Digital design classes won’t be the same next year

June 11, 2018

Professor Brian Martin retires after 37 years

“Good day, and welcome to your lecture.” – Martin

Marina Chetverikov/Staff Photo
Martin teaches one of the 3D animation class offered.

After 37 years of teaching – 20 of which have been teaching digital design classes – professor Brian Martin will be retiring following summer quarter.

Before teaching at Pierce, Martin taught high school math and was in a hair band (a 1980s-type of heavy metal with an emphasis on extremely long hair). Last year he won the Distinguished Faculty Award and brought his band, Accidental Heroes, to play at the award banquet.

Martin said he didn’t care much for teaching math and that pushed him into computer graphics. Playing in a bar band that wasn’t making much money also played a role.

“I guess you could say playing in a hair band brought me to Pierce College, eventually,” Martin said.

For those that have taken a class with Martin, students know he is engaging and genuinely cares about each student and their success.

Digital design student Hillary Jensen-Bergren said, “Brian is awesome. He’s a lot of fun. He’s really knowledgeable and experienced, so he shares a lot from his past jobs. He’s got a lot of practical real-world experience so it’s not just technical skills, although he share’s plenty of those too.”

“He makes really complicated subjects easy to understand and he’s really patient with us.”

Marina Chetverikov/Staff Photo
Brian Martin always happy to help students after class.

She also said that Martin is very funny. “He’s sort of doing stand-up in the middle of the lesson.”

Martin said he will miss teaching the most after he retires.

He said he loves the teaching part, such as student interaction.

“Seeing what they make, seeing them progress from people who don’t have job skills to people that do have job skills. I like seeing the successes,” he said.

Martin said his favorite part of teaching is “anything where I get to show students how to blow stuff up, which is pretty much any animation class.”

Jensen-Bergren, who is currently taking his 3D animation class, said for her assignment, she animated a block being thrown through the air. When it hit a wall, it blew up.

Martin enjoys staying in contact with students who have graduated. He said he gets emails every week and sometime students have come out to see his band.

Professor Dorene Paulson who teaches the other portion of the digital design classes, was a student of Martin’s before she started her Pierce teaching career.

She said, “It’s not very often that you get to have in life a teacher — who is as incredible as Brian Martin — be your mentor as a teacher and then become your mentor as an employer.”

Martin said he will be just as busy once he retires — it just will be doing different things than teaching. He plans on continuing to play with his band and doing some recording and writing projects.

“I got a whole bunch of keyboards that I don’t know how to program and little-by-little I’ve been collecting things over the last few years just so that I would have toys to tinker with and knobs to turn, plug-ins to experiment with, and a lot of that does revolve around music but it also revolves around animation,” Martin said.

Paulson said there are some very big shoes to fill when it comes to the digital design program.

Marina Chetverikov/Staff Photo
Brian Martin’s office filled with toys and gadgets.

“You can’t think of the digital design program right now without thinking of Brian Martin. He’s more than the glue that holds it all together, he is the together. So it’s going to be a big transition,” she said.

“He’s definitely a good teacher. It’s always a little sad when a good teacher retires,” said Jensen-Bergren.

“The most important thing I can share with any student is that when you are learning a skill, if you think that you’re done after you finish college, man, you’re just going to sink because you can’t stop learning,” Martin said, about the wisdom he wants to pass on.

“Life is all about evolving. As soon as you think you’re going to stop evolving, as soon as you rest on your laurels, you’re going to sink and sometimes you’ll sink so far that any time that you might have put into college just becomes wasted because you’ll just get bogged down.

“You have to keep up on your skills; you have to keep up on your chops. It’s just a necessity if you want to be successful in life. You have to keep creating and you might think to yourself, ‘I’m not creative; I’m not the creative type.’ That is a falsehood because often creativity comes out of practice.”

For a video with Martin, click here. 😉

Brian Martin showing his old photo from archive during his presentation last year at the Distinguished Faculty Awards at Pierce.

“Brian is excellent at taking something that could be complex or could be frustrating at times and making it fun to do.” – Paulson

Marina Chetverikov/Staff Photo
Martin’s band, Accidental Heroes, played last year at the Distinguished Faculty Awards (for Brian) at Pierce.

Marina Chetverikov/Staff Photo
Martin’s band, Accidental Heroes

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