Marina Kuchinski was drawing, painting and making sculpture at a very young age.
"I have always been an observer," she said. "Everything around me intrigued me visually: humans, animals, buildings, rocks, trees and the view of my street where I grew up in Israel. Making art was the obvious way to reflect on what I saw around me.
"My parents were very supportive and enrolled me in a sculpture class when I was a child, and they encouraged me to stick with it when it got challenging. My art training was academic, with a strong foundation that focused on observation and accurate representation. This was a great tool I gained during my education as an artist; I have been incorporating naturalism in my work ever since, but always in a contemporary context."
After completing her graduate studies at Penn State, Kuchinski taught ceramics at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. Following that, she was an artist-in-residence at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis and Chester Spring Studio in Pennsylvania. All were great experiences that prepared her for joining the College of DuPage community.
In addition to teaching, she is also an active practicing artist, exhibiting nationally and internationally.
"Being active in my field of expertise makes me a better teacher," she said. "When I learn, my students learn as well. What also inspires me is watching my students get excited about clay. It is as rewarding for me as it is for them when they are successful in wheel-throwing the large vessel they designed or when they are accepted into their dream art program. My students’ talent and dedication is an inspiration to me as an artist."
Kuchinski encourages her students to move beyond their comfort zones and take risks.
"Learning takes place when there is some struggle involved, and this struggle can be exciting and rewarding as a process of growth. I show my students that they can take the problem-solving and critical thinking abilities they gained in my class and apply them in other areas of their education and life," she said.
"I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to discuss my own contemplations as an artist with my students, whether I am in the process of making work for an exhibition or deciding on how to pack it when shipping it across the country."