I had my blog post all prepared for today but we received some sad news that our old A-level Art tutor has died.
Roger Silvester was head of the Art Department at Selby College for many years, and had a reputation as a straight-talking tutor who pushed students to be the best they could, with a firm but fair hand and wonderfully grumpy sense of humour. His incredible teaching was reflected in the results people under his tutelage received year after year, which were some of the best in the country. He had no patience for time-wasters or ‘bullshitters’ and expected you to be as fully committed to learning as he was to teaching – tick these few boxes and you would be richly rewarded and some were and some weren’t – you had to work hard to earn those rewards. I worked hard and Roger instilled a confidence in me that was reflected in both my artwork and personal development, and I have Roger and his colleague Mary Goldthorpe to thank for helping me achieve my dream of going to Central Saint Martins.
Roger had studied Printmaking at the Royal College in the same year group as David Hockney, but was very coy about his own artistic achievements and exceptional draftsmanship, allowing students only the rarest glance of those skills. The Art department is also where me and Mr K forged our initial friendship, so we were both fortunate to be taught by him and often speak fondly of the time we spent at Selby College, even about the time he locked us in a cupboard for disturbing one of his classes – in all fairness we were in the wrong!
There are only a handful of people you meet in life who will have such a profound effect on you.
Thank you Roger.
* This is a reference to one of Rogers favourite exasperated phrases!