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BA Degree in General Studies, Visual Artist, New York City

Updated: Jan 24


The undergraduate degree program in General Studies at XXXX University is my ideal program for several reasons, which I outline in what follows. I am a non-traditional student – now 31 - with an international background; I am passionate about celebrating diversity in Visual Arts and New York City. A working visual artist who plans to study part-time after earning my BA at Columbia, I hope to go on to earn an MFA Degree and devote myself to reinventing and re-defining my career as a visual artist for the balance of my professional lifetime, dedicated to lifelong learning and the constant adaptation of new ideas and the integration of global influences.


Since early adolescence, I have daydreamed about becoming recognized as a successful visual artist with shows/exhibits and making short films. I want to touch people’s hearts and help make the world a more human place for all of us to live through my art, more inclusive and tolerant, and a kinder and gentler society for the least fortunate. I want to increasingly learn to see and appreciate beauty as it could be. Currently, I am working on two short films and several sculptures. I hope to continue in both areas throughout my career in visual art and venture into the entire understanding and appreciation possible of multimedia efforts related to film and sculpture.


My mother and I came to the USA as refugees from Donetsk, Ukraine, when I was a baby in 1992. My father had passed away from a heart attack a few years prior, which, to hear my mother tell it, made life much harder in many ways, especially economically. We landed in Seattle, WA, and, after a series of short-term rented rooms, we eventually settled into a housing authority complex in Vancouver, WA, where I spent most of my young life. I spent most of my time at home alone, with my mother juggling day and night jobs to make ends meet. Our struggle helped me grow strong and independent early on, laying the foundation for giving my all to my career in the future.


With the sophisticated, liberal, and cosmopolitan environment, and climate, the community at Columbia, one of the most enlightened places to be in the city, I crave the company of students and teachers alike at Columbia from all over the world. In addition to Ukrainian, I speak, read, and write Russian fluently and am fully fluent in Spanish in addition to Ukrainian. I communicate well in German as well. Having spent significant and extensive time in Europe and the USA, I think of the globe as my home, and I adore visual art with global themes.


As a child, I often drew for hours, and I always had a camera in my hand. I even won a drawing contest in our elementary school's gallery, and I was frequently asked to draw flyers for the school. I wanted to attend the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics from dance classes to learn to play musical instruments since I learned about their existence. The day I knew I had been waitlisted was one of the saddest days. However, I excelled at our local middle school, particularly in math. For my university studies, I connected with an aunt who lived in Arizona and offered me a room rent-free in exchange for helping out with her new baby. She did not live far from Arizona State University; I applied to ASU and was accepted. Despite having wide-ranging interests that included quantum physics, consciousness, and spirituality, I began studying for a career in accounting, prioritizing financial stability. My efforts at ASU ended by the end of the first semester; however, when my mom lost her job and found herself homeless in Seattle, I had no choice but to go home and help her.


I helped my mother to find a new job and apartment. The closest state university with a good business school was Portland State University, and I quickly applied for the next Winter quarter. I started working part-time to support myself even during my full-time studies at PSU. There were times when I was working two part-time jobs. I took classes outside my major to see if I wanted to pursue other fields, but I decided to stick with accounting after getting a paid accounting internship. After six months of training, they quickly hired me on the team, providing me with the financial flexibility to continue my studies, and I began to explore other options.


I started moonlighting with a film crew in Portland, Oregon, a collective mix of locals involved in television, film production, photography, and the music industry. I learned the ropes of video production and how to use camera gear. Soon, I produced content and also directed video shoots. This was the start of my career in photography and video production. Working with this crew inspired me to return to my photography. Between my desk job and working with this film crew, I was able to rent a studio and started working on my portfolio. I connected with modeling agencies in Portland and Seattle and started shooting for start-ups, mostly taking band photos. Some of this work was published in the local newspapers and featured in music publications. Next, I accepted an opportunity to work as an in-house photographer for a local, fashionable shoe brand. This was very exciting for me at the time because I would be managing a photo studio and career-advancing, creating my content with the creative team. I left my accounting job, put my studies on hold, and started working full-time with the shoe company.


I decided to relocate to NYC and quickly found a full-time job working as a studio manager for a midtown photography studio. I started working with model agencies in the city and meeting s many great people to collaborate with. My photography work grew more robust, and I enhanced it with better models, makeup, clothing, and production. I started picking up commissioned editorials for publications and working on my creative photo and video projects. After networking and meeting people in the fashion and art industry, I took on a position with a younger and reputable fashion publication as a Photo and Art Editor; I commissioned shoots, managed interns, and conducted/shot studio visits.


Soon, I could go freelance, and my work and client base has evolved and grown over the last five years, working as an independent producer, photographer, videographer, and production manager for many different projects and jobs. I began working with various galleries and artists, shooting installations and collaborating. Most recently, I have completed one short film I produced that will be submitted to festivals around the globe this year and another short film that was part of an artist’s show at the Swiss Institute.


At XXXX, I hope to have the opportunity to push my creative tone. I want to expand the depth and complexity of my work and t learn how to think increasingly critically with a solid base in art theory. My—my: my work's depth and complexity and want. My career has been a preparation for what is now only a few years away; obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Art. Now that I have more knowledge of what direction I want to head in, with specific interests, I can return to school with the security and flexibility I have now earned as a freelancer. I have two friends who have attained a BA/BFA in Visual Arts at XXXX. They have always spoken very highly of the Visual Arts Department. My friend is starting his Ph.D. program at XXXX in Art History this Fall. He has also shared how excellent the art program is and how vibrant the studio community is in particular.


I appreciate how the Visual Art Program at XXXX balances practical courses with the critical theory that rotating writers and artists taught school is necessary for high school. Students are encouraged and pursue multiple mediums/studies; painting, sculpture, printmaking, film, philosophy, and art history at XXXX.


In high school, I volunteered at homeless shelters and gathered donations around town for the homeless. In the future, I hope to return to helping the homeless with my visual art, as I see them as an integral part of the city I have so come to love.


Thank you for considering my application to General Studies with a focus on the Visual Arts at XXXX.


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