Creative passion becomes profession
The best advice Myron Campbell has for his students is to create the work you want to be paid for and the doors will start opening for you. That’s the path he’s followed as an artist, and it has lead him to a career of joy and fulfillment.
Campbell is a thriving artist and a professor in the division of Visual Arts at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO). His journey began at Medicine Hat College (MHC) in the Visual Communications diploma program, which has since become Bachelor of Applied Arts – Art and Design.
“Medicine Hat College is a little gem. I first heard about the institution from my junior high art teacher and after high school, I went to the city to visit a friend who was taking the program. I absolutely loved it there,” says Campbell.
“Medicine Hat was the perfect size and not too big which was desirable to me having grown up in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. The facility had high end equipment and 24 hour access - both were unprecedented at the time. The program was well rounded in that I could pursue my own personal art, as well as client-based work at the same time. I knew it was the perfect fit for me.”
Campbell acknowledges the program as being influential in shaping him into the artist he is today, crediting the vast array of modalities, skills, and techniques he was exposed to during his time at the college.
“MHC’s program is unique in that it offers a real balance of both fine arts training and design training. It’s pretty rare to get that balance in a program, and the college does a great job of it,” he explains.
“It’s an ideal academic pathway for someone like me who can’t decide what type of artist I am on any given day. I was introduced to every medium possible and then built up my practice to what suited me. I received a real broad training which was so awesome.”
Early in his career, Campbell began mentoring students at the Vancouver Film School, which evolved into an opportunity to teach night classes. He quickly fell in love with being back in the classroom and was later inspired to pursue further education himself. In 2010, he attained his Masters of Applied Arts: Media Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, the final piece that lead to his beloved work as a professor at UBCO.
Campbell praises a professor he had at MHC, Rory Mahony, as a huge inspiration and driving force behind where he is today.
“I remember him saying to me how much of a gift being an instructor in post-secondary is because you’re inspired by your students every day and you grow immensely as an artist, designer and practitioner. Teaching creative studies is where I belong. I’m forever being fulfilled and inspired by my students,” remarks Campbell.
As Mahony was influential in guiding Campbell’s career, he hopes to play a similar role for the students he teaches, leading by example and sharing insight he’s learned as an artist over the years.
“I tell my students that it’s best to start by making your own projects, creating the work you want to be paid for. That’s what attracts the right clients and if you put your time in, opportunities will come and suddenly you’re getting paid to create the work you’re passionate about. I filled all of my spare time with making my own work, the projects I felt were the most fun and most fulfilling.”
One of the ongoing projects Campbell has created is a series titled Ghosts of Robert Lake. The collection is inspired by a small lake he passes by each day as he cycles to and from work. Intrigued by the natural salt water lake surrounded by agricultural land, Campbell learned it was home to many endangered plants, species, and birds, and itself is in jeopardy.
Campbell will return to MHC this fall to showcase his exhibit in the One on One Gallery. A reception for the show will be announced at a later date.
Looking to pursue a career in creativity? Click here to learn more about art and design education at MHC.