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Sample Personal Statement for MA in Fine Art

An artist is a restless, wandering spirit forever searching for his ego. As a practicing artist, I know many such cases of wandering artists and of how their wandering has become part of their creative experiences. I can cite my compatriots xx, xx, and xx (the latter two being my alumni) whose overseas experiences, combined with their Chinese culture and aesthetic sensibilities, have significantly contributed to their successful artistic career. My knowledge of modern western art also tells me that, if they had not had the experience of going into West Germany from East Germany, artists like Ghart Sigma,  and John Christol could not have achieved their present accomplished. In other words, the experience of being an expatriate can veritably become an important part of an artist’s formative development.

Having received a systematic education in Mural Painting at the Academy of xx, the most prestigious art institution in China, I am interested in pursuing a Master’s program in Fine Art from the xx University of xx. I am interested in your program because I wish to assimilate new input and new perspectives conducive to my future artistic creation. In the present western world, all kinds of new media, concepts, behavior and devices have entered the domain of the creative art, demonstrating a whole spectrum of new artistic practices. By contrast, in China’s art arena, painting and sculpture continue to dominate artistic endeavors and avant-garde practices, though not absolutely non-existent, have been few. Nevertheless, the younger generation of artists like me has been most receptive to the western art theories and concepts over the past two decades. On the other hand, the rapid changes of the Chinese society have created the most valuable resources for the artistic enterprise. What I lack is the methodology in specific creative processes, the ways to translate my private and individual impulses and responses into unique artistic expressions.

The xx postgraduate program will make me part of the wider xx tradition, encouraging me to cross traditional boundaries separating different techniques and media, using excellent workshop facilities for work in metal, wood, print, fabric, photography, film and video. Your program will be tailored to my individual needs as a practicing artist. In your program, fine art is seen as a broad field of interdisciplinary practice, within which I can develop my own positions. I can attend regular studio seminar groups and each term I can present my work as a focus for group discussions. In this way, I can grow and develop my long-term concerns as the program progresses. This wholly novel education system will be extremely nurturing to my development and will definitely become a turning point in my artistic pursuit.

My present application derives wholly from an inner need to build on my past creative experiences and to hone my artistic sensibility. Practicing painting from my early childhood, I entered the Senior Middle School attached to xx in xx when I completed my middle school education at my hometown in xx Province. The entrance into the Senior Middle School affiliated to xx itself was highly selective as candidates came from across the entire nation. The experience of seeking an art education at this school 2000 miles from my hometown and living an independent life was most defining to me—I developed an indomitable will when faced with major difficulties, whether in my studies or in my daily life. It was this indomitable will that resulted in many of my works being collected by the school and in entering xx as top 3 among 7000 candidates, waived of the otherwise required exams in general courses.

Whereas my training in the Senior Middle School was primarily in basic techniques of French impressionism and Russian realism, my undergraduate program allowed me to carry out some serious reflections on the art that I had been practicing. Unlike most art students who tend to focus more on creative practices and the improvement of their techniques than on theoretical orientation, I found that both the French impressionism (with its emphatic color theories) and the Russian realism (largely outdated as a genre), plus the my education in the middle school which was largely dictated by political ideology, could by no means satisfy my creative impulse to visualize the spiritual world of a growing young man. My greatest challenge lay in how to explore for a way that could fuse my concept with my technique. Therefore, in the open artistic environment of the academy, I experimented with various creative possibilities through different approaches, materials and media, including metal, relief, oil painting, video and photography.

When I was a sophomore, I used candle and a flame-producing “gun” to create a work entitled “xx” (3Mx3M), which was later awarded the third prize at a student work exhibition. In 2002, my xx entered the “Creation” Art Competition sponsored by xx. Then, in my last semester, just before I was going to graduate, I used stained steel sheet in combination with paper to create “xx”. This work later received a nomination award (15/600) at “Light of the Academy” Exhibition and also brought me a third-class scholarship. In December 2003, I collaborated with 8 graduates from xx and xx University in putting up an exhibition entitled “xx” at xx’s Exhibition Hall. In the wake of my graduation, I launched an engraving studio together with several fellow students and during this period I have mastered the technique of silk-screening technique and have created a spate of engravings in silk screen.

During my art education at CAFA, I have been systematically instructed in the history of western art. Combined with the my voluminous extracurricular readings, this education has familiarized me with the great masters of western art, especially contemporary artists such as Duchamps, Boyes, and Andi Worhol. In appreciating their works, I also gained understanding of their artistic outlooks and the cultural context in which their works were produced. In addition, I have also become acquainted with books of art history like Modern Western Art by Lucy Smith, History of Modern Art by H.H. Anason, and The Story of Art by E. H. Gombrich. I have a fair amount of knowledge of diverse art developments in the west from the most primitive cave paintings in Spain and France to the latest modernist and post-modernist art schools and movements.

As CAFA maintains extensive exchanges with art institutions all over the world, I had opportunities to listen to lectures by overseas scholars. In 2001, Mr. Richard Dycan came to lecture on Modern British Sculpture which exposed me to works by Damir Hirst and White Reader. In 2002 and 2003, Prof. Ursula from Karserl Art Institute of Germany gave two lectures, respectively on Karserl Biannual Show and Venice Biannual Show. Last year, an American professor came and played the Video Works by Bill Ovila, All those have produced a profound and lasting impact on my artistic sensibilities.

At the age of 25, I face a turning point in my intellectual development. I have been sufficiently exposed to western influences while undertaking my individual artistic practices. In this era of globalization, many of the traditional values and concepts of the Chinese society are being rapidly supplanted by new ones. How to reflect the aspirations of the present-day society by incorporating avant-garde western elements while remaining connected with traditional art heritages of the nation will become a major challenge for me. xx University of London has produced a number of leading British artists like Damir and Hirst and winners of Turner Prize. In addition, the sample works by your students on your website fascinate me with their originality and imaginativeness. Through your fruitful education, I wish to explore how my Chinese background and sensibilities will interact with your culture and education and how this interactivity will impact on my future artistic endeavors.


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