Dear Prof Brooks,
In about '92, a friend stopped me in the street and said, smiling; "I heard your art professor being interviewed on Varsity radio. He sounds like a really cool, nice man. At the end, the DJ asked what was his favourite song, and they played "Don't Give Up" by Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel. Wow." I felt a vicarious coolness by being in your faculty, having you as my professor, and grinned back.
Your extra credit Visual Communications lectures were so popular, and all my friends who took the course raved about it endlessly. They found you a fresh, funny, gust of wind from left-field, compared to the dry world of BCom, or the pedants in Social Sciences. You were often quoted amid conversations about Tom Robbin's 'Even Cowgirls Get the Blues' and 'Still Life with Woodpecker'. You were, and remain our personal outlaw.
After a strict, dry high-fibre three year diet of Ms Verwey’s art theory, your final year lectures were an electric cool aid fruit salad of fresh, exciting new ideas, insights, and your own personal observations on the unfolding world of art. You taught me that art is about the process, not the product. I carry that in my head every time I take a photograph, open a sketchpad, or sit down to write an article.
In one of your last lectures in final year you said; "you students have taught each other far more than we ever could. Us professors are just facilitators, props to the real learning you've shared".
You were loved and admired by us all, and made us proud to be part of that art school in a small town between nowhere and where and what we'd been before you peeled open our young minds like ripe oranges.
Your humour, kindness, and the insights you gave me are with me always.
Thank you for so much,
Tim Jones (class of ‘94)