Faculty Spotlight: James Janecek

Professor James Janecek of the Providence College Studio Art Department.

Professor James Janecek of the Providence College Studio Art Department has taken two areas of study and found a way to merge them together in a harmonious way. Professor Janecek teaches many different digital imaging classes within the art department, but he felt that he could also offer his students something more this semester. Screen-printing has always been a studio art class incorporating Adobe Photoshop and the manual CMYK printing process, which is the base for how all printed media in the modern world is created. This semester, Professor Janecek added something new to the curriculum: a marketing course.

When asked why he altered the course to include a large marketing component, Professor Janecek stated, “The Printmaking courses at Providence College have evolved to include the creation of images in digital media. Lately, the digital media content has expanded from the two dimensions of Photoshop to include the three dimensions of Sculptris and ZBrush [both of which are 3-D rendering software].” This new software opens a new realm of possibilities for students to invent landscapes and other artistic media, but it also allows marketable products to be created in a 3-D space that can later be used in marketing and advertising.

The new possibilities with these programs sparked Professor Janecek’s interest in creating a course that covered not only fine arts but also marketing. Working with members of Providence College School of Business (PCSB), Dr. Daniel Horne, and Dr. Mark DeFanti, Professor Janecek created a curriculum with PCSB accreditation. The course is structured around learning fine art skills that are necessary for creating not only visually appealing works, but also marketable works that are applicable to working in today’s workplace. Each assignment is presented as if the student’s were working for a company or a client with specific demands. For each assignment, students must create a digital image that fulfills the demands of the client in the most visually appealing and marketable way possible.

The course is focused around creative problem solving within marketing with a unique studio art flavor. Students are required to read not only about modern marketing but marketing throughout art history as well and how it relates to today’s world. For example, students have looked at and compared images from Emperor Maximillion’s Triumphal Arch and the design firm Unimark’s designs for the New York City Transit system. Although the two works seem drastically different, they both share various marketing strategies despite being created decades apart.

As the semester draws on, Professor Janecek said, “The skills and creativity of the marketing students within the class are unique and satisfying to see as they approach assignments in new and exciting ways.” The class has also featured guest lecturers from different areas of expertise. For example, Dr. Horne will give a lecture focused primarily on marketing later this semester, while Professor Jasmin Blackmar, who works at IGT, recently lectured on what it is like to work for a marketing firm.

With such a positive response to this course, Professor Janecek says that he looks forward to the future and finding more ways to integrate art and business in a constructive way. Professor Janecek left us with a parting statement, saying, “I welcome the creativity of the marketing students in my course, and I look forward to having more students in the future from the marketing department.” The course is a beautiful embodiment of the diversity of Providence College School of Business students and their ability to take on various challenges that they would not have experienced without this course.

Find out more about James here.

Read more from the Meet PCSB series here