Profile: Andrew Blanton

Andrew Blanton

Andrew Blanton, Assistant Professor of Art
Department of Art and Art History

Where were you before coming to SJSU?

I was in Dallas, teaching at the Art and Technology department at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Tell us something about your personal life, such as your family or your interests outside of work.      

My wife and I are both active artists looking forward to participating in the Bay Area art scene. We frequently travel and show art internationally. For me, traveling—engaging in all forms of dialogue, whether it’s artistic collaboration or otherwise—is something that I really enjoy.

Why are you excited to be here?

There are so many reasons I’m excited to be at San José State. I think there are some really great opportunities in the south bay with the rapidly developing technology scene and the strength of the student body. I am delighted to be joining an institution with a great track record of trailblazing in the arts and visualization. And I look forward to partnering with others working in the institution as well as the industry outside.

What is your educational background?

My educational path was somewhat unique. I studied classical percussion for my undergraduate degree. As a percussionist, I was looking for ways to expand my musical voice and started building software to act as a musical accompaniment. Through this process I found that I was dealing with vast amounts of streaming data, and this posed the question of representation of this data. At that point I started building systems that would not only manipulate live audio feeds, but also represent data feeds visually. I then was recruited to the University of North Texas to work in a transdisciplinary cluster (iARTA) of New Media Art, Music, and Computer Science where I earned my MFA.

What do you enjoy about teaching?

This is quite a large topic. Teaching offers so many potentials. Being able to inspire new ideas and creation from students is, for me, one of the greatest components of teaching. Being able to open new worlds to students and then being pleasantly surprised by their discoveries is a process that I never tire of.

What do you enjoy about being a specialist in your field?

Art is constantly blossoming. With the integration of technology, endless new potential is emerging every day. At times, it can feel so vast that I have megalophobic reactions to it. But at the same time, this is exactly what draws me to the challenge of dealing with the blending of classical arts (with its unique and rich history) with computation.

Please give us a quote that sums up your personal, educational, creative, or scholarly philosophy.

Well this is a really hard question, and I’m not sure I can think of one quote that I have always thought sums up any component of my life. However, “I have nothing to say, and I am saying it” (Jon Cage) feels appropriate.