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Sva Mfa Illustration Visual Essay

School of Visual Arts presents “MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Thesis Exhibition,” an exhibition of thesis projects by graduating students. Curated by faculty member David Sandlin, the exhibition is on view Saturday, April 29, through Saturday, May 20, at the SVA Chelsea Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor, New York City.

Curator David Sandlin describes the projects in the exhibition as “a delight for your eyeballs and for your brain. The engrossing visual narratives that showcase the range of MFA Illustration as Visual Essay students are variously painterly and graphic, sensuous and psychedelic."

Brian Britigan illustrates a series of images that explore the coming-of-age themes of trial, transition and loss. Stasis by Erica Chan is a graphic novel-in-progress about a girl as she transitions through the phases of life, maintaining relationships and learning about herself.

Audun Grimstad’s paintings explore themes of isolation, facades and the sense of protection. Inspired by Invisible Cities, a series of short stories by Italo Calvino, Shreya Gupta illustrates the experience of people living and travelling to fantastical cities.

Mago Huang tells the story of a lemur who does not like his own seemingly useless tail and envies the more purposeful tails of other animals.

Genevieve Irwin’s illustrated children’s book Zoluskha is based on the true story of a Siberian tiger that was orphaned as a cub but successfully raised to return to the wild.

Jin Xiajing tells the story of a young girl who learns to see the big picture from a new little friend. By creating satirical public service announcements, David Leutart explores New York City’s visual language and how it translates to traditional print and sign making.

Aura Lewis’s Feminism, Illustrated surveys notable moments in American women’s path to liberation and equal rights in the 100 years since they were granted suffrage.

Helen Li tells the fictional story of her and her partner’s self-run food truck using multiple illustrated components.

Amber Ma’s giant watercolor depicts a battle between a cohort of fish-people and a demonic sea creature. Wenkai Mao’s series of paintings focuses on dramatic lighting, atmosphere and conveying subtle feelings through images.

Eugenia Mello’s picture book Moving follows a girl’s emotional journey. Objects of Surrealism is a collection of drawings by Zach Meyer that are inspired by fiction stories of disorder, memory and the unconscious.

Shinyeon Moon illustrates an encyclopedia exploring the mythical world of giantesses.

Nicole Rifkin uses religious iconography as satire to explore blind faith within feminism. Through a portfolio of illustrations, Ryan Raphael shows glimpses into a typical suburb that has been invaded by surreal plagues.

Francisco Rodriguez’s Corridos Prohibidos disputes political propaganda and expresses the divergent opinions of the Colombian war conflict.

Ignacio Serrano’s Purpose explores the meaning of life through an illustrated letter written to a fictional character.

Megan Templehof, in Pappy, examines her relationship with her grandfather by depicting memories from her childhood.

We believe this program is as unique as it is revolutionary. It redefines how figurative artists see their work and how that art finds its way into the world of commerce—fine art, illustration and publication. It begins with developing a personal vision. Vision is not style. Whether the work is tightly rendered, loose, more or less expressive or Photoshopped, we help you to achieve personal content in your work—to tell your story as only you can. When your “style” is personal content, the images you make can only be original.

The program is difficult, demanding and highly selective. At the same time, it is an opportunity to be with exceptional artists like yourself exchanging ideas and sharing information, as well as simply hanging out. Each class becomes a community of figurative artists whose interest in storytelling encompasses all 21st-century media: graphic and illustrated novels, children’s books, comic books, and painting series for gallery walls. But, when you tap into your personal vision and find your own stories, the applications for the work flow naturally.

We focus on teaching how to combine words with images, continually refining and re-defining your personal vision. Our faculty is made up of illustrators, fine artists, computer artists, writers, art historians and art directors. The contact with faculty is personal, constant and intense. We accept only 20 students per year in the two-year program. It is a classroom-based curriculum, unlike many graduate programs where students work independently with scheduled faculty oversight. Close interaction between faculty and student, as well as with other classmates, is an essential part of the creative process that is our program.

Each student has a personal workspace with 24-hour access, seven days a week. In addition to required classes, graduate students can audit classes from the various diverse offerings in our undergraduate college, including film, animation, fine arts and humanities. Guest speakers from the outstanding New York professional arts community are regularly scheduled. Being in New York City, the opportunities for access to working artists, gallery shows, museum exhibitions and internships are not inconsequential to laying a foundation for a life as an artist. In the second year, students are encouraged to choose their thesis advisors according to their interests. Our advisors, past and present, are as diverse as they are celebrated in their fields. Yuko Shimizu, Steve Brodner, Gary Panter, Maira Kalman, Sam Weber, Stephen Savage, Paul Buckley, Guy Billout and Pat Cummings are among them.

The process involved in developing a truly personal vision is risky. It demands you be open to thinking in new ways, reassess your drawing and painting skills, put your creativity on the line and free your imagination. We offer you the chance to compete using your own vision.

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