It is 3:12 in the morning. I am wide awake as I often, listening to those radio podcasts which I can’t hear during the day because I prefer silence when I paint glass (or J.S. Bach).
Suddenly, in the middle of the night, I am attacked by a sudden fit of breathless spluttering, a violent seizure.
Did I really hear what I thought I heard? I hit the Replay button on my iPhone and find my worst fears confirmed.
The new Head of Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art (no less) is being interviewed on the radio show called “Start the Week”.
A modest little radio show is “Start the Week”. It describes itself as “setting the cultural agenda for the week ahead”.
And in case you’re wondering, “Visual Communication” (or ‘VC’ for short) is the new name for graphic design.
Now if your heart is weak, be sure to have a defibrillator on hand, or maybe call the Emergency Services in advance.
Also calm yourself with the thought there’s a thrilling video demonstration coming up for you.
The Royal College of Art – what is it?
Now, you might think you understand the phrase, “Royal College of Art”.
Turns out, you’d be wrong.
Says Neville Brody, the new Head of VC:
The Royal College of Art is a multiple skill-set space – it’s a partnership going forwards”.
“Multiple skill-set space” – yes, I think he means art involves many different techniques.
But “partnership going forwards?”
What does that mean?
And here’s where I almost have a seizure:
[In our College], the old idea of teacher and pupil dissolves, and it is much more a question of collaborative research rather than anything else“.
Now it’s 3:15 … my pulse is racing, and things just keep on getting worse:
We’re calling [the Royal College of Art] an ‘unfinishing’ school. People may come with highly formed skills and ideas, and we’re trying to break down the ideas and then understand which are the more appropriate skills to apply to that”.
Don’t you worry: it doesn’t make sense.
A betrayal of the young
The little that is clear is grotesque and irresponsible, maybe a betrayal even – a betrayal of the pupil who has come to learn and study and, yes, to be taught; the rest is gibberish.
“Art” already has a bad name, and all this trendy nonsense doesn’t help one bit.
We are different here
Believe me: any of you who asks us a question, we will do our utmost to help you find the answer and improve your skills. Any of you who spends time with us in the studio, we will do our best to teach you excellent, repeatable techniques. Just practical, repeatable techniques, with clear standards of accuracy.
How you use them in your work is up to you.
Yet be sure of this: whether you use them accurately – that is not a matter of personal whim. We’ll work with you to get it right!
Just be thankful its stained glass – a dull craft (not an Art like Visual Communication) – which bit you like a bug.
Oh dear, it’s 3:20 a.m. already. I’m still wide awake. Maybe you’d like to watch a short video with me.
I bet you’ve not had many offers like that before.
That’s what you get from the “multiple skill-set space” that is Williams & Byrne. (No smiling.)
Watch video of shading with oil on water
Oh, the gorgeous joys of oil on top of unfired water-based paint.
And remember as you watch that our job is to make the glass look ancient.
Also that what you see above is just the start of all the wrecking we shall do.
Now, when you want to learn more about about using oil on glass, see the full instruction manual here.