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People must not know about the UCSB Art program


Curious12345
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I came here (as a nameless current grad in the MFA Art program at UCSB) to ask why YOU didn't apply, do YOU even know that we have a program with crazy good facilities, great faculty, and an INSANE location with a pretty close proximity to LA?

I know the deadline has passed for this year for us, so this may not be of use for a lot of you looking at programs. But the thing that gets me is that we had all of one person come to visit the program before applying and to be completely honest, our applications were pretty dismal this year (minus a few in my opinion).

I decided to come here because I was getting crazy good funding, a huge studio, great faculty, and the program matched my needs as far as freedom was concerned.

Its an open question to all, I'm not asking you to go to our website and criticize what you see. I'm asking if anyone recommended it to you, or if you ever saw "recruiters" at portfolio days, or anything at all. I'll be honest, I didn't at all, and I actually visited on a whim when I was accepted last year. What I saw blew my mind because I couldn't believe that no one had told me about this place..

Edited by Curious12345
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I came here (as a nameless current grad in the MFA Art program at UCSB) to ask why YOU didn't apply, do YOU even know that we have a program with crazy good facilities, great faculty, and an INSANE location with a pretty close proximity to LA?

I know the deadline has passed for this year for us, so this may not be of use for a lot of you looking at programs. But the thing that gets me is that we had all of one person come to visit the program before applying and to be completely honest, our applications were pretty dismal this year (minus a few in my opinion).

I decided to come here because I was getting crazy good funding, a huge studio, great faculty, and the program matched my needs as far as freedom was concerned.

Its an open question to all, I'm not asking you to go to our website and criticize what you see. I'm asking if anyone recommended it to you, or if you ever saw "recruiters" at portfolio days, or anything at all. I'll be honest, I didn't at all, and I actually visited on a whim when I was accepted last year. What I saw blew my mind because I couldn't believe that no one had told me about this place..

Hey Curious12345, I actually researched and applied to the UCSB program in painting this year because of a post you made last March 2011. Maybe you should be their official recruiter?

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Ok, well, I only viewed what the faculty considered to be the top 30-40 (I forgot how many we looked at)...so don't be freaked out that I said dismal, it was mainly because a lot of the applications just were not a good fit for the program. There are only so many apps you can look at that are poorly put together or that are so overly industrial and commercial before you start to wonder if the art world knows that your program exists. If you showed understanding of contemporary art at large and didn't make any "rookie" mistakes, then you probably made it to the top 20, and I think they said they were taking 7 or 8 this year, so a 40% chance isn't that bad.

Like I said, we only had one or two visitor(s), which I thought was weird, cause I visited almost every school I applied to (Yale, RISD, UCD, UCLA, USC, U of M (which i didn't apply), and a couple others), the only ones I didn't visit were UCSB, and UCSD..haha.

If you want to PM me and ask any questions, go ahead. I'm glad you guys read my previous posts and decided to apply, I think its a great program.

So my question still stands to others, why did you apply or why didn't you?

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To Curious12345-

I was VERY happy to see our post...as I DID applied to UCSB and was just informed that I was accepted!!! I'm grinning from ear to ear :)

I had been to UCSB years ago, but I had never seen their art dept. I did not visit the department before applying because it's a long and expensive flight. I applied based on the school's general good reputation, location!!!, faculty, and it's proximity to LA and SF (good middle ground). I also feel like Santa Barbara is a community in which I can thrive as an individual on many levels... which is really important to my art practice.

*Perhaps UCSB needs to do better recruiting, if you want to see better and/or more applicants. How many applicants were there, by the way?

I'm very enthused to read about your enthusiasm about the program and facilities! If you have more details to share, please indulge... I'm listening/reading!

(applied to UCSB, UNC, AMERICAN, MICA, SAIC, VCU, CCA)

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I came here (as a nameless current grad in the MFA Art program at UCSB) to ask why YOU didn't apply, do YOU even know that we have a program with crazy good facilities, great faculty, and an INSANE location with a pretty close proximity to LA?

I know the deadline has passed for this year for us, so this may not be of use for a lot of you looking at programs. But the thing that gets me is that we had all of one person come to visit the program before applying and to be completely honest, our applications were pretty dismal this year (minus a few in my opinion).

I decided to come here because I was getting crazy good funding, a huge studio, great faculty, and the program matched my needs as far as freedom was concerned.

Its an open question to all, I'm not asking you to go to our website and criticize what you see. I'm asking if anyone recommended it to you, or if you ever saw "recruiters" at portfolio days, or anything at all. I'll be honest, I didn't at all, and I actually visited on a whim when I was accepted last year. What I saw blew my mind because I couldn't believe that no one had told me about this place..

