Meet Jeremy Waak - Chair of Foundation

Posted by Natalie Lascek on Feb 28, 2019 9:24:49 AM

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Jeremy Waak is the Chair of Foundation at PCA&D. The foundation year, or first year, program is the basis for all students at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. Courses are structured to teach you the fundamentals of art making allowing students to build their skills, techniques, knowledge of historical context, and critical thinking to support their work at every stage in their career.

Jeremy relocated from Murphysboro, Illinois where he worked as a sculptor’s studio assistant for several years after completing graduate school. Both his BFA and MFA degrees are in Metalsmithing, which is a term that covers all manner of metalwork; from jewelry and utilitarian objects to monumental sculpture and architectural components. His personal work takes a variety of forms and fits into many of these areas while maintaining a consistent artistic voice and with a common visual language.

He has worked as a studio artist, artist’s assistant, and a welder. Jeremy began his teaching career in graduate school and further polished those skills teaching people to ride motorcycles through the Motorcycle Rider Program in Illinois. PCA&D is lucky enough to to have had Jeremy as a full-time faculty member for the past 10 years and we are excited to share a Q&A with Jeremy with all of you.

Tell us about your department?
JW: The foundation department is full of exceptional faculty with a passion for teaching beginning, first-time college students.
Why do all students have to go through your department before entering their majors?
JW: The foundation department sees our role as one that prepares our students with a broad and solid arts education that can be applied to any focus area or art industry. Our philosophy is that there are common skills among all artists, designers and creatives that allow them to become nimble problem solvers. It is literally the “Foundation” of skills to build a career in art on.
What are some of the characteristics of students who are most successful in your department?
JW: Passionate, excited, and humble are the three most important attributes displayed by successful foundation students. Their passion drives them to learn as much as possible. A high level of excitement compels them to work through the tough times and stay engaged. And a clear understanding of how much they have yet to learn is the opening to it all.
Have you stayed in touch with any of your students after graduation? 
JW: Yes, I have several that I continue to follow; a couple now teach in the foundation department. One that comes to mind because she has become a friend of mine is Jacqueline Yvonne. After a stellar career here at PCA&D, with one of the best senor shows I’ve seen, she got her MFA from the University of Delaware. Jacquie continues to be active as a sculptor making some pretty impressive work. I now see her as one of my professional colleagues and am super excited to see where she goes next.
Could you share a favorite memory from your experience teaching at PCA&D?
JW: There have been many, but one from this year would have to be when two students, one currently in my class and another from the year before, dressed-up as me for a school-wide costume day. I took selfies with both of them.
If there was one thing you wanted students considering PCA&D and your department to know about the college, what would it be?
JW: Making a career out of a passion can be very hard work. It takes a dedication to continued learning and a flat-out need to make things. It’s also the best way to live a life, in my opinion.
 You can see some of Jeremy's personal work on his website, Instagram, and below.

“AGVC3v1”   Stainless steel, powder-coated, 120”x 72”x 72”, 2018


“AGVC3v1”   With Poncho, my three-legged Border Collie, Stainless steel, powder-coated, 120”x 72”x 72”, 2018

Passon 2
Passon 4

“Passon”   One Kernel Popcorn Popper, Brass, stainless steel, 6”x 6”x 1”, 2013

Post-Industrial Fetish 1

“Post-Industrial Fetish In KTM Orange”   Steel, stainless steel, lacquer finish, 18”x 12”x 14”, 2014


Topics: PCAD, design, bfa, faculty art, Foundation

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