Personal statement advice: art and design
Art and design admissions tutors explain how your personal statement can serve as a taster of your creative potential (and your interview...).
What art and design tutors are looking for
The underlying message is that tutors want to know about you, your practice, your inspirations and your aspirations, and for your personal statement to act as written accompaniment to your portfolio and performance at interview.
How to make your art and design statement stand outAdmissions tutors prefer to read personal statements that don't stick to a predictable formula – here are a few tactics to ensure yours packs a punch.
- Focus on the course: Martin Conreen, design admissions tutor at Goldsmiths, University of London, urges applicants for design courses 'not to over-mention art' but to stay focused on design. He also feels some applicants waste too much space on non-relevant factors like their sporting achievements.
- Your influences: Martin adds he wants to hear who your influences are, why they inspire you and 'how their work has resonance with your own, or with your own ideas'.
- Examples of what inspires you: David Baldry, fine art course leader at University Campus Suffolk echoes this: 'Tell us what inspires you. We want to know what contemporary art interests you, so talk about key artists or an exhibition that made an impression on you. We want to know how you respond to the world creatively, so talk about your experiences or projects you’ve developed independently. Also, edit it so it sounds punchy'.
- Demonstrate your artistic ambitions: Alison Jones, fine art admissions tutor at Goldsmiths, is looking for 'interesting individuals who have a passion for art and a commitment to developing themselves as artists. Therefore your personal statement should demonstrate an understanding of your own work, focusing on what is unique about your practice.'
- Be original: starting your statement with a well-known quote – such as 'fashion is not something that exists in dresses only' – is inadvisable. 189 applicants quoted that exact Coco Chanel snippet last year, so it really won't make you stand out from the crowd.
It's all summed up nicely by Arts University Bournemouth whose advice is:
'Be focused on the field you're applying for (no scattergun approach), name artists or designers you admire, think contemporary, reflect on exhibitions or galleries or events you've visited and don't think "I'll tell them at the interview" – put it in the statement!'.