…but you can call me Ken.
My name is Ken Curtis and I live and work in Dubai, UAE as a professor of visual communications at the American University in Dubai. I teach graphic design, Web design, and all the software that the students will need to accomplish both. I've been in Dubai for three years and will be here for at least one more.
My Biography: I was born in New Jersey and raised in Portland, Oregon until I enlisted in the US Air Force at eighteen and got married to a great girl at nineteen. The Air Force stationed me in Clovis, NM and my wife and i stayed there until my four years were completed. From Clovis, we moved back to Portland and in a few years were divorced. For about eight years after my wife and I split, I spent my time in Portland just trying to figure out what I wanted from life and more importantly how do I attain it. That really was the hardest question, because I knew that I wanted to get a college degree, but I really didn't understand how to do it. In the end I decided not to "think" about it and to make a decision, any decision, and to stick by it. I decided to sell my house to pay for my degree in graphic design. It was a defining moment, because I don't think I had one person say that it was a good idea. In fact if I remember it correctly people told me I was being silly, stupid, or naive. The reasons varied, but it seemed that I was just plain wrong about a degree. Like I said I believe at this point I started to understand myself, because I put my head down and pushed forward with my plans.
I moved back to New Mexico to go to Eastern New Mexico University. It took me three quick years to get my degree in graphic design and a minor in computer animation. More importantly, I can honestly say that it was the first time in my life that I felt like I was home. I still consider it home now, even though I haven't lived in NM since 2004. Once I graduated I was preparing for grad school and one of the profs at ENMU quit, I volunteered to help out and was hired as adjunct faculty. Like I said, I loved NM, the weather was great, but most of all, the people are the best. How many recently graduated students get to teach right after they graduate? I taught at ENMU for four years.
In 2005 the time had come to get my MFA so I could actually become a professor. This decision was based on the statement that a friend made to me at lunch. She said, "An MFA really won't help your art that much, but it will open doors for you." She was so right, and I think it was the most important thing that anyone has ever said to me. So I moved to the nearest university that I could, and started in August 2005. In 2006 I earned an M. A. and in 2007 an M.FA in computer art with a minor in printmaking. Before I graduated, I was putting out applications around the world for teaching jobs, and in April was hired by AUD. In other words, probably the best "door" opened for me.
I received my MFA August 10, and left for Dubai August 17 and have been here since. I've wanted to travel for a while, and because of that, I wanted to be in a central location and Dubai has been perfect. Since I've been here, I've traveled to over fifty-five countries and have seen and done things that I never dreamed I would get a chance of seeing. Red Square, The Great Wall, Hagia Sofia, riding camels in Mongolia, sipping beer in an open-air cafe in Hanoi, and the list goes on, wandering through Petra, safari through Kenya, volunteering in Sri Lanka, and okay, that's enough. To think that I owe most of this to one person telling me that an MFA will open doors. Thank you Mic, you changed my life!
The Future: For now I'm going to say that the future is open, I know that I'll be teaching here in Dubai until June, but after that I just don't know. There are several "substantial" things that I still want to do with my life, like volunteer in Africa for at least a year, but I can only do that if other elements in my life fall into place. I don't see myself moving back to the states for a while, maybe not ever, but who knows?
|1.||Watch a sunset in Morocco||2.||Learn to fly||3.||See Nepal|
|4.||Get a Phd.||5.||Visit Petra||6.||Take a tramp cruise|
|7.||Write a book||8.||Take a paraglide vacation over a desert||9.||See Red Square|
|10.||Visit India||11.||Get another tattoo||12.||Lose about 15 lbs|
|13.||Wander through Africa||14.||Own/live on an island||15.||Row across the Atlantic|
|16.||Do my own Motorcycle Diaries||17.||Volunteer for at least 1 year in Africa||18.||Buy a motorcycle|
|19.||Grow dreadlocks||20.||Spend some time in Australia||21.|
In my early years I never could have imagined that I'd end up being a professor. Growing up I 'knew' that I was going to be an airline pilot. It's funny how lives change as we get older.
I consider art to be an expression, an attempt to connect with an observer the thought, feelings and/or desires that come from within the artist. Traditionally this connection is usually subtle, suggesting the emotion rather than telling. This lack of urgency is brought on by the fact that fine art is not concerned with size since the final dimensions are dictated by the final product, and ultimately fine art is meant to be hung from a wall or displayed to give the observers all the time they need.
|1.||United States (Born & Raised)||2.||Canada||3.||Mexico||4.||Lithuania|
|5.||United Arab Emirates||6.||Spain||7.||Oman||8.||France|
|49.||Malaysia||50.||Philippines||51.||Singapore||52.||Hong Kong (China-SAR)|