Art School

I don’t know where this thread should go and I figure this forum (MPSIMS) would be best.

I recently applied to several art schools of varying reknown and I was turned down because of my artwork. I’m not the best artist in the world but I draw every day, I am willing to learn and most importantly (sarcasm) I have the money to pay for my education.
Do art schools just accept the best students so they can make themselves 31337 in the eyes of their peers (and generous alumni) but don’t care about actually teaching students?

How strange.

If you draw every day you must be very good. Nonetheless, I can’t imagine anyone, even those less talented being turned away from art school. Sheesh. You must be pissed.

Join a local adult art class with an older teacher present. Do some stuff in the class. You can ask the teacher
for hints on what to submit. Little drawings on small paper won’t get you in an art school usually, but
big, brash & un-neat & weird-from the heart sort of thing usually entices them.

Are you sure they are considering just your art? Don’t they have an essay for you to write too?

[color=purple]No, they haven’t required me to write an essay. I do draw every day but it’s not like photorealism, Drawing the Marvel Way but it’s definitely not stick figures. I just have my own style.
I am very hard on myself regarding my artistic abilities and I really don’t think it’s good enough which is why I want to attend an art school. I want to get better. I want to do the work.
If I thought I was good, I wouldn’t bother with some school and just start doing my own art. Right now I’m just thinking about throwing it all away and doing something else like programming.


Ignore the jerks. When I was in art class my teacher said to me, “Mike, some people have talent and some people don’t.” So, thirty-three years later, who from the class is drawing for a living?

I recently took a perspective drawing class. The teacher gave me a B. I emailed her in Singapore (she had wisely left the hemisphere) about this, pointing out how I had perfect scores up to the final project and asking how that project could have been bad enough to knock me down a full grade. Her response was, “Frankly, I was very appalled by your final project.” Excuse me? The Holocaust was “very appalling.” Not putting enough “furnitures” in a drawing is, maybe, “disappointing.” I stewed for a while then decided that, if I wanted a class where there was an absolutely right or wrong answer, I should have taken Arithmetic. Art is subjective by its nature and many so-called educators are even more subjective than that.

I recommend you spend a couple years at a junior college building up a portfolio that is organized in a manner the better schools expect.

Art schools don’t only look at your portfolio, but it is a big part of the admissions process. Try again next year and spend this year developing an appropriate portfolio for submission. No matter what your major, you will be asked to do more than just draw in the style of comic book artists. In the freshman year you will be asked to work both two and three dimensionally, even if you never do anything but draw again. You need to show that you have diverse artistic talent. How do I know? I work at a prestigious art school located in Southern New England.

Why not try a public college with an art department? Start in a smaller way and then try the prestigious schools again next year. Good luck and don’t give up!

What level art school are you applying to? Graduate level? Undergraduate? Secondary school? Exactly how renowned were the art schools that you applied to? Did you only apply to schools that specialize in art, or did you look at art departments of larger universities? What do you have in your portfolio? Just drawings?

If you want to get into a prestigious art school (say, the Rhode Island School of Design) for graduate studies, you’re going to have to have quite the portfolio. Just drawings, no matter how good, ain’t going to cut it.

Hmm. Why don’t you apply for 4 year liberal arts colleges? That way you can get your art degree if you want it but also be exposed to other fields and, hell, maybe decide that you do want to be a programmer, or botanist, or whatever. Keep your options open. Most colleges will have art classes that are much better than high school classes, and art schools might be too narrow in preparation for possbile careers. At least you’ll end up a well-rounded smart artist.

I got a BA from UCSD in Art (another year & I get one in Bio…). They never asked to see any portfolio.

But then 26,000 people applied in 2000 (I think) & 3000 got in.

Good idea. Also, it’s good to have a “line” of bullshit. (“This red stroke here represents my inner searching for…blah blah blah.”) Sometimes that can help. One of my friends got his degree by spewing made-up bullshit about his work. (He already was an accomplished potter, he just needed to get the degree so he would be able to teach. The college he went to had a really sucky ceramics dept., but he played the system, told them what they wanted to hear, got his degree, and now he teaches!)

Exactly. Have you a well-rounded portfolio? Do you understand color and design? What foundational classes have you already taken? Painting? Life Drawing? Don’t assume that you must take these classes at a prestigious art school. A lot of places are more than able to teach you these things.

For instance, I went to Community college in S. Calif, and then on to Otis. One of the Life Drawing teachers at Otis also taught Life Drawing at the Community College. Same teacher, same class (I assume), but TOTALLY different price tag. I am glad I took most of my “beginning” art classes at CC, before I went to Otis. The CC I attended has some fantastic teachers. (Their ceramics teachers are top-notch, as far as I am concerned.)

Sometimes it seems that way. I have seen (among some teachers) an absolute apathy when it comes to teaching and getting students to push themselves to improve. They’d rather just tell the kids that they are great, make a few limp suggestions, and leave it at that. If they actually push a student, the student might get upset, offended, complain to someone else at the college, etc. etc., and who needs that hassle? Can’t offend anyone’s delicate feelings, after all. So some teachers just tell 'em what they want to hear, because it’s less trouble.

Of course, other teachers are real taskmasters, so it all depends on who you get as your teacher. I’ve had some wonderful (but exacting) teachers as well.

I totally agree with a majority of the suggestions so far, beyond that, a good thing to attend, if it occurs in your area/city, is the so-called “portfolio days”. These events are basically hosted by a university where numerous art schools from around the country send representatives to look at the work of prospective students. These events are also an excellent opportunity to get helpful advice on your work and what direction you are headed. At the same time, it gives you a chance to get the general “attitude” of a given school. If the school sends complete jerks as representatives, there is a possibility that the instructors and/or student body will be similiar. Often times the people who look over your work may or may not be actual professors that teach at the school or if nothing else, these are the people who look over submitted portfolios. Beyond that, I can gurantee all art schools are looking for students who can draw from life (such as still life and clothed or nude models). At the same time, it helps to have a variety of work in your portfolio, this shows the college that you will be productive in all of the numerous courses you will be required to take. At any rate, don’t give up, simply go to school somewhere else (community college, 4-year state university, private college, or otherwise), you can always transfer later. Finally, when submitting your portfolio, presentation should never be underestimated. The way you treat and present your artwork can be a major reflection of you. If you are taking slides, make sure they are properly lit and the background is masked off using silver tape. If you are sending in actual work, having the work happily mat’d and/or framed can go a long way to making some work look much better. Good luck.

Another suggestion I thought of over night is this: if you are really interested in perfecting drawing in your current style rather than branching out, perhaps private art lessons would be the way to go.

And I agree that art schools don’t give you the broadest education. If I am still here in 15 years, my child can attend this art school tuition free. I hope he doesn’t want to!

another here saying the above suggestions are good.
another point to ponder:

what does your portfolio look like, literally?
How are you presenting your work?

Little stuff like that can make a HUGE difference in selecting student A vs. Student B, when all else is ‘equal’.

If you take a community college class your work often can keep looking too ‘studio-ish’. try
one of the independent art classes offered from an art center. Also, try for a life drawing
class, at least that way you get to see lots of naked people. They won’t let you back to
class if you do stick figures though.