A tribute from Greg McGee to York College Art & Design Tutor Ed Poxon, who died suddenly on 21st June. Greg was honoured to step up and share his thoughts on his fallen friend, alongside selected family, students and colleagues. Featured photo (l to r): New Visuality prize winners Daniel Dickson and Joseph Acaster, Ed Poxon, Greg McGee at the York College Art & Design Degree Show 2019, exactly a week before Ed's sudden passing.
I knew Ed Poxon enough to know that if he had been present at his own funeral he would have rolled his eyes at our grief and chided us to cheer up.
He was humbling and humble, self deprecating, and great company. I'd always quietly begin to buzz when I'd spot that shrewd, amused glitter in his eye when he began an anecdote. He was a very good storyteller.
He'd also glitter when he'd cut me down mid-sentence if I myself was getting too big for my boots. He'd be like, "That'll do, gobshite." He'd be so charming with it. He liked show offs, but he was wary of ego.
As a mate, he was a generous, gentle and witty presence.
Professionally, he would relentlessly, rigorously prioritise the learning and welfare of his students. There are a lot of people who will suffer the hissing of an Ed Poxon shaped hole in their lives, a shape with a shyly smirking smile and a pair of black spectacles. Most coruscatingly, of course, Tessa and his family will have to live without him and their pain must be dreadful. We, as his mates, will miss him in our own way.
And there's another cohort of people who will miss him, perhaps without even knowing it. He touched the lives of hundreds of students. There are waves of Art & Design students about to pass through York College who will never benefit from his gentle guidance, and that strangely compounds the tragedy. We must work to ensure his influence continues, and I have to thank Tessa for her brave, tenderly expressed updates on social media. Facebook is often undeniably a shallow platform, but, Tessa, the brave and loving thoughts you share there make it a place for almost spiritual contemplation. Please keep it up, it helps all of us.
RIP, Ed Poxon.