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Thursday, November 26, 2009

When I were a lad

Spent an evening at a 6th form exhibition (Chalfonts CC). It was for parents and was celebrating the work from a weekend residential course spent in London and Brighton. The work was excited and exciting. But the most noticeable characteristic was the sheer visual maturity of the work. Completed work and sketchbook pages showed a sophisticated curiosity about ideas and compositions, issues and textures. There was also a delighted acceptance of innovative and challenging contemporary artists such as Anish Kapoor at the RA and an artists' collective in Brighton.

It left me feeling slightly envious, and humbled, reflecting on how things had changed since I started teaching; when ten weeks with the school skull, wine bottle and drape was the height of 6th form sophistication. But that was forty years ago. Some of these students had taken 3,000 photographs over three days using a camera with a telephoto lens that I had not been able to afford until I was in my thirties. No wonder they were visually sopisticated and aware. It were not like that when I were a lad.