My friend and I did a short-term project called The Artist Statement where we tasked ourselves to find creativity in traditionally "non-art" spaces. As creatives, we felt that artistic thinking exists everywhere and that everyone has the capacity to think out of the box and imagine new processes, futures, and ways of being.
Below is an interview I conducted with my former Latin teacher and the illustration inspired subsequently.
INTERVIEW: Making Ancient Connections 
June 2 2018

We’ve resurfaced from the abyss to bring you our first humble Artist Statement interview with a former Latin teacher. In respect, we would like to keep the name anonymous. Below we asked some questions to understand the creativity and leadership needed to bring life to an ancient world, and to inspire students to make ‘ancient connections’ in their daily lives.

1) We’d love to hear about the work you love to do, past and present. How did you start and why do you love it?
I loved being a teacher– a Latin teacher, at that. I became entranced with the ancient Greek and Roman world first in fifth grade (learning a bit about the Trojan War and 5th century B.C. Greeks) and then in high school while studying Latin. My appreciation for ancient painting, sculpture and architecture was furthered by reading some classical works in the original Latin.
In college my further study of Latin was short-circuited when I segued into Russian studies.
Many (many) years later I found myself drawn back to Latin and the classics, and obtained teacher certification in Latin. What good fortune for me to have found a teaching position that allowed me to try to excite younger students (first middle school and then high school) with the wonder of learning a new language and through it, an appreciation for the ancient Greco-Roman civilization.  
I found that teaching is a two-way street: I was ever delighted by and grateful for the enthusiasm and “Eureka moments” of  my students. In turn, I learned so much from many of them.

2) Three words that best describe you? 
I leave that to others.

3) What are the top three skills needed to succeed in your work, and why?
As a teacher, clearly one needs to be proficient in the subject area. To connect with students, one should view each person in class as the individual he/she is and be aware of interests or problems in his/her life.  Having a sense of humor and encouraging students to “think outside the box”, even/especially to correct my mistakes were important to making the class enjoyable for teacher and students (I hope). Also, important to try to start each day/class with the sense of “tabula rasa”– that is, do not hold a grudge for previous poor behavior on any one person’s part.

4) How do you use creativity in your work?
Artistic creativity was not in my wheelhouse. However, I tried to allow students to demonstrate THEIR creativity in various ways: composing/performing verses on a theme (“Thermae Romae”); illustrating various readings; writing a speech in a certain (Ciceronian) style.  Also, I tried to extend students’ sense of the continuing influence of the classical world by asking them to note “ancient connections” in our daily life (e.g. architecture, commercial slogans/symbols, references in news articles and opinion pieces).

5) In what ways can you see or have seen art merging with your profession or other non-art professions?
In teaching art can be and is very useful.  Showing examples  of (ancient or ancient-themed) art  on a projector or better yet, passing around a piece of art (or replica) helps students to imagine part of “life” for the ancients in question. It is even better for students to  create their own interpretation of discussed or researched topics.

6) Do you see yourself as an “artist” in your field? In a parallel universe, what kind of artist would you be? 
I do not see myself as “an artist in my field.”  But I truly appreciate and admire those who create art. If possible, I would like to sculpt (e.g. in clay).

7) What is something you would most like to teach others?
I would like to have been a better teacher in my field–to inspire more students for learning in general, in “Latin/ancient studies” specifically, and to be considerate civic-minded citizens.

8) Now for a couple of fun questions. Do you have a favorite:
1)  green   2) circle   3) classical music  4) ancient architects/builders, sculptors; Mozart, Beethoven

9) If you can represent yourself in one image, what would it be?
Have never considered myself as n image

10) What is your artist’s statement?
Hmmmm (nescio)
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