Nationally acclaimed artist Robert Aiosa (pictured) has joined the staff of the College of Arts and Humanities School of Visual Arts and Design as an assistant professor in studio art.
Since joining the faculty last semester, Aiosa has been teaching Design Fundamentals Three D, and intermediate sculpting classes; he plans to add special topic courses such as molding and casting, welding, and site-specific installation.
The Windgate Foundation provided funding to grow the studio art program and introduce woodworking to SVAP. The Foundation’s goal is to advance contemporary craft and strengthen visual arts education in the United States through philanthropy.
Aiosa was previously on staff at Graphicstudio at USF in Tampa, an internationally renowned art publisher. Aiosa served as the head of sculpture production where he collaborated with the art world’s leading and emerging artists to produce limited versions of their art. He worked with Diana Al Hadid, Esterio Segura, Bosco Sodi, Abel Barroso and others on editions in a vast array of materials ranging from cast bronze and laser-etched wood to ceramic bricks and concrete.
It was at USF where Aiosa became inspired to extend his talents to teaching student artists.
“I am excited to teach our students in visual arts and design because of their diverse educational interests,” Aiosa says. “Many of our students have a background in computer science or engineering, and when they bring this knowledge and experience into the artistic practice, it becomes dynamic – STEAM, not just STEM.”
Shortly after arriving at UCF, Aiosa met with sculpture professor Byron Clercx, who was in the early stages of acquiring the necessary equipment to introduce steam-bending and stacked laminations to the students. The two techniques allow the students to create curved wood, Aiosa says. Clercx shared his excitement about the processes, Aiosa says.
“Thanks to philanthropy,” Aiosa says, “we can now design a great set-up for steam bending and enable us to experiment and test the limits of the technique. Our students will gain an advanced understanding of the material properties and learn how to choose the right wood for the application.”
UCF’s Visual Arts Building is already equipped with some great technologies for working in wood, Aiosa says. “A large part of my teaching philosophy emphasizes teaching the fundamental knowledge and understanding of material properties and the processes so students can push the limitations and fully experiment with formal and conceptual ideas.” With more options like steam-bending, “Students can start to truly realize their artistic vision and combine woodworking with their other creative interests such as mental work, ceramics, textiles and printmaking,” Aiosa says.
On his wish list for his class? Aisosa says he would love to introduce the lathe to his students. A lathe is used to make cylindrical components out of wood. “I think the students would get a kick out of offset turning as well, it can get complex and wild,” Aiosa says.
To make a gift to the College of Arts and Humanities, please visit: https://foundation.ucf.edu/givetocah
Written by Camille Dolan ’98