By Day By Night is an interview series that profiles graphic design tutors from design schools throughout New Zealand. We learn about their role as a teacher and their own personal design practice.
Today we hear from Scott Savage Colleen Pugh who work at Yoobee Colleges School of Design Auckland Campus.
Scott and Colleen are a married couple who now work in the same organization in the same job. It sounds like a recipe for a lot of bickering but they assure us that they mostly get along fine apart from the odd disagreement.
What is your official title at work?
We are both Level 6 Graphic Design Tutor at Yoobee Colleges but Scott is also Assistant Head of Faculty.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background, your career path, and how you got into teaching?
We both went straight into teaching design from studying at different higher eductions institutions. Scott worked at Otago University before leaving to work as a freelance designer. Colleen lectured at Edinburgh College of Art before leaving to get experience in several design agencies while also travelling (back when we could still go places). Scott started working for Yoobee in 2016 after relocating from Dunedin to Auckland. Colleen started in late 2019 so is still new to the role.
The DA team loved your recycled Jacinda and Ashley figurines… can you tell us a little about how this lockdown project developed?
Thank you, it’s great that people have been enjoying the recycled sculptures. The project started quite organically, when lockdown started we know we would still be working but had a bit of a break from teaching to set up at home. To keep students motivated we started running a ‘create every day’ challenge. Colleen has long been obsessed with the recycled models made by graphic design legend Alan Fletcher, which we took as inspiration to make one of her own. Using rubbish/recycling seems appropriate at the moment, never has there been a better time to be resourceful with the materials at hand. Usually, any work we do outside of teaching is for a client or with a project in mind. It’s been creatively liberating to play with forms, materials and just have fun with no agenda and no expectations.
Outside of teaching hours what other creative projects and/or research are you involved with?
Scott likes to stay away from computers when he’s not teaching, he spends a lot of his free time making designer toys which are small scale collectible sculptures rather than toys a child would play with. All of his pieces are hand made but people often assume they are 3D printed. Colleen does a mix of projects outside of work including illustration and freelance curation work.
How does your personal practice feed into your role as an educator?
We both believe that you become creative by being creative. It would be challenging to teach a creative subject without maintaining some form of artistic practice.
What are you inspired by, and how do you keep the momentum for your personal work alive?
Like most creatives, we both have ups and down with our art. Creative flow and creative block are two sides of the same coin. It’s maybe a graphic designer trait but we both work well under pressure and find that deadlines are a good way to get work done. In terms of inspiration, it’s always a fine line between keeping an eye on what’s going on in the art world without getting too obsessive. It’s important to try and maintain your voice as well as your point of view, that’s always an important lesson to teach students as well.
How do you balance these two roles (educator and practitioner)? Are there any particular benefits and/or challenges?
Teaching is a very rewarding job but like any people-focused career it’s often hard to leave work in the office, that’s an even bigger challenge at the moment while working from home under lockdown. This means making time for personal work can often be a challenge. The upside, apart from getting to know so many interesting young adults, is getting to learn on the job. There are opportunities to learn new skills or theories every day.
What are the best bits about working at Yoobee?
We’ve both come from teaching at more academic institutions and we’ve both found that Yoobee offers a very jam-packed course, our students differently get the chance to learn more in less time. Yoobee is also very focused on tutor time in the classroom which means you get to build strong bonds with the students we teach.
And, finally, where can we see more of your own work?
The best place to see our up to date projects, as well as our cute dogs, is on instagram @goodawful and @dearcolleen