Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimizu

Award winning Japanese illustrator based in New York City and instructor at School of Visual Arts.

Teaching In (HOT HOT) Venice!

Teatrio: Front
Venice was HOT. I mean, really…While I was teaching a six day illustration workshop in the last week of July with a local illustration organization Teatrio, the city recorded “the hottest day of 2009”.  In Italy, people don’t really believe in air conditioning. Summer is hot and you just sweat, like good old days. But with 13 students in a classroom? At first, I was not sure if I was able to survive.It turned out to be one of the best teaching experiences I had ever had.

How much can I teach in just 6 days?

I was a bit nervous at first. My job as a teacher is to let them get their money’s worth. But soon, I realized, sometimes short intensive time together can be a lot more effective than teaching once a week for one full school year.

How I try to teach is to work on each student’s strength and weakness. The crucial part is how much students and I can get to know each other in a short period. And this intensive time worked to our benefit.

We spend all 6 days together. Other than class time, we had morning café latte together, had lunch together, ate dinner together and sometimes had drinks late into the nights. Not that we had to, we just wanted to. And by the end of the course, we all felt as if we were the oldest friends! It was really sad to leave.

Thank you everyone. You were not the only ones who learned in those six days. You all taught me a lot to be always be passionate and love what I do, work hard, and also trained me to be a better teacher. Hope to see you again soon. And, I hope to go back to Venice again for another workshop.

Teatrio: Students 1
The students were mostly Italian with one Canadian and one British, age and level all varied, from some in middle school all the way up to professional illustrator level. Everyone was just so nice, motivated, hard working and helpful to each other. A few of the students even decided to stay in the school whole night before the last session, so they can finish the assignment. (I did not make them stay, everyone!)The assignment I gave this year was “create a superhero who saves Venice from sinking underwater”. We didn’t have good internet connection, but with this project, they were able to find inspirations and references all over the city!
Teatrio: Ilaria Grimaldi
Ilaria Grimaldi saw an old woman on the street, imagined her long life in Venice, then turned her into the superhero.
Teatrio: Ruggero Asnago
Ruggero Asnago got addicted to Venezian sandwitch Tramezzini, suffered from tight curfue of hostels, and turned a gecko into superhero who has lots of ‘useless’ powers.
Teatrio: Beatrice Davies
Beatrice Naomi Davies’ heroes use bottles and cans to rebuild the city’s old base. By the way Beatrice just finished high school and hoping to apply to art college in the US next year. What a talented young woman!
Teatrio: Peter Diamond
Peter Diamond used old plague doctor mask and San Marco. Peter is a Canadian now lives and works in Vienna, Austria.
Teatrio: Flavia Soprani
Flavia Soprani‘s idea was vain-like canals turning into a big tree with bridges. I love that everyone’s work and styles are so different!
Teatrio: Kalo Chu
Kalo Chu made herself into Chinese acrobats, balancing and lifting the city as well as all things she experienced during her stay in  Venice. Kalo is Chinese from Hong Kong now lives and works in London, UK.
Teatrio: Michele Boscagli
Michele Boscagli turned signature Venice architecture into a monster of his own creation.
Teatrio: August 2009 Class
All the students (and me) with their certificates of finishing the course.