Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Where it all began.

As most of you know I teach high school. How I got into teaching is a story in itself, but what I wanted to talk about was how I got into art, which is kind of where it all began.

I was always interested in art and drawing. My mother, who also did art, was supportive of us, as kids drawing. I remember her playing "art" type games with us on rainy days when there was nothing to do. Games like, she would draw a line on a piece of paper and then we would have to make it into something. (I still do this game with my high school students and I think that it is an excellent creativity exercise.)

And I was a day dreamer, doodler kind of kid. My notebooks would be covered in drawings that I would do while I was at school.

But if there was one moment, one moment that made me say that art was what I wanted to do, it would have been a Saturday afternoon, at home, flipping the channels on the TV and coming across "The Hecklers", a film that was produced by the National Film Board and it showcased the art of political cartooning here in Canada. I don't know what it was about that movie but it grabbed me and I decided that afternoon that art was what I was going to do.

My favourite artist, in that group of very talented artists, was Duncan Macpherson who worked for the Toronto Star for over 35 years.

I really admired his drawing ability. What can I say, the man could draw!

The other thing that blows me away, having worked in the industry for a long time, is the amount of work that he produced. But also that he pumped it out and that much he did day after day, and managed to maintain a very high standard of quality.

Then when I was working at Central Technical School, here in Toronto, I had the pleasure of working with his son, Ian Macpherson. I never got to meet the man himself as he died in 1993 but it was special for me to meet Ian, and also Ian's mother, and tell them what an influence Duncan's work had on me.

Here are a couple of samples of his work.


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