Anysa Saleh

How did your experiences at CSUB help you find your first position after graduation?

 My experience at CSUB was unique. I started off as a psychology major with a constantly changing minor that lived in the business administration world. I remember the day I decided to take an art class. I need extra units and wanted an easy class. This decision ended up changed my life. George Ketterl was my first art professor and he is the reason I am an artist today. His class was inclusive and welcomed all ideas. This experience was freeing! I came from a place of matter of fact and George taught me to question all perspectives. This tool was helpful during graduate school and in my career as an art educator. I questioned the way we teach children about art and helped influence the curriculum at the school where I taught. The CSUB Art Department will always be a home to me. The professors shaped and molded the artist I am today. They prepared me for the hardest most stressful career out there! Joey Kotting, Sarah Vanderlip, Drew, Rebecca Weller, Joyce Kohl, Dan, and Horse were my CSUB educational experience, and I am so thankful to them.

 What career advice would you give our students?

 I would tell anyone who is interested in a career in the arts to never let anyone fill their process with doubt. Graduate school was a strenuous time for me because critiques were rough. Not because my peers did not like my work but because they questioned my every decision and had the nerve to ask me to rethink my decisions. Of course, I did not. An artist has to trust her ideas. So my only advice is never stop trusting your ideas. If you have something in mind then make it. Once it is made then decide whether the world needs to see or not. But don’t ever stop making because you doubt the idea.

 How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today? Was there a pivotal moment?

 I decided to have two careers. My artistic practice and a career in arts education for grades K-5. I introduce myself as an artist, but I am very much a teacher. This realization about myself came after graduate school when I spent some time volunteering at schools without fine arts programs. The schools considered coloring pages as art time. It was then that I decided my passion for art and education could really help enrich children. So I introduced creative problem solving, junk art, drawing still life, and movie making courses. It felt great to teach so I pursued it full time.

 What do you attribute your success to?

 I attribute my success to the way I was raised. My mother is the strongest, boldest woman I know. She gave me thick skin and allowed me to challenge all barriers including the ones she created for me. I come from a strict Yemeni Muslim family. This doesn’t make my career choices in the arts easy. Also, the art world decides what is interesting to the world. My sometimes stubborn and bold trait helps me deal with this a lot.

 How do you foster creative and innovative thinking within your organization?

 I read and follow what is going on in the world today then think about how our communities are being affected. This helps me visualize ways I can document art and decide who are the viewers I am trying to reach.

 What are the most important decisions that you face daily as a leader in your organization?

 I have a list of questions I ask myself when making a piece. These questions help me make important decisions about who my viewer is and why the subject or idea is worth making art about.

 What have you accomplished or overcame in the past that you thought was impossible at the time?

 I am the first college graduate in my family. Graduate school seemed like something I could only dream about. This is an accomplishment I am very proud of.

 What hardships did you face, and how did you overcome them?

 Hardships do not worry me. I trust they are in my life for a reason and I have always been able to overcome them. A career as an artist and educator both come with loads of hardships. I overcome them by staying motivated and focused.  

 Who is a person that you considered as a role model early in your life?

 I grew up with two strong women in my life. My mother and sister were my role models. They both taught me to be determined and brave.

 Where do you expect to be in five years both personally and professionally?

 In five years I would love to teach at the university level and continue to make art.