I’ve had the privilege and honor
over the last many many years to have the opportunity to teach part time at the College level. Like anything in life, depending, sometimes it’s just a part time job. However, luckily for me, it’s been more of a pleasure than anything else.
This semester at The University of South Carolina is no exception. Thanks to professor Marius Valdes, who’s on sabbatical this Fall, I’ve gotten to teach an Illustration class at the School of Art.
(Thanks also to the Associate professor of Graphic Design, Stephanie Nace.)
I’ve felt really good about the students and class so far all semester, and their work and attitude has surprised me pleasantly. I have really looked forward to the class each week. Last night, on the eve of Halloween, my faith in Halloween, Teaching, and young creatives, and young people in general,
was not just polished and restored, but, given a much needed positive swift kick in the pants!
Hallelujah! I’ve wanted to do an “in class” assignment all semester and turns out,
this was the perfect opportunity. Between major projects, and before a class off for election day
on Tuesday; a great time to recharge and do something spontaneous and experimental.
It made sense to do a mask. Mind you, this was an in-class project to be completed
in the timeframe of one class period only, around 2 and a half hours time.
The students were given no advance knowledge of what the assignment would be,
just to bring various materials and supplies to class. Then, once class began, were told only
to create a mask of their choosing in the time allotted for class.
WOW! I was BLOWN AWAY by the creativity, variety, and personality of each and every mask!
(And believe me, from years of teaching and freelancing, I am known to measure my superlatives.)
The incredible thing was, that everyone, to a student, dove right in, unflinching, to complete the task.
They only stopped briefly for a slice of pizza halfway through. ; )
For me, lesson learned. TRUST is a key component in encouraging and lighting creativity.
Mutual trust. Too often, as professional creatives, we can be so focused on “project parameters,” that we lose the forest for the trees so to speak. Deadlines will always be deadlines, and difficult clients,
and more-than-challenging projects will always be a component of creative collaberation, which, in the end is a comprise. An honorable and necessary compromise. When the parameters are accepted and embraced, and the creative is set free to create, MAGIC happens!
Later that night, as I went through all the pictures I had taken from the class,
a tear in my eye, I welled with pride, joy, and just pure happiness from the results, top to bottom.
I also got a kick out of the uncanny synergism between the artists and their work!
And, there were no mirrors in the classroom! Way to go Garrison, Paige, Nicole, Rannah, Joseph, Kody,
Shawn, David, Matt, Erica, Vassil, Jennifer, Katherine, Karissa, Alex, and Jessica!!!
You’ve made me Proud!
Check out all of the rewarding results from my most excellent class here: http://www.akinstudio.com/Hallomasks14/