Hi, yes, I def. applied to UCSB because it has, as you mentioned, excellent funding (an understatement), terrific resources (fine overall research university, connections with the MAT program, awesome Film Studies and other intellectual/departmental connections ,etc), and highly interdisciplinary in nature (a boon for a "new genres" person such as myself).

As far as the program having a high profile with "recruiters", et al, no. It doesn't seem to be promoted like places such as CalArts, etc., but I don't expect it to be. Mainly, I found out about it through other artists (MFA's mainly, at my current university, UCSD) who all recommended it as a place to apply.

So, I hope my application was not one of the "dismal" ones... ;)

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To Curious12345-

I was VERY happy to see our post...as I DID applied to UCSB and was just informed that I was accepted!!! I'm grinning from ear to ear :)

I had been to UCSB years ago, but I had never seen their art dept. I did not visit the department before applying because it's a long and expensive flight. I applied based on the school's general good reputation, location!!!, faculty, and it's proximity to LA and SF (good middle ground). I also feel like Santa Barbara is a community in which I can thrive as an individual on many levels... which is really important to my art practice.

*Perhaps UCSB needs to do better recruiting, if you want to see better and/or more applicants. How many applicants were there, by the way?

I'm very enthused to read about your enthusiasm about the program and facilities! If you have more details to share, please indulge... I'm listening/reading!

(applied to UCSB, UNC, AMERICAN, MICA, SAIC, VCU, CCA)

Congrats! Hope I see you next year, you won't be disappointed. UCSB and SB are unreal...it was 80 degrees and sunny today.

If you have any questions, send me a PM.

To the others, they always contact by phone first. Most places do it that way.

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Commercial. Heavy "Party School" Rep. Commercial. Faculty. Commercial. Lackluster Alumni Resumes. Commercial. "Art Fair" worthy. Those were the unfortunate bits thrown around while asking some of my art heavy hitters. Again subjective to peoples experiences....!

Calling candidates work dismal is doing more harm than good though. Found your initial post a bit abrasive but I can understand why you would want to defend the program your currently attending for your own well beings sake.

Would love to see some of your work racuerex/Curious12345….genuinely + curious to see why those were some of the things thrown out when asking about the program and why. It is so strange to come on the net and find such drastically different opinions vs. that in "real life". I def don't discredit the info found here though because it is an entirely new set of opinions thrown into the mix.

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@HopeDreamPaint:

Commercial??? I'd love to know who your "heavy hitters" are that think UCSB grad art is "commercial"...and, considering that there are a number of excellent research centers at UCSB (MAT, Film and Media, Literature, etc), the University as a whole is far more than simply a "party school", which is more realistically reserved for the undergrad scene...

And, anyway, the Faculty that I'm interested in (since I am a "new genre" person), such as Laurel Beckman, Lisa Jevbratt (among others), could hardly be called "commercial" (!!) when they are exhibiting at the Whitney...

@Curious12345:

I have to agree that your opinion that the work from people applying to your program was "dismal" (I'm assuming you were/are helping out with the adcom?) was not very considerate seeing that you are posting to this Forum. It is best to keep such opinions to oneself, especially when everyone is stressing out about being accepted...

Edited by OutWest
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@West. He was asking for opinions and the "why"s as to the reasoning that some did not apply. Simply passing along the info + the unexaggerated comments I received when asking around. And my mentors warrant the title heavy hitters.

I agree with your comment with regards to the initial post. Just an all around No, ugh, and c'mon....really? Calling other artists work dismal?

Anywho good luck to all!

@HopeDreamPaint:

Commercial??? I'd love to know who your "heavy hitters" are that think UCSB grad art is "commercial"...and, considering that there are a number of excellent research centers at UCSB (MAT, Film and Media, Literature, etc), the University as a whole is far more than simply a "party school", which is more realistically reserved for the undergrad scene...

And, anyway, the Faculty that I'm interested in (since I am a "new genre" person), such as Laurel Beckman, Lisa Jevbratt (among others), could hardly be called "commercial" (!!) when they are exhibiting at the Whitney...

@Curious12345:

I have to agree that your opinion that the work from people applying to your program was "dismal" (I'm assuming you were/are helping out with the adcom?) was not very considerate seeing that you are posting to this Forum. It is best to keep such opinions to oneself, especially when everyone is stressing out about being accepted...

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well stated outwest and hopedreampaint, about the dismal comment, my friend and I (who are both applying this year) thought it was extremely unprofessional and inconsiderate esp when he's a part of the review process.

