AC: What's an important lesson you learned from ArtCenter?
Jerry Vass (62 Photography): In my photography career, I converted words to images. I learned the basics of those skills at ArtCenter, which gave me a knowledge platform to learn the other four professions I worked in over a lifetime.
Learn to sell. Without selling skills you won't get to produce your art or your ideasJerry Vass
AC: What are you working on right now?
JV: I have four books, both fiction and nonfiction, so naturally I am working on my next book. In photography there is always a next picture or next illustration to worry about.
AC: What piece of work are you most proud of?
JV: It's more about my body of work. I have produced so many projects I can't even remember them.
AC: What's the one tool you can't do without?
JV: My eclectic brain. At ArtCenter, I learned, or began to germinate the idea that in photography, the mind works before the camera. The machine, no matter how expensive, the glass, no matter how beautifully ground and coated, the film (and now digital technology) no matter how advanced and automatic, the magic of the medium still happens in the brain first. After that comes the attempt to match the magic in the brain with the technology in use.
AC: What's your most prized possession?
JV: My vision.
AC: Where is your happy place?
JV: I live happily on the beach in Saint Augustine, Florida, with my wife of 25 years.
Submit the Alumni Q&A questionnaire to share your story. We want to hear about your accomplishments, what you're working on and your advice for future ArtCenter students.
AC: What's your best piece of advice for an ArtCenter student interested in following your footsteps?
JV: Hang tough. Never give up your dream. Work hard every day. Time is your enemy. Stalk your ambition like a wild animal that's loose in your back yard. Don't whine; you chose your profession.
Learn to sell. Artists hate the idea of selling yet without selling skills you won't get to produce your art or your ideas. Selling is a craft.
After owning an advertising art and photography studio for nine years, I left that business but spent a month analyzing what had happened over that time. To my surprise, I discovered that, more than my photography skills, my success centered on my ability to sell ideas.