Meeting a hero

Meeting Milton

The Milton Glaser Summer Program

I’d been looking forward to this day ever since I’d received the email telling me I’d been accepted on the course. 

I’d woken at 4.30am, still jet-lagged but excited. I decided to go for a run around the empty streets of Manhatttan to pass the time before our 9am start. It was stll hot out there. It was in the nineties during the day but even at this early hour it was still muggy and it took me over an hour to cool down. 

At 8.30am I walked through the doors of the School of Visual Arts, with two bags – one filled with sketch pads, crayons, rulers and all the stuff I’d carried around as a young student – in the other my MacAir, iPad and other 21st century goodies. under my other arm I carried my 15 x 20” assignment (see blog for 21st July: ‘Homework’), wrapped in a large plastic bag. On the 6th floor I followed the US letter-size pieces of white paper taped to corridors and doors on which rather unassumingly, in Helvetica, was printed Glaser Workshop and an accompanying arrow. They led to a large white studio – so bright I almost wanted to put my sunglasses back on. 

There were already quite a few students there, sat at desks that were neatly laid out in rows. I introduced myself to some of the students, one who was reassuringly older than me – Bob a design lecturer from Wisconsin. 

At the back of the room was a large table laid out with coffee, bagels, muffins and fresh fruit. And a large refrigerator loaded with every type of soft drink. I grabbed a coffee and a seat at the front of the class. More students arrived and at five to nine the man himself made his entrance. 

He wore a pink shirt with white collar and cuffs, chinos, Timberland canvas shoes, aviator sunglasses and a Panama hat. I felt the urge to stand up and applaud, but everyone else seemed rather ambivalent so I remained in my chair. Milton / Mr Glaser / Sir, (not sure what we’re supposed to call him yet) asked us to move all the tables to the back of the room and bring all the chairs to the front, where he sat, legs crossed on a swivel chair. He then called out the register. It really was like being back at school. As he called out the names (many unpronouncable from all parts of the world), he asked each of us why we were here and what we expected to get out of the class. I told him of how the course had become a catalyst for change in my life and how today was the first day of my new professional life. He smiled. 

After the register we were all asked to pin up our assignments on the wall facing the class behind where MIlton sat. As you can imagine it was a varied collected of interpretations of his brief – to illustrate the artistic influences in our lives. Some had obviously taken many hours/days to complete, others looked like they’d been hastily assembled a couple of hours before the start of class. 

And sadly, this is where I have to stop this blog because as the first rule of the Fight Club states: You do not talk about the Fight Club. 

The structure and content of the Milton Glaser Summer Program has been designed in such a way that to reveal it would spoil the experience and effectiveness for future participants. I only learned this at the conclusion of the course and though I’ve written about every day, I won’t be posting them... just yet. I wrote to Milton because he implied that this year may be his last, running the course. But until I hear back, I will respect the unwritten rule that everyone on the course agreed to adhere to. However I’ve posted a few pics and examples of work that I produced during the week, though they don't give too much away.

Gary CookeComment