Image ©2009 Steve Dressler.
“But what would the angels be without someone to guide them? Enter Tim Gunn of ‘Project Runway.’ In the debut issue’s second story, Mr. Gunn becomes an action figure — jumping into Iron Man’s suit of armor to save a fashion exhibition from evildoers.”
I went to Parsons School of Design. Before even entertaining the idea of attending as a freshman, I had to go for an initial interview and review of my “portfolio.” I put portfolio in quotes as it was basically a collection of marker drawings with some attempts at pencil renderings. In short, it was garbáge. I hadn’t taken an art class since my last year in junior high, which meant I had never gotten any formal art training outside of typical arts and crafts at summer camp.
So, I took my “portfolio” into the offices and had a very nice interview with an impressive, charming, and understanding gentleman. He was sympathetic to my lack of formal training, but said I showed a lot of promise. He gave me a take-home test of sorts, which would basically help me create what would be a proper portfolio for entering into the admissions system. Not for the full 4 year program, mind you, but to take college level art classes prior to entry into the BFA program.
I returned in about three weeks time to meet the eloquent gentleman again, new Portfolio in hand. He was complimentary and positive, but also pointed out some elements worth critiquing. Surprisingly, I wasn’t put off by this, and happily explained my intentions. I also absorbed the points he was making, being humble enough to admit my weaknesses. It was a really great feeling to have a discussion based not only on my work, but creativity in general. This was the first time I had ever had a tete-a-tete with an instructor of sorts, where I felt I was being heard and I was also open to their response. I had gone through NYC public schools, the son of a teacher. Outside of the home, I never really felt in class that my teachers were connecting with me individually. This was monumental for me. I knew that I would actually learn things, differently, at this school.
I heard back in a couple of months from Parsons, with an acceptance, allowing me to start traveling to the city every week to attend fancy art classes with consummate professionals. There were even nude models. It was totally awesome. I eventually got into the BFA program, graduating with a degree in Illustration in 2000.
Fast forward to 2004, and the premiere of Project Runway. I was instantly intrigued by the idea of a game show of sorts where the contestant’s creativity and ingenuity was being judged. Then, as I’m watching, its all about Parsons. Then comes Tim Gunn, then chair of the Fashion Department. He was exactly what I loved about my education at Parsons, and seemed like the perfect ambassador for the school. I felt like I had a kinship with him, but couldn’t put my finger on it. After a call to my moms, she brought up the charming gent from the interviews. It was the same dude. Tim Gunn had popped up the ranks and with his winning personality would soon charm Amerca’s pants off.
I am forever thankful to him. My mother is forever thankful to him.
And now he’s going to be Iron Man.