Blimey it’s been a month.
Three weeks ago the students and I trekked our way across London, beginning in Camden Market with an exhibition at Chin Chin Labs of the artwork the kids had made in the ice cream banknote brief. Once we’d done that, and a brief art walk around the historic Stables, we dashed to the Apple Store, Regent Street, to take the stage and speak from our vantage point from the intersection between education and tech arts.
It was fab, a bit stressful at times, but a lovely day. Once in a while it’d be nice to walk into something where I have a full charge of energy but that never seems to happen.
After that? A week after that in fact, we ran a stand at the JISC Digital Festival. THAT was also awesome. Tech art on SMART board and iPad, demoing our skills to a wide array of Universities, companies and more. It was a huge pleasure to be involved in and the students thoroughly enjoyed being treated like they were the custodians of the images made in a brand new world.
Three days after that? I was invited to christen the Google wall on Tottenham Court Road. It was a lot of fun. A limited tool set to say the least but nice to spread out on a very large canvas. May well be in there again on the following two Thursdays, umming and ahhing about what I should do. After that a very lovely tablet art teaching session at the Ben Uri gallery in London, which is always wonderful to be a part of.
One day after that…? Oh, just setting up our stand at the London Super Comics Convention.
Just so we’re clear, not all months are like this. This has been a bit hectic. At times unpleasantly so (especially when one unsupportive voice tried to raise hers above the fab supportive ones). Regardless – how can you say no to the opportunity to have your students treated like stars? It’s been a month of 18 hour days but their Cvs will shine as a result*
So… LSCC. Nice quiet weekend? No. Not really. An excellent weekend, just not a quiet one.
We’ve done a lot of cons, many at ExCeL which is a venue I’ve grown to really love, and this was BY FAR my favourite. The space was almost a perfect size. Our new signature move (wallpapering the stand) looked fabulous (courtesy of Rosie, Nick and Tallia) and the IWB shone. It shone when the students used it, it shone when I used it. And it SuperNova’d when Mr Charlie (the Walking Dead) Adlard, Mr Edward (horribly talented artist) Ofosu and Mr Bill (Daredevil, Elektra, New Mutants, Stray Toasters, everything) Sienkiewicz used it. Charlie was, genuinely, one of the nicest people I have ever met and, of course, no-one can argue with his accomplishment as an artist. A true gentleman. Edward is fabulous and I’m horribly envious of his innate ability.
Bill? He’s one of the super stars of my comics universe. Everyone has their favourites. Mine include Mr Sienkiewicz and have done since… New Mutants? Elektra? Brought to Light? I honestly can’t remember which is the first. Stray Toasters is a genre definer, a beautiful mix of styles, an artistic statement and a fabulous collection of odd thoughts and malicious toast. The second member of staff posted on his facebook that he’d never seen me go full fanboy. I did. Charlie was, and is, wonderful, but I came to his artwork once my love of comics was fully formed. Bill was one of the artists who taught me to love sequential illustrated narrative all those years ago. Shaking his hand was a huge thrill, teaching him to use ArtRage on a Promethean IWB was an extraordinary experience.
And now? What’s next? Um. Don’t know. I know what I want to do, which requires, as ever as always, a little bit of chasing. But for the moment I’m happy. We pulled off a heck of a show, then another. And then one after that. LSCC were wonderful partners, as were JISC. Eating ice cream at Chin Chins is always lovely and the Apple Store is an icon that I probably should have felt more scared to step onto the stage of. We even managed to take a selfie with Mr Johnny Vegas who was kind enough to stand still with a motley bunch of brilliant kids.
But the main thanks? As ever – the students. I’m a happy teacher. The kids are more than OK. They’re fab. Nicky Morgan et al may be hell bent on destroying the opportunities of education for the masses but the kids still learn and grow as they ever did while they have the chance. The only difference is that, in my case, I tell them they’ll work stupidly hard in and out of my classes at enrolment and, by golly, they do. We’ve done 14 events this year Most have joined in and, I hope, they’ve learnt a huge amount.
That said: I’m dog tired..
*So far the kids have been residential artists at Eurogamer, BETT, Teentech, Surrey Opps, Teentech London, Surrey Skills, Electric Theatre, Shake Shack, MCM, LSCC, Dell, JISC and a few other places I can’t think of or remember. That;’s not, at all, a bad CV to step out of an A level class with.