)

Teaching has been a wonderful learning experience and I am committed to what I believe to be the importance of the arts to the personal and cognitive growth of our children. My philosophy has developed through my own experiences and is something that has evolved over time. It is based on Howard Gardner and his writings about learning styles, philosopher John Dewey and his theory of experiencial learning, the colors of artist Alexander Calder and the abstraction of artist Hans Hoffman. Recent writings and discussions about guided confidence have reinforced my teaching by putting a name to what I do on a dailey basis.

I do not have studies that support my theory of the importance of the arts to our children, only experiences! Please support the arts.

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Joseph Tucker
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