About BW

Back in Idaho when he was three, Brent Wilson demonstrated his ability to color within the lines. Seeing his conformist tendencies as failure, he vowed to break artistic rules. Alas, for seven decades he has failed by continuing mostly to color within the lines. (It is encouraging to see that sometimes he draws his own lines.) It is discouraging to see that mainly he makes his artworks from stolen images. After receiving his BS degree in art and education at Utah State and his MFA in painting from Cranbrook he accepted a job teaching junior high school art. A year later he was appointed art supervisor for the Salt Lake City schools. When it became clear that he would be an educator, he vowed that if he stopped making art, he would leave education. After taking his Ph. D. at Ohio state, mainly he kept his vow as he taught at University of Iowa, at Penn State where he was professor of art education for 30 years, and in various visiting professorships. He became increasingly concerned, however, that his paintings and sculpture were contributing to a glut of big bad art. He realized, nevertheless, that he had stumbled upon a way to minimize the problem; in the late seventies he started keeping visual journals—and through these journals discovered the convenience of miniaturization, of making books and folios that could be stored on shelves, packed in luggage, and easily wheeled almost anywhere for exhibition. He also discovered the joys of having images and words in continual dialogue—telling one another how they might be and how they might shape one another’s characters.

Brent Wilson is a professor emeritus in the School of Visual Arts at Penn State. His research includes studies of visual cultural influences on children’s artistic development, cross-cultural studies of children’s graphic narratives, Japanese teenagers’ dojinshi/manga and comic markets, and studies of children’s interpretations of artworks. He has authored four books; four-dozen book chapters, chapters in conference proceedings, and research monographs; and over 100 research and evaluative reports. During the 1970s he developed the first National Assessment of Educational Progress in Art, in the 1980s he did the research for and drafted Toward Civilization: A Report to the President and Congress [on the status of arts education in the US], and in the 1980s and 90s he evaluated professional development programs of the Getty Education Institute for the Arts (which culminated in the publication of The Quiet Evolution: Changing the Face of Arts Education), and also in the 90s he served as a researcher for the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. He received the Manuel Barkan Award for outstanding contributions to the literature of art education, the Edwin Ziegfeld award for contributions to international art education and research, and the Lowenfeld Prize for his studies of children’s art. An exhibition of his artist-books titled “Plundering and Preserving China” was shown in Taipei and Hong Kong in the spring of 2004. Brent Wilson received a Ph.D. in art education from the Ohio State University (1966), an MFA in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art (1958), and a BS in art and education from Utah State University (1956).