Aithan Shapira brings two Masters’ in Fine Art (Painting, Printmaking), a PhD in creative processes, and 10 years of undergraduate and graduate-level teaching experience accumulating varied cultural and aesthetic approaches to art, education and innovation across three continents—US, UK, AU—to shaping drawing, painting and print media curricula. His collected pedagogy is centered in creative problem-solving, curiosity, discovery, and the need to observe in order to see and challenge perception; to develop radical experiments around these observations stemmed in the technical skills needed to make an ear look like an ear; and to cultivate rich and fertile peer dialogue around contemporary practice and theory. He is obsessed with the outcomes of interdisciplinary collaboration, emphasizes drawing as the foundation of thought and the nucleus to all art practices, and attributes his international drawing awards to his mentors’ insistence on it and integrates it into every course. He believes in providing the next generation of emerging artists a means from which to be interested, rather than setting out merely to be interesting.
He has also rolled up his sleeves and planted the roots of art-making and art education in the heart of global innovations in business, education, technological, and environmental spheres pioneering progressive programming in the creative process with MIT MBAs, at the Royal College of Art and Design, and School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The fiber of this work resulted in an upcoming manuscript titled Making to Think that champions the value of artists—practiced in resourcefulness, failing fast, and risk-taking—in a culture of rapid change and uncertainty. Such engagement in the rigors of studio art has invited his thought leadership from a TED Talk,[i] to kicking-off MIT’s Hacking Arts Fest, to a presentation for the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design,ii and catalyzed a non-profit he helped establish in May 2014 at the intersection of the arts and leadership where he is the Chief Innovation Officer designing art-directed creative problem-solving for innovative enterprises and organizations at the C-level as well as for Boston Public Schools and other platforms.
Aithan has exhibited his paintings, prints and concrete works at the intersection of nature, patterns, and culture in Boston, London, Mexico, Jerusalem, Miami, and San Jose. iv He furthermore received a research grant to live and paint with an Aboriginal Australian community over three years in order to study art’s impact on cultures of survival. He is the recipient of numerous international drawing and painting awards, and is among major museum, institutional, and private collections. His work is based on a pillar he fundamentally believes in: that art, both the process and the product, when made right can viscerally change the way we see and more profoundly make societal and cultural impact. He currently works in a studio and lives with his wife and dog in Boston.