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@West. He was asking for opinions and the "why"s as to the reasoning that some did not apply. Simply passing along the info + the unexaggerated comments I received when asking around. And my mentors warrant the title heavy hitters.

I agree with your comment with regards to the initial post. Just an all around No, ugh, and c'mon....really? Calling other artists work dismal?

Anywho good luck to all!

Yeah, I have some "heavy hitters" (one's solidly at the top of the gallery scene in LA) here at my current university, myself, and they think UCSB is a fine program, and has some highly regarded practitioners teaching (though, of course, it isn't in the league of the UCLA's, USC's, etc, but I don't think it is trying to compete with such schools). So, perhaps our respective "super stars" cancel themselves out? Regardless, the program there is the furthest thing from "commercial", so I am going to have to vehemently disagree with your sources.

Best of luck to you (and the rest) too!!

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well stated outwest and hopedreampaint, about the dismal comment, my friend and I (who are both applying this year) thought it was extremely unprofessional and inconsiderate esp when he's a part of the review process.

The comment was out of line, but I think he (?) backtracked on it in the above comments... :) But, it IS nice to see somebody excited about that particular program because, like we can see from the view of it taken by people such as HopeDreamPaint's connections, it doesn't really get the love that it deserves. Hopefully that will change in the future!

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lols @ all those who think my comments about being dismal were out of line. Just because I got to see your portfolios and read your statements does NOT mean I had any effect on who they let in. Sorry if you didn't get a call and you are putting two and two together with my dismal statement and not being accepted, don't act like I had ANY hand in it (we really didn't). Everyone knows the MFA application process is the most fucked thing to make it through...sometimes you get accepted because you DO suck as an artist. In any case I definitely encourage you to GET ANGRY with some stranger on the internet because they called what they saw dismal...(no but seriously, don't try to blame me). I know people who got into RISD and Yale, but got rejected by schools that weren't even in the top 100.

Also, UCSB being commercial??? HA HA HA... I don't even know what you mean by that considering you guys say your sources are "at the top of the gallery scene", "art heavy hitters" (the fuck do either of those things even mean?), what the hell is "the gallery scene" if not completely commercial art sales? Unless you are talking about editorial work or design type stuff...which from what I'm experiencing, couldn't be farther from the truth. One of the grads is making a god damned wooden surfboard right now to do performance work on! Half of us barely make physical work...hahaha. Lackluster alum?? Jesus, just cause we don't tout that Richard Serra graduated from here or that there are two artists on Steve Turner's roster that are UCSB MFA alum (should I go on?) doesn't mean that people who graduate from here are deadbeats.

I too am personal friends with some "heavy hitters" and they didn't actually know anything about UCSB. Like they said, its no UCLA or USC, but when it comes down to it, when you are at the top, there is nowhere to go but down. I think at LEAST half of the top schools are living on their own credit half of the time. Take UC Davis for example...even their own people dont even know why they get so many applications. In the end, it really doesn't matter what school you go to, ya it might be "easier" if you get into one of the top 5, but even then, the "failure" rate is still huge at those schools too. It is all about the person from what I've seen.

Look, the lesson here is that you shouldn't take one person's opinions as the end all of what you consider your work to be. Have some confidence! Also, you should go experience things for yourself if you really want to consider a school. Like I said, I visited before I accepted.

If you want to see our work: 2012) http://artsite.arts....e/graduate/2012 2013) http://artsite.arts..../graduates-2013

Edited by Curious12345
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@Curious:

1) I, for one, was not taking anything personally, nor was I "putting two and two" together. That's a projection (I have neither gotten a call from UCSB, nor have I been rejected as of yet).

My only point was, given the nature of this Forum, picking one's words with a bit more sensitivity goes a long way (at this stage of the art world game, with all sorts of sensitive egos, young minds, etc, being as cordial and even nice as possible does a world of good).

2) I'm totally on your side about the whole "UCSB is commercial" thing. It's bollocks.

3) The work at UCSB looks cool :) Keep it up!

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@Curious:

1) I, for one, was not taking anything personally, nor was I "putting two and two" together. That's a projection (I have neither gotten a call from UCSB, nor have I been rejected as of yet).

My only point was, given the nature of this Forum, picking one's words with a bit more sensitivity goes a long way (at this stage of the art world game, with all sorts of sensitive egos, young minds, etc, being as cordial and even nice as possible does a world of good).

2) I'm totally on your side about the whole "UCSB is commercial" thing. It's bollocks.

3) The work at UCSB looks cool :) Keep it up!

