Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The illustration Academy 2009 is almost finished and once again it went by much too quickly. This is my second year in attendance and I can honestly say that this program, the instructors, and the students have changed my life. I believe this is the best program of its kind on the planet.
I worked on a freelance project for most of this year's academy, so I wasn't always able to do the assignments but just being in the presence of so many great artists has once again reshaped my thinking and pushed me to work harder than I ever thought I could.
Both years that I have been in attendance, I have been amazed at the quality of students and their dedication to their art. And rather than being an environment of competition, the mood here has always been that of cooperation and mutual respect.
Sometimes everyone pushes themselves a bit too hard and this is what the place looks like after we stay up all night to finish a project in time for the weekly critique...
The faculty is equally as dedicated. The full-time and visiting faculty are some of the most talented, generous, kind, inspirational and intelligent people I have ever had the good fortune to be around.
A great example of the kind of people who run this program comes to my mind from earlier this year. I was working on a project and talking about it with George Pratt. It was at about 11 pm and we were all pretty tired out from the day. He had a book he wanted me to see that might help me with my project, but he didn't have with him. So about an hour later, at midnight--on a day that began for all of us at 9 am or earlier-- he shows up with the book. He had driven home, found it and came back at that late hour without giving it a second thought. He could have easily waited until the next day or later that week, or later on the program, but he didn't-- he wanted to help me out and was excited to share with me what he had. And I can guarantee that every student here has a similar story about George or one of the faculty from the last seven weeks.
This also makes me think about something that happened last summer. It was the last day of the program and we were all preparing to go into the final critique. Everyone was pretty burned out and ready for some sleep-- I know I was. I walked into the faculty office to ask a question and some of the faculty members were sitting around talking. I expected that they would be talking about where to get lunch, or what they were doing later that night, but instead they were discussing one of the student's projects and how they could help her improve it. Minutes before the final critique, after 7 tireless weeks of helping us on days that lasted from 9 am to midnight almost 7 days a week, there they were still trying to help one of us just a little more. It chokes me up to think about it.
Below are a few links to learn more about the program. It goes without saying that I highly recommend this program for anyone who loves image making. This program has made a gigantic positive impact on my life and career.