Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Before the Fall Quarter began late last year, I was called into "the Principal's office" at FIDM. My stomach quivered, thinking that I had done something wrong. I almost felt as if I was fifteen years old and back in Junior High School, having been called in for that pen I stole from Suzy. OK, of course I lie. I don't think I was ever called in to any Principal's office back in my adolescent years and I did not know anyone named Suzy and no, there is no "real" Principal's office for the Instructor's at FIDM. But you get the picture! I was called in by one of the Department head's of the school who informed me that Lauren Conrad "LC", from MTV's hit show, "The Hills" was returning to FIDM to take some classes, one of which was a Fundamentals of Sketching course that I, in fact, teach. Would I mind , a) Being filmed while teaching for "The Hills", and b) Be Lauren's instructor.

Of course I said "Yes", as long as the filming did not disrupt the environment of the class and the student's. Having had a bit of prior experience with "Reality Shows" and production, this was not going to be, as I famously said "My first time at the Rodeo". I also knew that they would not show much of me on the show, since I know that "The Hills" is more about Lauren and her day-to-day interaction with her girlfriends and paramours, as opposed to concentrating on her attending school and the classes she was taking at FIDM.

The class she took is one in which I teach students in the Product Development Major, how to sketch flat/technical sketching--a very important skill to have under your belt. Since approximately 98 % of the sketching one will do in the "real" world of fashion involves flat/technical sketching as opposed to stylized fashion illustration. For ten weeks , I show students the basics of how to learn this skill and eventually know how to sketch technically by hand. Afterwards they take another class to learn how to to this through the aid of a computer.
It is not a difficult course, per se. I always joke with my students that "this isn't Rocket Science kids!", but some students just cannot grasp the fundamentals of eye-to-hand coordination and have a difficult time progressing from crooked stick figures. Lauren was exceptionally good, however. I asked her if she had taken some classes in drawing or art, and she told me she had. Well, you could tell. She had a great sense of proportion and caught on pretty quickly in terms of the work. It is interesting to watch the show, since I did not discuss with her anything beyond school work and did not get into her private life. Obviously she had a lot going on besides school, but then again, so does everyone. That is what life is about, managing it all and somehow making it all work.


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