Chiarito, Robert (Art) is Stepping Beyond


“The most influential professor at San José State University has been Robert Chiarito, an art instructor and graduate advisor for the department. During my time at San José State University, I have encountered many different types of attitudes and outlooks on what art should be, and how students should make art. Coming from instructors, I find that some of those perspectives and attitudes can have a dramatic effect on students in many different ways. Robert was the first person I came in contact with during my first semester at San Jose State University, and he was very genuine and warm, which made me feel welcome and connected in an intimidating, new place. Before I transferred, I looked at various teachers at various schools I was considering, and I remember finding Robert’s name on the San Jose State University website, and looking him up. His work and his process seemed similar to mine; leaving things up to chance in a sense, and allowing the work to reveal itself to you! His influence on me, and surely many other students over the years, has been so incredibly important. He is not too hard on his students, nor does he force his will too much. Robert seems to have the perfect balance between leniency and being hypercritical, which seems to be a difficult balance to find for other instructors. He allows his students to be themselves and he encourages them to keep what they have of themselves in their work. Robert teaches the way one should parent, in that he allows his students to find their own way, while giving them the guidance they need at the perfect time. Most importantly, when he sees that a piece is not looking so good, (like my figure paintings), he does not react harshly, he suggests. When the paintings get somewhat better, he is right there to acknowledge their development. Robert has made a huge impact in my thinking about art, myself, my work, and he has set the example of who I want to be if I ever get to teach someday.” –Amber Guerin

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