Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Person of Interest: Mrs. Lanman

Person of Interest: Mrs. Lanman

Could you tell us who you are and what you do at West?

I’m Cindy Lanman and I teach Art Metals and Drawing at Wauwatosa West.

How long have you been teaching?

How long have I been teaching? I’ve had… Not a super linear teaching career. I graduated from college and I taught for six years. Then I took off and went to graduate school and had my kids. When they were little, I taught at Concordia and Mount Mary for at least five years. And now this is my second year at West.

What are your first impressions of West?

I love West. I didn’t know what to expect. It’s been a long time since I taught high school. Like, a really long time. And I really enjoy the students and I love all the different clubs and the level of accepting everybody as they are. I think it’s a really great sort of theme that I see. I also really enjoy working with Ms. Maris and Ms. Belich.

What kind of personal projects have you been involved in lately?

I co-lead my daughter’s Girl Scout troop. We do that once a month and at my house. My dad remade some laundry cabinets for my laundry room, so I’ve been sanding and painting and staining cabinets.

How do you deal with art block?

Ooh, that’s tough. I find that the best way to get going is just to start doing something, even if I have no good ideas. I take an idea that I think is dumb and I’ll just start going with it because I find that the biggest hindrance is getting stuck in your head. And then not starting in once you start even if it’s not your best idea, which I always think best ideas come later in the process anyway. But once you just start doing something those juices start flowing and then you start to make connections and ideas and you eventually get to something that is of greater interest or value.

What are your favorite art materials to use?

I really love to do ceramics and sculpture. I like abstract sculptural work but that is difficult to do at my home. So at my house, I’ve spent the last few years focusing more on oil painting.

Do you have a favorite artist?

Do I have a favorite artist? Picking one is really hard but I do have a couple favorites. My favorite from a long time ago is Henry Moore. He was a sculpture artist and he did these abstracted figures and I found his work really inspirational in college. And I’m totally blanking on the name of the other woman. I can see her sculptures but I can’t think of her name right now. There’s one at the Milwaukee Art Museum. She does these beautiful, simple forms and they’re often white.

How important is art to you?

Art is very important to me. I mean, I actually think art is important to everyone. Even if they don’t know it, because we could imagine how the world would look if there weren’t artists and people weren’t thinking visually. It would be one of those things that I think people wouldn’t notice until it was gone, right? But I think it plays such a huge part throughout the world and for me, it’s just a way to calm down and relax and also it’s a way of coming together and doing things with people and making connections with one another.

Who or what influences your art the most?

Mostly nature. It used to be more focused on what I was really interested in. I am still interested in figurative work but I was interested more in systems of the body and like looking at things up close. But really having children and their interests sort of have become some of mine. And so we spend a lot of time looking at nature and learning about various animals, so that has sort of become a major influence on me and my art.

What do you think art means to you?

I think that one’s hard. It means that I have to think about which different vein of my life it is in because it’s in so many. I mean for me, it’s a big part of who I am. I mean, it’s like my job. So it’s part of my professional life. But also, it’s a big part of my personal interests as well as any activities that I choose to do. It’s what keeps my mind going like a clock ticking, you know?

How do you feel when you see your students grow and change into new artists?

Oh, I love it. It’s inspirational. That’s one thing that I really loved about coming here. Last year, I loved the energy of seeing kids creating work and bouncing ideas off each other. I find that so energizing. I think it’s just super invigorating when you see a student change or have that light bulb moment or have success, that’s why you teach. That’s what it’s all about. It feels so great.

What things would you like to share with future artists or people who want to get into certain types of art that you wish you knew?

I wish that when I was younger I would have had more confidence in the possibilities of art instead of thinking of it more as a hobby when I was younger. Also, the people around me, like my parents, think of it as a real possibility for a career and a way of life instead of just a hobby. I kind of had to learn that in college and even after college to have the confidence to really stick with it and explore all the possibilities that art can lead you to as an adult.

What have been the most challenging parts of teaching art?

I think it’s really based on the different points in my career. I was teaching kindergarteners, and now I’m teaching high schoolers and we’re learning things, like power tools and torches. And so it’s really fun when there’s always something new to learn. But, it also can be a challenge to have to learn the ins and outs and what works and what doesn’t. We have so many different materials and techniques and for so many different ages for students from kindergarten to 12th grade.

Have any students of yours gotten an award on their art pieces?

Last year we had two students that won awards and I know there would have been more if more students had entered their pieces because there were so many beautiful ones. A junior named Lia Fuerst entered her art piece at the state fair and she received a blue ribbon.

How did you feel being a heavy influence on them?

It feels good. It feels like you know you’re doing something right. And, it’s really great to share their feelings of success and well being. It’s just nice to know that you helped get them there and made sure they had a positive experience.

INSTAGRAM CAPTION– Introducing Mrs. Lanman: Lanman is currently an art teacher at Wauwatosa West High School. She specializes in classes such as Art Metals and Fibers and Drawing. “I think art is important to everyone, even if they don’t know it. I couldn’t imagine how the world would look if there weren’t artists and people weren’t thinking visually,” said Lanman. Lanman used to teach art to kindergarteners before she took her position at West. She’s very passionate about what she does, and she hopes to continue sharing her knowledge to the young artists in the West community.

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