Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Central Technical School

Last week, I took a nostalgic trip down memory lane as I photographed old pictures from my art school days.  If Xpresspost is all it's cracked up to be Mark will receive the CD I made him for his birthday, today.

Helen Salomaa in front of the Art Building, January, 1966 

The gal behind the camera most of the time is pictured above.  Our own personal paparazzi; she has left us with a life-long gift of so many photographs.  I stopped in the midst of writing this post to consult Canada 411 where I found Helen's phone number.  After all these years, she and I have just had a long, wonderful and rich conversation. 

In September, 1962, ten days after I entered grade nine and the Art Course at Central Tech, I turned fourteen.  Side by side thirty kids (some came, some went) forged their artistic skills in the four-year art program.  To accommodate the extensive range of art courses our academic classes consisted only of the absolute essentials.  These we studied all together in "the old school" classrooms. 

However, we were split into two groups for art classes and spent glorious hours in the fabulous studios of the art building.  This afforded us an intimacy the likes of which was highly improbable in a regular curriculum of a Toronto Public High School.  At the time Central Tech had an enrollment of 2000 students.

We made art and studied together ...

Mark Thurman, me and John Williamson (RIP), January 1966

... and, we played together ...

Neil Sharp, yours truly and Mark Thurman, April 26th, 1964

Being children of the 60s we were naturally influenced by The Beatles.  Above we emulate their Twist and Shout album cover.

Murray McLaughlin, me, Sandra Shibata and Sandra Ko, January, 1966

Having such intense courses, based on solid classical training (in other words we learned how to draw) available to me while so young was undoubtedly one of the finest opportunities of my life.  Art instruction was imparted by instructors of the highest calibre including Canadian icon Doris McCarthy, who taught there for 40 years.

Life drawing was a daily event, April 1966

As the four years flew by I savoured every day dreading its end well before the last year came and went.   

Last day of the last year in Paul Summerskill's class, June 10th, 1966

Many divine turns have sent me in directions I never dreamed of but, to this day, I maintain the foundation that I continue to build on are those precious Central Tech years.