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MFA, Older, Experienced Artist, Dimensional Art, California, Dementia

Updated: Jan 24

A mature artist with many accomplishments under my belt, it is hoped that my extensive experience in Art will inspire me to contribute essential things to discussions with teachers and students in the academic world of art - since I am now very much dedicated to earning the MFA Degree. A long-time resident of California, I have been listening to commentaries about the large variety of art programs in my state for many years. Combined with my extensive research into what California has to offer, I am convinced that the best education in Art in the state is available at the University of California in XXXX; for this reason, UCXX is my first choice among MFA programs, and I very much hope to be accepted. I see UCXX as a cut above other programs on the West Coast, especially concerning dimensional art and sculpture, where I plan to focus my particular attention as a graduate student and beyond. I also see UCXX as a good fit with my interest in exploring and expressing social issues in art, making art that speaks to our day's burning controversies and humanitarian issues.

My pursuit of an MFA degree focused on dimensional art represents an extension of my artistic journey into a three-dimensional universe, giving my all to my creations as a sculptor. Having taught Art for 23 years in a private school, I also look forward to qualifying to teach in the public school system since I thrive on new challenges and am increasingly drawn to the public arena.

Now middle-aged, I find that the older I get, the more I become aware of and concerned with social justice issues, and I feel very strongly that this will occupy a prominent place in the art I hope to create in the future. A figurative artist with a burgeoning sense of social consciousness and concern with issues of equality, fairness, economic justice, the travails of migration, and the emerging threat against mother earth already wreaking havoc in many places such as Australia. That devastation concerns me increasingly. I worry for my children, their children, and life itself. I shall channel hope amid the storm in my art. I want to observe climate change in as many dimensions as I can. It is the human saga that interests me the most.

Throughout my career as an artist for over two decades, I have worked mainly as an illustrator for the game industry, editorial illustration, comic development, set painting, etc., and I am currently creating prototypes for the toy industry. I have been studying stone carving under XXXX, an adjunct professor at XXXX College, and mastering digital tools, including ZBrush, in the creation of advanced armatures for complex, challenging poses, allowing for greater freedom than with the standard, more intrusive armature that often blocks the view of the model by the artist. I work primarily from life and imagination, drawing upon many years as an anatomy and figure drawing instructor.

My keen desire to increasingly work towards incorporating my civic consciousness into my art is underscored by the profound love that I have for my home state of California. My family came to California searching for work, seeking to build a new life along with so many other migrants fleeing the barren dust bowl for new promise during the Great Depression of the 1930s, working as migrant farmworkers and sharecroppers, fresh off the cotton farms of west Texas. Perhaps this is one reason I find myself drawn to the thorny issues surrounding the politics of migration to California these days, especially when it comes to migrant workers who pick the produce in the same fields my family once toiled. We prospered in California along with the state itself. Now, as an educator and an artist, I want to increasingly give something back to the people and the future of our state by helping to advance the cause of Art Education and to do so as part of the public education system, helping to fan the fires of human experience as expressed through figurative art.

I was born at Booth Memorial Hospital in the LA neighborhood of Lincoln Heights, an institution operated by the Salvation Army for unwed mothers. Raised mostly by my grandparents, I grew up in Venice and Santa Monica in the 70s and 80s – an ideal location for a boy destined to become an artist. I recently lost my grandmother, and my grandfather passed a bit earlier. Rather than putting them in a nursing home, I spent about 13 years devoting much of my time to being their caregiver. This is probably the most important reason I feel I am at the right time for graduate school, the why now question, and helps explain why I did not seek admission to your program earlier. Happily married for the last 26 years, my two children are also now in high school and subsequently increasingly independent from dad. The 13 years I spent with my grandparents while they both had dementia was a terrible trial and ordeal, but it is an experience that I treasure and often reflect upon. Perhaps as I continue to do so over the coming years, I may find myself inspired by creative dimensional art forms that speak to the profound loss involved when one’s loved one has dementia and perhaps the redemption that accompanies the loss.

After earning my BFA Degree focusing on illustration at the Academy Art University, graduating in 1996, I went straight to work as a professional illustrator and artist and have stayed heavily engaged with my industry no for over 25 years. My clients have included Lucasarts Entertainment Company, Hasbro, Dog Town Skateboards, Dub House Records, Freewill Press, and Sega Japan. Awards include the New York Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Winner in 1996 and the Best of Show Film Roman 1st Annual Competition in 1999; best Children's Book in 2004 awarded by the SF BAY Guardian; and numerous merit awards in Communication. It was a great honor to share the Hispanic Literacy Award with XXXX for the children’s book. It has also been a great honor to have my work featured in group and solo shows at galleries such as the New York Society of Illustrators Annual Show, 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco, Rico Gallery in Venice, and Circle Gallery Petaluma.

I thank you for considering my application to the MFA Program at UCXX.

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