“Hey, that look’s great. Everyone, take a look.” The professor lifts a beautifully painted skateboard deck for the rest of the class to see. Brandishing the work like a proud parent, Greg Skaggs, associate professor of design in Malone, hardly fits the stereotype of an average college professor.
“He doesn’t really teach; he just tells you to get into it and get to work,” said Nolan Odom, a senior graphic design major from Montgomery.
He wants you to get out and try something different. He tries to teach you through experience. He is a very colorful flower in a very dull field.”
Greg Skaggs was born in Oklahoma in a small oil town as the son of an oil company worker.
Skaggs was first introduced to art in the eighth grade when he participated in a painting class.
In the ninth grade he was selected as one of 20 students in the state of Oklahoma to be admitted to an exclusive summer art program at Oklahoma Art Institute. There he studied under several artists including Howard Kanovitz, pioneer of the photo-realism movement, and Larry Rivers, the “godfather” of American pop art.
In 1989, Skaggs met Carrie Rollins at a YMCA summer camp. She was serving as a fellow camp counselor. He married her a year and half later in the winter of 1990.
He began working at Troy University in 2005. Since then, he has taught everything from graphic design courses to special courses on video art and children’s book illustration. His classes reflect his own desire to learn and express his creativity in news ways.
“My teaching philosophy is that I really like to be involved in my student’s interests,” Skaggs said. “I really consider myself a facilitator of learning because I learn as much as they do. Sometimes more because I am interested in the subject.”
Currently, Skaggs is teaching a special topics class on urban art with a focus on graffiti.
“Mr. Skaggs doing the specials topics was a recommendation,” said Pamela Allen, the interim chair of the Department of Art and Design. “I liked the idea of bringing new energy into our department. A lot of the students were interested a course he taught for the honors program. He brought in a graffiti artist to do demonstrations. I thought this would be a great opportunity to expand it and offer it to our students.”
His class is currently finishing up several projects, including a large graffiti art project. The wall-sized works can be seen on display outside the Malone building on the walls facing the parking lot.
Skaggs and his wife have two daughters and are preparing for an empty nest. Their youngest daughter, Abbie, will attend Troy University in the fall. Though several years have passed since his own college days, Skaggs still enjoys skateboarding and longboarding. His favorite place to skate is in the Malone parking lot and on the university grounds during the less-crowded weekends.
His office is located in Room 139 of Malone Hall, but he can usually be found in the painting room. He encourages students to drop in if they have any questions or just want to talk.