If there’s one thing I love about CCH, it’s the Arts program. And no, I don’t just mean the Fine Arts. While great in their own respects, sometimes it’s nice to explore the more material-art side of the school, whether that be in New Media (digital arts) or in your average, run-of-the-mill Art class. Which, if I’m going to be completely honest with you, in CCH isn’t quite average, or run-of-the-mill. For this, we owe to Mr. Hogan.
For myself, Mr. Hogan has always been wrapped up in a shroud of mystery, so I didn’t try to pry too deeply into his life, because the mystery is part of his character. Also, in my personal experience, Mr. Hogan’s answers can get largely philosophical and vague, or incredibly untrue, so I stuck to some questions that were more character revealing, than those that would reveal a life story.
Brent Hogan “grew up” in Calgary until he was 22. I say “grew up” in the loosest terms, because it’s a fact (proclaimed by himself) that he never really grew up at all. In the eleven years following, he travelled various places around the world, including a period in Europe, and a brief teaching stint at the University of Lethbridge in 1988.
He attended postsecondary at the Alberta College of Art (now renamed the Alberta College of Art and Design, or ACAD) because, as he very bluntly puts it, he didn’t want to get a job. Like most artists, then and now, he got through on scholarships, something that I think most students nearing the end go high school can relate to. When I asked what he took away from school he replied, “Everything I could”. Schooling for him, he explained, and I think this is something we can all understand and learn from, was about understanding himself.
From there I asked why he became a teacher, and he gave me another classic “Hogan” answer: “Necessity.The rent doesn’t pay itself, you know?” He segued into how high school wasn’t exactly a great experience for him, and he wanted to get that chance to teach kids better. I think that this is something that really shows itself in his teaching, too. It’s a particular experience to be in class lead by Mr. Hogan, because it’s something that is completely unorthodox and opposed to what we may know to be teaching. “I don’t teach anymore,” he tells me, “I guide”. And I think that’s one hundred percent true. Mr. Hogan loves teaching high school, so he says, because of the kids: because of their limitlessness. It’s incredible to hear that. It’s incredible to be able to grow without such strict parameters.
He spent his years of eighteen to thirty-six professionally producing art, until becoming a teacher, which has rounded up to a collective twenty-four years, presently. His passion for art is large and almost tangible if you get him talking about it. It’s because of the communication art brings and because art makes you think. However, he stopped doing it at thirty-six because he never wanted to do art part-time. He took up residence here at CCH due to an offer he couldn’t refuse, and he’s been an anchor to the Arts department ever since. However, you will see him around in other classes, teaching things like Social, English, Math, for a brief moment, Religion, and of course Art, Design and New Media.
I asked for the top three coolest places he lived, and to my surprise, he rattled off three Canadian cities: Banff, Vancouver, and the most surprising of all, Regina. When I expressed my disbelief at this, he told me how he meant for it to be a quick drop in, but ended up loving the people-centric attitude that the city holds. The culture and society is rich there, he said, because they have something else to build on. He stayed and taught for four years. His best life experiences, he says, are anywhere he is growing and learning.
To part with my interview, I asked him for some life advice. Cliche, but true, he says, “Listen to your heart,” and even more importantly, in my opinion, “Remain passionate”. Those two things are the real key to success, kids, and I would cling to those like a lifeboat if I was you.
In all honesty, I could go on about Mr. Hogan for ages, but none of us really have the time for that. I urge you, at least once, and if he isn’t too busy doing the eighty million things he’s always doing, to go have a chat with him. You’ll go in with one question, and leave with twenty more. But hey, isn’t that what school’s all about?
Get to know the people in our school. You’d be surprised who’s here.
Baylee Chilton is a Grade Twelve student at CCH. She enjoys copious amounts of television, novels, and terrible old indie music. Her favourite thing about CCH is the library at Campus East.