Entering the office of professor Brian Hitselberger, arrange of paintings and other artworks fill the bright, yellow walls. Being an unusual color for a room and a huge turnoff to most people, there is a bit of curiosity as to why the room is painted the way it is.
As young boys in attempt to keep themselves entertained, Hitselberger and his two brothers would make their own playing cards and board games to play with. In that time – though not being very good – they also learned how to make their own clothes. Hitselberger loves to work with his hands and throughout high school, he loved playing the piano, thinking he would go to a music school for college.
With dreams of creating music for television and film, Hitselberger found himself at a liberal arts college. With everyone at the college required to take either a music class, a theater class, or an art history class, Hitselberger didn’t feel the need to take a music class because he already spent so many years playing the piano. Instead, Hitselberger decided to take an art class. He thought it would be fun and a nice change of pace.
“It was just appealing to me that you could take a class in college at school where you were making a thing, as opposed to writing a paper or just reading a piece,” he said.
Burnt out from writing papers and wanting more from his college experience, Hitselberger decided to take a painting class and enjoyed every aspect about it. Art was different and he loved it. Working in the studio excited him. Having two to three hours to work in the studio and at the end of that time he could see what he had done. “What I liked about art class is that it was all there. You know, it was like visual. I mean, if you did the work you could see it, and if you didn’t it wasn’t there. There was no hiding.”
When Hitselberger had his class critiques, he could see everyone’s work and he could clearly see how his work didn’t quite match up to the others, but he didn’t let that stop him. Instead of getting down, it would motivate him to get better. Being a musician for so long, Hitselberger was used to the concept of practice. Practicing was familiar to him, although the making of art was not.
“You could either do it or not,” he said. “It was like a skill that you could learn, and I was really interested in learning.”
Making art was a skill that he strived to learn. He got into it and was very studious. He started being a visual artist in college.
Ever since graduating college, he has found ways in his life to make art an activity and to do art in everything he does. “If I take this job, is it going to allow me to take time to create art?”
“And teaching was really awesome because it was the job that I found that really elevated the art making and the doing the job were not two separate things…they were much more connected,” he said.
Yellow is such a happy and positive color and since his time teaching at Piedmont College, Hitselberger makes an effort to create a positive work atmosphere for his students.
“He teaches in a way that could help anyone understand and learn by the way he connects with the students,” said Mariana Leon, a current student of Hitselberger’s Painting 3 class.
Being very attentive of his students lives, Hitselberger makes sure they are doing well in their other classes, as well as knowing how his students feel they are growing in their skills.
“He’s very supportive and willing to help students”, said Kristen Odem, current student of Hitselberger’s Drawing 2 class.
Hitselberger always looks for ways to help his students and help them to improve on their skills. By creating a positive work space, students are able to feel comfortable to be themselves and ask questions and be unafraid to push their preconceived artistic boundaries.
By painting the walls of his office yellow, Hitselberger is reminded of the strive to make every work day and everyday filled with positivity and light.
“It would be hard to be in a bad mood in this room,” said professor Hitselberger.