This past week, I got to meet with Monk Schane-Lydon, an arts professor here at Simon's Rock, to gain some insight into his perspective on teaching here as well as other facets of his life. Below is the conversation that unfolded:
What do you teach at Simon’s Rock?
Right now, I specifically teach graphic design, but I’m also going to be teaching a mod of sound design.
Do you have/What are other roles you have on campus?
Well my official title is senior instructional technologist information technology services, so I work for ITS, but I tell people that I work ‘the wet side of the wall’ for ITS, which is all the human interactions stuff. I’m not a network person, I’m not a system admin, I don’t do any of the database stuff, that’s all handled by other people, but anything you would have contact with, whether that’s a computer, a projector, a printer, that all kinda falls into… my realm.
Why should someone think about taking your classes?
A couple of years ago, campus had this whole discussion about liberal arts in the digital age and the idea was that students should be able to leave this campus being able to build their own website, create a business card for themselves, put together a decent resume– and a lot of that stuff goes into graphic design– the basic theories of composition, color, and layout. It’s important how you present yourself to the outside world, once you’re done with classes here.
What about graphic design is fun for you to teach?
Well it’s kinda like the first thing that I say when I start a class– graphic design to me is all of the arts, together to communicate an idea. So you could use photography, you could use illustration, your writing skills, it all comes together in graphic design. Even if you’re really big into fonts, or typesetting– stuff like that– that’s important as well… so you can use your painting skills, pretty much any other art form– sculpture– all can be pulled into graphic design.
What is something you would like students to know about you?
Actually, a friend of mine summed it up and it was a word I had never really heard before… I’m a polymath–I never stop learning. When somebody hits me with an idea that I’ve never heard about, I want to find out more about it. Believe or not quantum physics is a hobby of mine, I love the theories and stuff like that. I just enjoy a good challenge.
Since you did work on game cutscenes for Batman, do you like superheroes? Who is your favorite?
I’m a big Captain America fan. I think he’s probably my favorite, although Iron Man– the whole idea behind Tony Stark– I’d like to have his workshop, but Captain America for sure.
Your bio also says that you acted and did voice talent work. Which do you prefer?
Well voice talent work is acting. I’m always on stage though and I enjoy the response of an audience. When you get into the rhythm of an audience and they’re like with you 100%, that’s an amazing moment. With the voice acting, you don’t get that response. You don’t know if they’re listening. When you’re on stage, you get immediate feedback.
I think a lot about the stereotype of firemen saving cats from trees since there is also a stereotype that when they fall from tall heights they always land on all fours, perfectly fine, so I feel as though they could just jump. Do you have any insight on this?
I would have to figure out the physics… force is mass times acceleration, so I’m sure there’s a particular height that would just not be healthy for the cat...
How do you feel about cartoons?
I used to watch a lot of television, but I don’t watch television anymore. I’ll watch Pixar, so I guess, they’re cartoons, but for me it’s all about the story. You can tell a good story with stick figures, Pixar happens to tell really good stories with really good animation, it’s a good combination.
If you had to outlaw one meal from the Earth, what would it be and why?
Pretty much anything with asparagus in it, I think. A vile abomination.
Have you, personally, ever owned a magazine subscription for longer than a year by choice? What was it? Why?
Oh, actually I own several magazine subscriptions by choice, WIRED magazine. A magazine called Panorama, I read that because their graphic design is absolutely amazing. Same thing with the BMW magazine. Communication Arts is a magazine that I have for professional reasons. It’s not quite an interesting magazine, compared to WIRED, but I still keep it. It’s 50 bucks a year! It only comes out every quarter!
If someone was about to attack you, you couldn’t leave, no way of escape, and all you had was a box of saltines, how would you handle this situation?
Well, I’ve always considered myself harm’s way, so the box of saltines would be for afterwards, as a snack.
If you could only watch one movie genre for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What’s the genre for something like Bourne Identity? You know, kinda like a thriller I guess– espionage thriller. Love that kinda stuff where you don’t know how it’s gonna end and who the bad guy is.
If you could create a national holiday, what would it be?
I’m not sure if there is a holiday to celebrate teachers and what they do. I’ve always thought that teaching is the pinnacle of anybody’s achievement– to be able to share knowledge. So I think that there should be a holiday for that if it doesn’t already exist.
Who is Chartwell?
Who is Chartwell? Geez I don’t know… Is it an actual person? I always thought it was just a company.
Lexi is the co-founder of The Weekly Cad