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A micro exhibition at the School of Art doors. | by paul_kercal
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A micro exhibition at the School of Art doors.

...continued on from this picture:


Once the classes and lessons and shrink plastic pictures were done - the ones the kids wanted to do bearing in mind we'd done graffiti text, drawing Manga faces and Robots - something happened that has made me smile since then more than anything (and bearing in mind I was straight back at work the day after I suppose that was always likely to be the case).


I'd been saying to the kids that the library had an excellent collection of graphics novels and one, in particular, was a personal favourite. I picked up the book by the marvellous pairing of Neil Gaiman and, by far my favourite living artist, Dave McKean and mentioned that they - probably more than any others - had opened my eyes to what an illustrated story could and should be (with Violent Cases) but that Mr Punch (the book I was showing them) had what I think is my favourite panel in all of the comics and graphics novels I've read. I apparently explained* so well they all wanted to see it. So I quickly found the page and held it up and explained why I liked it so much (a little - this was a massive tangent in one of three pedal to the floor hour and a half sessions).


And then three of them traced the picture I loved most onto shrink plastic for me to keep. Which was brilliant for a number of reasons. One major reason was because one of the young people was very ASD and it was one of the first times the school (he was a new intake into mainstream) enjoyed the level of interaction that he enjoyed on the day... (Anyone who knows me will know that Autism matters are fairly close to my heart).


The other reason it made me smile so much is because when a kid makes me a bit of shrink plastic - bearing in mind they're so cool and everyone wants to make as many for themselves as possible - it feels like a very special gift. To have one that was so thoughtful was the highlight of the day.


I cooked them the following day, when I was trapped tidying the room I've become a prisoner of, which leaches the joy out of teaching, and then took a photo of the pictures outside of the School of Art arches that always give me hope. Don't think I'll ever get Big Dave in through those doors, but his books and pictures inhabit my room very happily (all of my students know that the correct answer to any graphic design question is generally Dave McKean). It was nice to have the shrink plastic pictures out in the open, and they'll stay in the graphics room I use for as long as I do... Hopefully they'll always make me smile as much as I did on Tuesday.


*in retrospect explain is probably the wrong word not just in this instance but also for much of what I do as a teacher. I don't always explain - although I try to. I think I enthuse, or at least I think that is what I am best at. I encourage kids to find what trey are good at and enthuse them about as many possibilities or artists as I can, alway throwing in one Dave McK pic or good measure :) It's not an easy thing to quantify (well, the DMcK ratio is) but since a lot of people tell me my enthusiasm is infectious I'll take it as a good thing :) as long as it's not code for 'blathers on non-stop'**.


** actually probably is that too :)


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Taken on July 10, 2013