On Friday and Monday, I visited my old high school for the first time in over 20 years. I went because I had been invited by the current art teacher at the school (my art teacher from way back when retired a couple years ago and now works as a docent coordinator at a local museum). She asked if I would be willing to do something like a mini-residency with her students, and I gladly jumped at the chance. It was a blast! On Friday, my first day, I presented a Powerpoint slide show and talked about my work as well as how I arrived at where I am with my art today. Then, we all crowded around a table where I also showed them some smaller work that I was able to bring in to show them, as well as some of my design work, aka My Day Job. There were two separate classes, so I got to do all that twice. Suffice it to say that I was pretty zonked after that, especially considering I had to wake up at 5am to make it there in time.
(It was totally worth it, by the way.)
Yesterday was where I think everyone had the most fun. We began with me sort of demonstrating my techniques for reusing and recombobulating old work that was either just languishing in the corner for far too long, or work that I just never really liked that much to begin with. So, I started with a couple prints I made back in grad school and some other random pieces of ephemera and pages from type catalogs... and voila!
OK, well, it didn't happen that quickly and I told them it doesn't always. At that point the kids started working on their own creations and it was then that I really started having fun. It was so amazing to see how these young minds and hands went to work, totally unencumbered by rules or requirements... but, surprisingly enough, I think some of them had a hard time letting go a bit. And most of them certainly did NOT want to go cutting up their handiwork, even if it wasn't something they were very happy with. Hey, I remember what that was like...
Long story short, I had a great time and felt I was able to give something back to the school where I grew up and received so much support and encouragement. A big thank you goes to the teachers who invited and welcomed me into their classrooms: Mary Beth Zacher and Jude Kosinski.
Not to mention... all that creative activity really inspired me. By the end of the time I spent in classes, I walked away with two new works on paper myself!
Highway to Hell, mixed media, 2009
U-Men, Mixed media, 2009