May 12, 2014.
Max the Mutt
College of Animation, Art & Design
952 Queen St. West.
Toronto, On M6J 1G8
Attention: Maxine Schacker
Re: Appreciation for Max the Mutt
This is a letter I have felt inspired to write since my first day of life drawing modeling at Max the Mutt. I’ve worked in three academic years now and I feel just as strongly about my first session impressions. Having come to the close of another term, and one that really sparkled for me, I’d like to say a few words.
My introduction to modeling at Max the Mutt was in a first year life drawing class. Within about two hours of steeping myself in the quiet of the class environment an appreciation began to reveal itself to me. “This is a very special place,” I sensed. I felt like I’d stepped into a matrix and one that lived and breathed. My experiences to this day continue to confirm that Max the Mutt embodies a unique synthesis of quality of curriculum, teaching and environment.
- In regards to curriculum I have the sense that…
- it has not only been carefully crafted but is tended to and adjusted as needed. It is not static.
- each year builds progressively on the next in each of the programs. Year one feels like it is already connected to years three and four. Fundamentals are deeply respected.
- the teachers in their respective classes feel responsible to convey their content well for the sake of the student, their peers who are teaching companion classes to these same students and for their own sense of creative and professional satisfaction.
- The quality of teaching I witness at Max the Mutt is very inspiring. I love observing and appreciating the interactions between teachers and students in the classroom.
- Your teachers really engage. They are connected to the overall class culture and to the key signature of each of their students. They check in with the students and challenge them collectively and individually. Everyone works really hard and, in my experience, there are lots of laughs shared too.
- They have excellent skills in expressing their content and craft. It’s all nectar and no filler.
- Max the Mutt teachers respect their students and their peers.
- Time and time again I marvel at how your teachers approach students when they are working. They have this ability to quietly come from ‘below’ rather than from ‘above’ in a more heavy handed way. In so doing, they are often able to interact and guide the student without interrupting their process. There’s a seamlessness that allows for integration and growth in the creative moment.
- Classes may take place within the walls of the school but there is a quality of environment at Max the Mutt that is really the school’s ‘home’.
- Respect is really important – respect for the craft of drawing, yourself and for each other.
- I love the emphasis on quiet in the classroom and I witness ‘first hand’ the benefits of this commitment.
- Above all, I feel that Max the Mutt is dedicated to connecting each student with their respective creative voice so they may thrive. Drawing fundamentals are critical but just as important is cultivating the discipline of connecting in the quiet with yourself, learning to listen and allowing yourself to become absorbed creatively. It is a simple and very powerful philosophy. And in this day and age of constant noise stimulation and distraction a commitment to quiet it is also a courageous philosophy. It is thrilling, I believe, to see how the results speak so eloquently for themselves.
- Max the Mutt is a family. People don’t just work there. Students don’t just go to class. I love observing the connections that teachers, administration and students share with each other and build together over the course of three or four years. These connections are marked by care, commitment, interest and exploration.
As a life drawing model my place in the classroom affords me a really unique perspective. Working with staff and students at Max the Mutt is something I thoroughly enjoy. While I sincerely appreciate the respect my role is given at the school, nothing equals the satisfaction of being a part of the journey of learning and watching students really excel and grow into their craft. It is a very beautiful experience.
Best wishes and thank you to everyone at Max the Mutt.
And thank you, Louise!
Louise is one of the best professional models we’ve worked with. The quality of work achieved t max the mutt is directly linked to the focus, passion and hard work of everyone at the school! Models are critically important, but can only do their work in a serious, respectful environment.