Visiting AssistantProfessor of Art Tim Stedman teaches 2-D Design in the new Whitcomb Art Center. (Photo courtesy of Cassie Womack)
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Tim Stedman had already had a successful career as a graphic designer by the time he enrolled at Knox as a non-traditional student.
Stedman originally graduated from Art Institute of Houston in 1983 with an Associate’s Degree in Advertising Design. After graduation, he decided to move to Los Angeles.
“I’d always longed for the West Coast even as a kid growing up, probably because I’d watch it on television, all those shows, like I want to be a Brady Bunch kid or something. We had a beach in Houston but it wasn’t as nice as the one in Los Angeles,” he said with a laugh. “I was really fortunate — I moved out there and I met great people really quickly.”
In Los Angeles, he worked as a freelance graphic designer with a focus on the entertainment business. Stedman said his designs for Roy Orbison’s last album “set him on the map as a music person.” He went on to work for artists like Blink-182, New Found Glory and Shirley Manson.
Stedman eventually decided to leave his life in Los Angeles and head to the midwest.
“I wanted to change everything in my life around a little bit,” he said. “I had also, I don’t want to say regretted, but had longed for a traditional college education.”
He chose Knox to be closer to his family and because the idea of a liberal arts education appealed to him. Although his status as a non-traditional student made him stand out, he quickly found his element.
“I didn’t want to be like the non-traditional student that’s just sort of dabbling in college, like, I really wanted to be in college,” he said. “I made fast friends right away. And I had really great, generous friends who really, with my work, kind of helped mitigate that difference and really accepted me, and I had a great time.”
Stedman graduated from Knox in 2009 with a B.A. in Studio Art and Visual Culture Theory. In 2011, while earning his Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Stedman heard about an available teaching job at Knox. He applied and after a long wait, finally heard back.
“It was literally like two weeks before my MFA show, so like the worst time in the world, when they contacted me and said, ‘could you develop a 45 minute talk and teach a demo class?’” Stedman said. “So I came back, and I think it was a day or two later they called and said, well actually you have the job if you want. It was great!”
Stedman acknowledged that there are significant differences between being a student and being a professor.
“It’s definitely different to be leading a class than to just be a member of the class,” he said. However, he still feels a connection to his students. “I do think knowing their experience helps.”