I'm in the middle of applying to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's undergraduate program. This is the prompt for their essay:
Writing is an important component of being an artist. As part of your application, you will be required to upload a statement of purpose, which we will use to assess your ability to compose an essay, as well as the manner in which you use text as a tool.
Use your statement as your way to represent yourself and your work. We are interested in finding out more about you, your art-making practices, and why you are a strong candidate for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's (SAIC) undergraduate program. Please also include information about community service projects, exhibitions you have participated in, or any other activities that contribute to the making of your work.
I'm trying to take all of the ideas I have about painting and art in general and condensing them into a concise essay, but I'm not sure how well it's working. I wanted my own voice to be prominent here, and to make it obvious that their curriculum would be the best fit for me without sounding cheesy, but I'm not too sure how well that's working, either! Also, I'm afraid that this is too short. An admissions counselor said that statements of purpose are usually 250-500 words and this is exactly 337, but I'm worried I'm being too concise and not letting my true passion for art shine through. Although I just noticed I didn't include any information about community service or activities that contribute to my work... but, anyway, this is what I have so far:
My works are an examination, a confession, an anthology of what makes me human. Through my art, I hope to dissect the world and relationships around me, including the aspects of myself I find intriguing or grotesque, in order to better understand where I stand-what potential I hold-within this society. In other words, art allows me to find myself.
I have much to learn about who I am as an individual. This is is how I use art-to decipher my inner workings. I have found that through painting is one of the only ways I am able to have a coherent conversation with myself. As I work, I take notes of the mistakes that I make, the strokes I mindlessly lay, and the aspects of my pieces that I both treasure and despise. Through this language of painting, I am physically seeing the unraveling of my thought process and how what I do affects the piece as a whole. I relate these characteristics of my work to my everyday life, to myself. Do I approach other people with the same sensitivity I do with a new painting? Why do I embrace my mistakes in some situations and hide them in others? And, jeez, was my nose always that big?
Lately, I've been feeling the urge to experiment with different sculptural mediums; to take the pieces I create with my paint, my graphite, my canvas, and mold them into three-dimensional renditions of what I see in my mind's eye. I want to take multiple leaps into further developing my artwork. Deeper steps into myself, essentially. At SAIC, I know I would have necessary tools of expression at my disposal. I feel that with an interdisciplinary curriculum, I will have a world of unique opportunities at my disposal that I need to experiment with, to learn from, and to take full advantage of as I discover everything art is and can be to me.
Should I include some of the extracurriculars I've done throughout high school that have helped my art? I attended an early-college summer program at this school, which is basically the program that helped me come to appreciate art and painting as much as I do now, so I'm assuming that might be an important thing to add, but I don't know where I could put that without messing up the flow of the essay. Also, the ending is weak! I'd LOVE some feedback on that!
Hi Sarah, I read your work and I would like to give you some suggestions to improve it. I think your SOP, as a work of an artist, should be more emotional. Start the introduction with this fact that you are interested in painting. You can write about one of your interesting experiences through which you found your interest in this field. Why do you like it. Connect painting to your feelings, as a human. You should emotionally portray those feelings.
your art-making practices, and why you are a strong candidate for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's (SAIC) undergraduate program
You should highlight your abilities. Why do you think you are a qualified applicant? You should write about your capabilities in the way to set you apart form other candidates. For example, you can write that your painting style is different from others. Write about your educational and professional backgrounds. You should also write about your communication skills.
Should I include some of the extracurriculars I've done throughout high school that have helped my art? I
yes, this is a good idea.
Finally, you should write why you are applying for this program and why you chose this university/college/institute for pursuing your interest at.
Hope this helps