It was with shock and great sadness that the CGAA community learned this week of year three student Katy Negus's untimely death on Sunday, December 2nd. Our thoughts are with Katy's family now as we try to imagine their grief at this unfathomably sad time.
I'm tempted to express here our collective sense of injustice at the idea of a young life cut so suddenly short. I'm tempted to give voice to the unfairness of it all. We're all feeling it, I know - the disbelief, and a helplessness experienced as a kind of anger. Instead, I'm going to suggest we seek comfort in the idea that Katy passed peacefully in her sleep. I'm going to ask all of you to remember that when Katy attended her tutorial on Friday, she was content in her work and its progress. I think Katy knew - as we did - that she was on the cusp of producing her most accomplished work-to-date. I think she was excited and I think she was happy, and perhaps knowing this can encourage us to now celebrate Katy's time on CGAA and not dwell too long or too darkly on our sorrow at her passing.
It's no secret. Katy was a quiet one. She kept her own counsel and found some of the more social aspects of university life challenging. However, to underestimate Katy was a mistake. Indeed, I still remember the sound of collective jaws hitting the lecture theatre floor when Katy presented her final image for her year one tableaux vivants brief: an abandoned juggernaut of the Jerry Bruckheimer variety, all monster-truck tyres and dazzling chrome; a macho slab of road movie mayhem executed with filmic flair, mordant humour and considerable technical accomplishment. This was the moment I knew that when the guy said, 'It's the quiet ones you have to watch,' he was talking about Katy Negus.
Arguably, Katy's greatest challenge during her time on CG Arts & Animation was presented by the Year Two Narrative project, which asked her to work collaboratively. It was during this period that Katy changed most visibly. Her confidences took another leap forward, and while group work brings always the stresses and strains of compromise and personal quirks, Katy persevered and Katy prospered, taking a leading role in the design and execution of an original animated short. CGAA Year 3 student, Molly Bolder, who worked closely with Katy during this project, asked me to make special mention of Katy's contribution, whose deconstructed character designs of b-movie monsters were a delight.
Katy's Sea Orm - a mythical serpent purported to haunt the uncharted waters of the Carta Marina and subject of Katy's Year 3 minor project - will now remain forever unrealised. Still, I want to conclude this tribute by sharing with you a glimpse of what might have been, but not so we can mourn bleakly or rail a-new against the tragedy of Katy's death. I can think of no better way to celebrate Katy's promise and creativity by showing here her last production drawing. We should take a moment to admire its delicacy and skill and in so doing remember Katy Negus fondly as a talented and exceptionally determined young woman who loved her monsters and her Maya, and who'll be sadly missed.