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Department of Art

Go Forth to Serve: Art Grad Kaleb Farar Talks About How BYU Has Prepared Him for More than Just His Future Career

Graduating Senior Kaleb Farar Answers Questions About His Time At BYU

Q: How has your BYU education prepared you for the future?

Farar: My education at BYU has given me knowledge that will help me throughout the rest of my life. I developed the skills and gained the experience that I'm going to need to find a job and become a productive member of the workforce. I think the most important thing BYU taught me is that being intelligent is not as important as being hard working. Coming to BYU, I was surrounded by people who were extremely intelligent; however, I found that I could still succeed in my classes if I worked hard, even though what I was learning was challenging. I think it’s a lesson that will be applicable my whole life.

Q: How have you found belonging during your time at BYU?

Photo by Emma Olson / CFAC External Relations

Farar: One of the things that helped me find belonging was just getting involved. My first semester, I kind of just went to my classes and then went home, and I didn't really participate. But I found that kept me isolated from my peers and my professors. So I started talking to my professors and getting involved with my classmates. Making friends, joining clubs and going to events helped me to find my own place.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

Farar: My plan is to get a job in instructional design, which is related to education. It uses a lot of the same skills as art education such as graphic design and visual communication. And then in the future, I definitely want to teach art on the side.

Q: Which professor inspired you the most? Why?

Farar: There are so many professors that have inspired me, so it was really hard to choose one. If I could only pick one it’d be Mark Magleby. I took an art history class from him when he was still teaching. During one class, he was talking about the difference between the artists Rembrandt and Caravaggio. He told us that although Caravaggio was a skilled painter, he was kind of a horrible person in real life. He would paint Christian scenes, but he wasn’t living a Christian life. However, Rembrandt was also painting Christian scenes but he was much more devout. He actually cared about what he was painting. Following that lesson, I considered for the first time that your artwork should be true to yourself. It should represent what you believe and who you are. It was really inspiring because it was a paradigm shift for me. I can't just make stuff that looks really cool. It also has to be authentic and true to myself.

Q: What piece of advice would you give to current students?

Farar: I would recommend starting with the end in mind. Remember that at the end of your education you're going to graduate with a degree, and you're going to use that degree to get a job somewhere. I hear a lot of freshmen say they're just focusing on their generals, and then they’ll decide on a major. However, when you do that you have less time to explore different options.

I'd suggest using the early days of your college experience to learn as much as you can about what you enjoy doing. Find a major that's right for you. Then you can go ahead and do your generals or whatever you would think would be best.

Q: What was your most inspiring experience at BYU? Why?

Farar: It was the first semester of my freshman year. I had just returned from my mission and I thought that I knew all that there was to know about life. I thought I was just attending BYU to get my degree and move on with my life. I didn't think that BYU had a lot to offer me beyond that. Then I went to a forum where Kao Kalia Yang presented, and she shared excerpts from some of the books she had written. I was really touched by what she was saying. She was talking about her own personal experiences and her family history, and her writing was so beautiful. I realized that there is a lot to learn at BYU—more than just the skills I need to get a job, BYU is a place where I can grow in all aspects of my life. I can learn what it means to be a better human being, and how I can use those skills to benefit the world. That forum helped me shift my perspective.

Q: Why do you want to teach art?

Farar: I think art is super important for young people to experience. When I was doing my student teaching, I found it interesting how a lot of young people express their emotions and their thoughts about the world through visual means. Giving them the tools needed to use art as a mode of expression really helps them to see that creativity is a valuable part of who they are. Even though art isn’t necessarily the key to survival, it's definitely one of the ways that we make life meaningful.

Q: What is your favorite memory from your teaching placement?

Farar: One cool experience I had was when I was teaching a printmaking class. I needed to teach a complicated technique, but I could only teach the student that technique once they’d reached a certain point in the process. I found myself stuck in a pattern where I would teach one student the technique, spend about 10 minutes with them, and then another student would be ready to learn and I'd have to teach them the same thing. I felt like I was wasting a lot of time, so I decided to ask the students who had already learned the technique to teach the next person. It became a cycle of learning and teaching the next person.

I realized the students paid more attention to learning the technique when they knew they were going to have to teach it to their peers. They were more invested, and it saved a lot of time. I remember thinking that a huge part of teaching is getting the students to realize that the things they're learning are going to benefit them in the future. It was really cool moment for me to realize that I can rely on the students to help their peers.