Brent Funderburk (Faculty)

Brent Funderburk

Brent Funderburk, an artist and professor entering his 30th year at Mississippi State University, exudes certain traits.

Certainly, creativity. After all, Funderburk is an internationally known watercolor painter. His selection as the official artist for the 2010 U.S. International Ballet Competition is just one of many honors and awards he has received throughout his career.

He is obviously passionate. Whether he is painting, teaching, or curating an art exhibit, Funderburk is all in. He spent about 7 years as head of the art department from 1995-2002. But with Funderburk's passion to achieve his best, he found some parallels between administrating and his first love, painting.

"Serving as department head is like painting — you've got to put everything into it," Funderburk said.

Now his passion for teaching flows freely, particularly in his senior thesis course, a class all senior fine art students must take during their final semester.

"I love that class," Funderburk said. "It's everything as an art administrator and as an artist that I can give them." He explains the course includes everything from web design to exhibition design to book design, as well as basic business principles, giving students what Funderburk describes as "their final preparation for the world."

Perhaps Funderburk's most radiating characteristic is the happiness of a person simply doing what he was born to do. Funderburk is an artist who gets to live, breathe, and teach art. And he says interacting with his students keeps him young.

"I have been about 20 years old for the past 33 years that I've been teaching. Unless I look in the mirror in the morning, I'm 20 years old," Funderburk said.

He gets to share his creative exuberance with another "amazing creative thinker." Funderburk is married to Deborah Wyatt Funderburk, a dancer and choreographer who also is an instructor in MSU's department of kinesiology. Some of Funderburk's paintings include his wife — watercolors transformed into her gracefully dancing image.

"I paint because I have a story inside me that I want to tell," Funderburk said. "I look forward to tomorrow more than any other day."