Roy Abrahamson Ed.D. | School of Art and Design | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Roy Abrahamson Ed.D., Emeritus

Associate Professor, Art Education

Ed.D., Columbia University, 1965

abProfessional Background
"I received my BS degree in Art Education from the University of Minnesota, in 1949, and then studied art education with Professor Henry Schaefer-Simmern at the latter’s Institute of Art Education, in Berkeley, California, for one year.  After earning an MA degree in Elementary and Secondary Education at San Francisco State University, I served 3 years in the US Army during the Korean War.  Following military service, I taught public school in San Francisco for a number of years, and then earned a doctoral degree in art education at Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York City, in 1965.   I joined the School of Art & Design faculty at Southern Illinois University that same year, and taught art education until retirement in 1996."

"While at SIUC, I served as area head of art education and art history for several periods, taught art education majors in the BA and BS degree programs, plus graduate students in the MA and PhD programs, in cooperation with the College of Education. I served as president of the Illinois Art Education Association in 1972,and was an active member also of the National Education Association (NAEA), and the International Society for Education through Art (INSEA), having presented papers at numerous national conferences and in Montreal, Canada; Hamburg, Germany; and Tampere, Finland.  I taught at the Helsinki University of Industrial Arts  and at the University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland, during my last sabbatical leave.   In addition, at SIUC, I took part in a research grant program involving student teachers and mentally handicapped children, and organized annual hands-on art sessions in the SIUC Student Center ballrooms for children from Southern Illinois public schools.  During retirement, I edited a posthumous book of my mentor, Henry Schaefer-Simmern, entitled Consciousness of Artistic Form."

abArtistic Activities
"Although I had received an academic training in visual art at the University of Minnesota, in drawing, painting, printmaking, design, woodworking, and ceramics (involving vanishing point perspective, surface anatomy, composition, and so on), I learned that many of these concepts were not related my own inner artistic sense.  At the Institute of Art Education in Berkeley, Professor Henry Schaefer-Simmern confronted me and fellow students, using a questioning strategy leading to self-evaluation of one’s artwork.  Gradually, previously learned concepts about creating art fell by the wayside, and bold dark outlined images filled with flat colors emerged.  One day Professor Schaefer-Simmern showed me pictures in a book of Romanesque Art, and the similarity between such art and my own newly emerging images was striking, though I had never studied Romanesque Art!   Over time, I went from temperas to oils, to caseins, and finally to acrylics, and water colors, and my outlines became less obvious and colors became more mixed and varied.  Also, my rather large images (mostly of people) became smaller."

"Because of my professional duties prior to retirement, I could only do artwork in my spare time.  Only very recently (March – April 2007) have I had a one-person retrospective art exhibit—at the SIUC Museum.  Works dating back to 1949 and as recently as 2006 were shown.  I believe that my art has demonstrated that over the years one’s art must be true to one’s own being."