BY ASHTON CALLIS & EMILY LITTLE
You’re fortunate if there is someone in your life you can call a mentor. Maybe it’s someone who continually passes opportunities your way, someone who recognizes your potential during the moments you can’t, or someone who simply invests time in offering you free words of wisdom. These people are rare, and you must cherish them.
Arden von Haeger is one of these people.
As a professional artist with over 30 years of experience in commercial and fine art, Arden has devoted time to an array of institutions that includes Watkins, Belmont, Western Kentucky University, and—most recently—the renowned Savannah College of Art and Design. His specialties lie in illustration, graphic design, and a forward-thinking form of instruction. He is redefining how art is taught in the classroom by reflecting upon his own professional experience and translating it into curriculums grounded in real-world problem-solving.
For his advanced graphic design class at WKU, Arden developed a mock athletic brand called Mercury. Students were given a semester to brand this fictitious company from the ground up. During the class, the students met and pitched ideas to seasoned professionals in the branding, design and advertising field. This project transformed the classroom into a real agency, with a collaborative and competitive atmosphere that pushed student’s ideas to their full potential.
This mock exercise creates a unique environment that sets Arden’s teaching methods apart from typical educational systems. Arden encourages all of his students to make their own mark, calling it the ultimate challenge for any artist. The voice of each of these young artists is cultivated by his teaching philosophy which is built on exploration, encouragement and allowing the idea to become 'king', not the medium. Arden says “I encourage students to keep doing what they are doing. Keep honing their craft. Keep searching for the 'best' solution to each assignment. This is where they will find their own identity - their own 'look'.”
As Arden invests his time in each student, he also focuses on their continued professional growth after graduation. He does so providing networking opportunities, professional advice, and real-world skills for his students. As a participant on the panel at the Mercury presentations, Circa witnessed Arden’s inspirational teaching methods. This relationship has delivered three talented interns to Circa, each with their own unique set of talents, nurtured by Arden. Here at Circa, we share Arden’s joy for learning new skills and fostering growth. He is a tireless soul whose passion is fueled by the success of his students. We look forward to working with the young minds he inspires in the future and continuing to spread his enthusiasm for design.
To see what's next follow Arden on his new journey at the Savannah College of Art & Design:
What is Lunch & Learn?
At Circa, we have a bold understanding that education never just stops after college. This has been the motivation for our new series: Lunch & Learn. Every month we will have lunch with some of the brightest people in the creative field ranging from painters to SEO masters; and poke their brains to get a better understanding of the world and our role as visual communicators.
ARDEN VON HAEGER
As a professional artist with over 30 years of experience in commercial and fine art, Arden has devoted time to an array of institutions that includes Watkins, Belmont, Western Kentucky University, and—most recently—the renowned Savannah College of Art and Design. His specialties lie in illustration, graphic design, and a forward-thinking form of instruction.