Richard Wilde is chair emeritus after a 50-year career at the School of Visual Arts. He was the founder and chair of the BFA Design Department and chair of the BFA Advertising Department. He has won hundreds of professional awards, including being a laureate of the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame and a laureate of the One Club Hall of Fame. Richard has written several books on design education, documenting the work done in his legendary Visual Literacy class, in addition to publishing more than 30 books. The most recent publication about Richard is Honoring the Legacy of the Wilde Years by Graphis. Richard’s proudest achievement is that during the ten years prior to his retirement, his students won more major awards than all other art schools in the US combined.
Here’s a snippet of the second part of his interview with Graphis:
What percentage of a typical class goes on to create award-winning work? Although award-winning work has found its way into the junior year, for the most part, it is a senior endeavor. For the advertising majors, some 60% achieve this goal. 50% of the motion graphics students also achieve this level of excellence. All the other disciplines average about 40%.
What attracted you to teach at SVA? I was attracted to the energy of the school, and there was a real feeling of possibilities in this evolving environment. I had more freedom than I could ever imagine as a teacher and a chair, and I wholeheartedly took on the responsibility to develop something of consequence. In turn, I passed on this charge to my faculty as the department grew beyond expectations. I began with a handful of students and grew the Design department, which I founded, to over 1,000 students.
What do you think of the way so many people in the creative fields now are without any formal, never mind university-level, training? If this is, in fact, the way that the industry is trending, I certainly see difficulties for these individuals down the road. Not having an education steeped in problem-solving—more specifically, in generating new ideas and formulating them in original ways—will, for many, at some point, stifle their careers. These people will not have the benefit and satisfaction of being able to sustain a lifetime of finding one’s more essential nature through this creative endeavor.