August 10th, 2006

A Tribute to Michael Geiger.

:Thanks to Tristan for the amazing photo.

The Man, the myth, the legend: Michael Geiger.

I've told you all about this man, and my admiration of him has only sky-rocketed since the last time I wrote about him. With his German accent as thick as ever, Michael Geiger has changed me as a graphic designer and as a person in the best ways one can possibly imagine. Despite the rocky times when we first stumbled upon each others' personalities under the same roof, the Leo Lions buried deep within us (or perhaps not so much) have over the course of time managed to find what makes us tick, and tick together.

Michael Geiger is one of those teachers you will never forget. Whether it's lovingly or hatefully, that voice is not one that leaves your head for a good portion of your life after meeting him and dealing with him. His teachings have brought me to a level I love being at, and with him I am constantly striving to be a better designer, to come up with better ideas, to win his approval because I know it's of the most valuable you can get from anyone else. After all that time we spent butting heads and not being able to understand the ways in which each other worked, common ground has been an adventure of struggle that is massively rewarding. I love the amount I feel I am now capable of learning from this charismatic and amazing man whose name rings infamously through the hallways of our school. He is simply the most influential and important teacher I have ever had for any class of any kind, and the best way I can think to express that to him is to make it apparent in the work I produce for his classes. I try my hardest for him because although he may be getting old, he is certainly far from blind in that department. His assignments are far from boring, and he has nothing but appreciation for any ability to step outside the box, or to kick to the box out of the picture completely. His critiques are brutally honest and never false, which makes a compliment seem like a gift from the heavens when they rarely do arise. His methods of lecturing are compelling, although a bit rambling and distracted at times, and his care for those whose work he respects make having him on your side one of those rewarding struggles one can hope to endure and accomplish in their college career.

Today marks the 62nd birthday of this raging German we take our time getting to love. I can connect with Geiger on an even higher level knowing now that a Lion prowls and roars within each of us, as well as the dozen other birthdays that fell in this week, and it dictates the values we so carefully pick and choose to surround us in our sometimes complicated lives. The man can rage and I will be in his classroom every time to rage there with him, or back at him, whatever the case may be. Whether he knows it or not, and I think he does, Michael Geiger is an incredibly important figure in my life, and would likely be a contributing factor in whether or not I decided to think about thinking about thinking about thinking about transferring to New York City, as I know I will continue to have plenty of classes with him.

It's unfortunate that many people at our school, whether because they slack and can't take the heat he throws from his ever-fuming head, or because they simply can't relate to his firey tendencies, don't experience anything remotely close to the liking I have for him and the educational and inspirational benefits I get from being in his classes. In fact, the school may as well be divided perfectly into the half that despises him horribly and wishes they could understand why he shreds their work in half right before their tired eyes, and the other half who has learned his character traits and embraced them as a source they're not likely to find in any other place but this one. And I thank those of you who support Michael Geiger's semi-retardation in the form of absolute, mind-boggling methods of cultured learning, for to some of us, that is a method of acquiring knowledge that we thrive on. And to those of you who supported the 'German-40-oz.' project for his birthday, which involved purchasing a 40 oz, re-desigining the label in about 3.4 seconds to represent every little thing in a single design that could possibly yet under Geiger's skin, and four kisses on the four cheeks that presented the beautifully paper-bag-wrapped present to him after class. Thanks to you guys, and of course, thanks to Michael Geiger, for being the most fucking amazing teacher I've ever had.