Lack of Graduate MFA Illustration programs

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  1. #1
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    Lack of Graduate MFA Illustration programs

    I frigging' swear to God...

    I have been searching and searching for the last year. There is absolutely no variety for illustration programs anywhere. I seriously resent how Universities and other art academies push fine arts into the MFA genre but really puss out on illustration. There is a crap ton of money in illustration compared to struggling and getting ripped off in a fine art gallery. Yet, there is a total lack of MFA illustration programs anywhere. I mean there is.. SVA? Which I plan to apply for. Realistically, I have a chance to get in. On the flip side it's going to put me 120,000 in debt. What other choices are there? Illustration programs are few and far between. I had thought about applying to a State University where I would have a good chance of going for free but.. I would have to concentrate in painting or drawing and then pawn it off as being illustration. And I probably wouldn't meet people in the industry because I took a free ride in Iowa or some crap.

    So.. Here are the MFA Illustration choices...

    1)School of Visual Arts, NY
    2)Academy of Art ,San Fran
    3)Savannah College, Atlanta
    4)Fashion Institute of Technology, NY

    WOW


    Uh.. that's it?

    So I believe the consensus is to just go for MFA in Studio Art and bend your thesis into making Illustration fit into whatever you are doing? Problem is you will not meet people in the biz and you won't make connections as easily. It is completely retarded. So.. There it is for anyone looking for MFA Illustration programs. There are none. Many fine art Universities discourage illustration and I think a lack of MFA programs is the smoking gun.

    Still applying to SVA though. Just hope I can get enough loans to pay for it.

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  3. #2
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    Why do you want an MFA?


    Tristan Elwell
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    Couple reasons actually..

    1) To get out of Tennessee where there is absolutely no market for art in general

    2) To have a certificate that puts me in a higher pay bracket as far as "teaching". This is a last case resort. A fall back plan?

    3) To focus on my artwork and ideas a little further and have time to work. I would like to push illustration into the spotlight by making it a hybrid amongst the Fine Arts world. I plan on creating something that pushes what is expected of illustration. I would like to create something that is narrative, sculptural, and 2-d yet 3-d without the use of the computer. I plan on layering sheets of plexiglass and cutting out characters and adding mixed media to each sheet of plexiglass. then i will add another sheet on top of it and repeat the same technique. After about 4 or 5 sheets of plexiglass you have a sense of depth and it no longer is a 2-d object. It becomes a sculptural element with a narrative. I feel it will successfully "tell a story" and also become an object of sculpture? A complete hybrid.

    4) To make up for the lack of learning in my 4 year degree.

    5) Make contacts within the industry of my choice and find a wider audience to see my work. I would like "options".

    6) To finish what I started. I don't feel finished as far as education is concerned. I feel that getting my MFA will be a personal achievement. When I start something I tend to go as far as I can.

    7) I would also like to set an example for my son.

    Last edited by MCM; August 7th, 2008 at 07:57 PM.
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    Obviously getting an MFA is a personal choice and I would never persuade anyone from not achieving that goal but I see a need to reply to some of the points you've listed...

    1) You can move out of Tennessee for any reason you choose; it need not be linked to obtaining an MFA.

    2) If you plan on teaching, getting an MFA is an option to getting more money. I think this is valid, but does it need to be in Illustration? I know of several people that have Illustration BFAs only to try their hand at something completely different (fine art, printmaking, photography, film, etc.) from their undergrad to pursue a separate passion that would enhance their illustration careers.

    3) It seems as though you have a direction to go with this project already. Again, do you really need to pony up the money to do something you seem to have in mind already? Wouldn't a solid peer support group do the same without the expense?

    4) Learning happens with or without an institution. My dad told me my biggest education started after I got out of college. But if you need the structure, then...

    5) Why not just dive into the market itself? Send your portfolio off to the market, attend seminars, start a blog, take adult education classes at the local undergrad college, send out self promotional items, attend conventions and be a part of the industry. Getting into the mass market is not something an MFA program can guarantee you.

    6) So does this also mean a Phd. eventually? I'm not knocking your personal sense of achievement but when will you eventually find some happiness with your accomplishments? What about just being a working artist with a vision to share? Or does that piece of paper hanging on the wall really mean that much to you?

    7) Very noble.

    But I concur with what Elwell asked in regards to you getting an MFA. I think to be more particular, is it for a career? Or is it for ego & self gratification?

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    For ego & self gratification?

    Why not both?


    It is more of a personal thing to me. I had always been on the edge of illustration but the classes at my small State University were very weak and the students were not very involved. So I chose Fine Arts. I am saddened that I missed out on the feeling of having a mentor. I would love to go to a well known University/Art School that is very competitive. A lot of people believe a small University is great for a better personal relationship but I didn't feel that. I was pretty much going through college all by my self, Turning in assignments, and trying not to be anyone's pet. Graduate school is a great way for me to gain knowledge that I may have been deprived of during my BFA years. Mainly due to a slim choice of professors that were working professionals or got comfortable with their tenured positions and got lazy. That's another story.


    As far as ego is concerned? I am not too sure. If attending or getting accepted into a school that will surround me with students/professionals that will inspire me and possibly help me to get my vision noticed is feeding the ego? I would definitely like to feel I am comfortable with my artistic vision in anything I do. If you mean ego in a narcissistic sense then no..

    I am very interested in SVA.. and if I don't get in there for illustration then I will have a back up plan. New York is where I would like to expand my education and networking abilities. I am also wanting to hit the museums and art shows =)

    Trying to be positive.

    Last edited by MCM; August 16th, 2008 at 04:05 AM.
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    I'm heading into my second year enrolled in SVA's MFA Illustration program. Yes..., yes its ridiculously expensive to live in the NY area/ go to this school, but its worth it if you're willing to really push and put the time in, because the time goes by incredibly fast and there is no secret to improving here. It's just lots of hard work... and some tears. Definitely tears. Email me if you have questions, or you can check out my blog on my site and hit the archives and read a little on what I've done since I've been in the program.

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    Hey thanks! I really dig your loose inking style it's really fluid. pm me you email address and I will ask you a couple questions.. Thanks for the input.

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