I am a Southern California native from the sleepy foothills of Mount Baldy off of route 66, a little town called Rialto. My interest in art and expression was fostered at a young age by my mother. I took painting and drawing lessons for roughly ten years in Fontana. Around age ten my mother started to take night classes at Cal State San Bernadino to finish up her psychology degree. Rather than become a "latchkey kid", my mother took me along with her. As you can imagine, a ten year-old in college, I was quite bored. However, in the spring of 1984, my mother took a night photography class that changed the way I viewed the world forever.
In 1985 my family relocated to the central coast of California (Nipomo). No more 116 degree summers, the beach was ten minutes away and for once in my life I could see the mountains! In Junior High I quickly became interested in anything and everything hands-on. In high-school I enrolled in ROP CTE Mechanical Drafting and went on to study both AutoCad as well as Architecture through the high school ROP CTE programs. I was accepted into Cal Poly in 1992 for Architecture but quickly left as I couldn't fathom myself sitting behind a desk drawing four fourteen hours a day.
Unsure of what I wanted to do, I left Cal Poly and enrolled in school at Allan Hancock College. At the very least, I could get my general education classes out of the way while I figured out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. While at Hancock, I enrolled in every photo class I could get my hands on. I Transferred back to Cal Poly in 1995 after completing my general ed. and started to study commercial photography. I graduated with a BS in 1998 in Commercial Photography.
After Graduation I attended the University of California at Santa Barbara where I studied Art Studio with an emphasis in Fine Art Photography. I graduated in 2000 and have been teaching full-time between the three local colleges here on the Central Coast.
In 2011 I accepted a full-time teaching position at Arroyo Grande High School as the ROP CTE Digital Photography, Electronic Media and Video instructor. I am very excited and pleased to be able to come back and teach at my alma mater. Being able to mentor young men and women as well as doing something that you love has brought a level of fulfillment into my life that I was lacking at the college level. lastly, I can speak directly to the strength of ROP CTE programs. The CTE program at AG High helped to develop a discipline and perseverance in me that enabled me to go forward and make my way in a big world.
Jefferson S. Clarke BS MFA