King’s students are lucky to currently be learning from acclaimed printmaker, painter and sculptor Michel Tuffery MNZM.
Michel’s association with King’s began in 2004. This year, he is opening students’ eyes to woodcut printing, where the artist carves their design into a piece of wood, leaving a raised image which they ink and print onto paper.
The brief is to create a work representing your family, which Year 11 Visual Arts student Budda Doyle (Peart) has done with symbols of the Irish and Maori sides of his ancestry.
Budda says it’s helpful to get pointers from Michel as a practising artist. “I’m learning something that he’s really good at,” Budda says.
Head of Art Joel Tucker sees the artist in residence scheme as having great value for King’s students. “Nothing can replace the direct learning experience from a working artist.
“Having an artist-in-residence actively creating work in the classrooms is profoundly engaging, and our students respond so well.”
Michel sees art as a way for students to build confidence, and he speaks of the transformations he sees from the beginning to the end of his workshops.
“I think watching them surprise themselves, that’s the best part,” he says. “When they come to rolling it up, printing it off, and all of a sudden their confidence goes through the roof – that’s great.”
And for Michel, it’s about more than the day spent together in the classroom.
“I’ve kept in contact a lot with the students when they’ve left the institution and just guided them along in the real world,” he says.
“I get these emails every so often from students around the world, what they’re up to, and they keep me up to date,” he says.
Art Technician Dani Harpur says she’s just recently heard from one of Michel’s students, Joe Jakicevich (Parnell, 2013-16), who is now at art school in Wellington. He wanted to know what sort of ink he and his class had used when printmaking with Michel.
“See, that’s what I love!” says Michel. “The strongest kaupapa is here at King’s. Just because a student leaves doesn’t mean that you stop. We call it manaakitanga – you keep giving and they’ll give back.”
Michel submits work to the King’s College Art Sale – keep an eye on kingscollegeartsale.co.nz for a sneak preview.