Monday, June 15, 2009
Professor Jeremy Mullins (1977-2009)
On a fall evening in 2006 I attended the Comic Arts Forum Introductory Gallery Opening (or whatever they call it). It was a pretty important time in my life. It was my second year at SCAD, I was coming into my own at Norris Hall, and I was eying a cute girl and Tracy Yardley (artist for Sonic the Hedgehog comics) all at the same time. :-P
But, besides all that it was also the day I met Jeremy Mullins, future Sequential Art Professor. In all honesty I smirked to myself when I first saw him. The guy didn't look much older then a graduate student, and he wore this ridiculously polished suit. Still, the guy had a good sense about him and was a real pleasure to talk to out on the street in front of the gallery.
It would only be a matter of months before I stumbled into a little known class called "Self-promotion" which was taught by Mr. Mullins, and any sense of him being a push-over, green-behind-the-ears teacher was immediately kicked out the door. This guy was looking to bust some heads with his strict class agendas and no-nonsense teachings. I went in looking for an easy "A" and came out with more street smarts in the business then I knew what to do with.
The guy had dedication! Especially to his students! I remember he would come in on weekends to help me with projects. He even helped redesign the "ARFstudios" paw-print into something a bit trendier and more stylish (look all over blog for the paw, you'll see Jeremy Mullen's handi-work).
The especially great thing about Jeremy would be the words he'd throw out in conversations. My favorite Jeremy lingo being "Janky". If there was something not looking right in your art, it wasn't "wrong" it was "I don't know about that ghost in the corner...he's looking a little janky." But, whatever the words he used it was never in a manner of talking down to you. Jeremy made you feel like you were one of his pals.
I ran into Jeremy only minutes after I graduated this past May. I shook his hand and thanked him for what he had done for me. He smiled the same warm smile and gave a reassuring approval that I, like so many other students he taught and mentored, were ready for the world...even if the world wasn't ready for us.
That was the last time I spoke with Jeremy Mullins, the last time I'd see him would be on Broughton Street, two blocks ahead of me. I knew it was him because my attention was focused on a glimmering object which was of course his very well polished bald-head, attached to a perfectly groomed, taillored suit. Looking back, it's sort of surreal having only seen Jeremy from behind...as he walked away...and then turned a corner.
Life is always precious, and we often take it for granted. While we usually expect to lose people in all manners of ways, we never expect really the abruptness of it. It's usually long and agonizing or justified and stupid. You can say "He had it coming." or "He was suffering for so long." but neither come into play with Jeremy Mullins, an outstanding gentleman with a great sense of honor and inspiration.
To the whole situation Jeremy, I call it "pretty janked up", but it goes without saying you will continue to inspire and teach no matter where you are.
(Check out Mullins's website , but be warned, it's graphic!)