Well the thing that gets me is the assumption that I even saw ALL of the applications, they had been picked through and we were seeing the "top 40" in the faculty's eyes...so I don't even know if I saw any of your applications. What I can say is that these applications look WAY different on the other side than you'd think they look, its a whole different world looking at things objectively when something like whether or not you go to grad school is on the line. But do know that the faculty looks VERY closely at each application.

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Well put...better to play nice in the sandbox of life children! It is possible to give honest opinions/feedback while choosing appropriate words. I believe an artist must develop thick skin and have a healthy self esteem in order to deflect....uh....a possible myriad of less than sensitive criticisms that they may well encounter in the art world and in life in general! Always "consider the source" and be honest with yourself.

Mr. Curious12345/racurex --- much of the info you posted about your program and links to the current students at UCSB was very helpful and interesting. Amazing funding!

You mentionned "rookie mistakes" on applications....perhaps you could give a few examples to help future applicants avoid that?

Thanks for posting and best of luck with your program.

p.s. No one is "blaming" you for anything!

Rookie mistakes:

Not having coherent work, IE: pieces that don't work together, are wildly different, look like they came straight from an undergrad project, and so on.

Having documentation/pieces that you can't tell which are which, I saw a video that someone submitted for documentation of their project that we couldn't tell if it was documentation of the project, or if the video was the piece itself. It was dual channel and had all kinds of "artistic" effects going on and TONS of jump-cuts to abstract video documentation of what the person was doing.

In that same vein, Poor documentation: Bad lighting, weird angles, close ups of big projects when the shot should include something for scale, and so on...

Concepts for projects: I kid you not, there were people who included google sketch ups of things they made or were planning on making.

Copying and pasting whatever school you were applying to into your statement, it comes through when you are talking about the school and there are things that don't line up. Like saying this or that dept. when neither of those depts. exist at that school, or even worse, forgetting to copy/paste one out. I read multiple statements that had OTHER school's names in them. If you are interested in a school, do some research and don't be lazy.

I don't know, there are a few others, but the gist of it is to be authentic and honest. Oh, and about the blaming, when people start getting mad at you for calling their work dismal and being like "wow that is unprofessional, especially when you are involved with the admissions process", is somewhat blaming someone else besides yourself for what you have done. If I KNEW I had awesome work and had a nice, cohesive, and professional portfolio then why would I even entertain the idea that mine was included in the dismal categorization? See what I'm saying?

Edited by Curious12345
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*side eye* .I have a good guess as to who this is and please for the sake of UCSB....stop talking.Kidding!!!! I think the poster was simply trying to reiterate what her mentors said and how it reflected in her decision NOT to apply. Why get defensive?...and then rant. She/he answered your initial question.... I also agree to the original dismal argument and one line of your rant post.

Lets play nice!! All posts/topics have been helpful in some way to me.

lols @ all those who think my comments about being dismal were out of line. Just because I got to see your portfolios and read your statements does NOT mean I had any effect on who they let in. Sorry if you didn't get a call and you are putting two and two together with my dismal statement and not being accepted, don't act like I had ANY hand in it (we really didn't). Everyone knows the MFA application process is the most fucked thing to make it through...sometimes you get accepted because you DO suck as an artist. In any case I definitely encourage you to GET ANGRY with some stranger on the internet because they called what they saw dismal...(no but seriously, don't try to blame me). I know people who got into RISD and Yale, but got rejected by schools that weren't even in the top 100.

Also, UCSB being commercial??? HA HA HA... I don't even know what you mean by that considering you guys say your sources are "at the top of the gallery scene", "art heavy hitters" (the fuck do either of those things even mean?), what the hell is "the gallery scene" if not completely commercial art sales? Unless you are talking about editorial work or design type stuff...which from what I'm experiencing, couldn't be farther from the truth. One of the grads is making a god damned wooden surfboard right now to do performance work on! Half of us barely make physical work...hahaha. Lackluster alum?? Jesus, just cause we don't tout that Richard Serra graduated from here or that there are two artists on Steve Turner's roster that are UCSB MFA alum (should I go on?) doesn't mean that people who graduate from here are deadbeats.

I too am personal friends with some "heavy hitters" and they didn't actually know anything about UCSB. Like they said, its no UCLA or USC, but when it comes down to it, when you are at the top, there is nowhere to go but down. I think at LEAST half of the top schools are living on their own credit half of the time. Take UC Davis for example...even their own people dont even know why they get so many applications. In the end, it really doesn't matter what school you go to, ya it might be "easier" if you get into one of the top 5, but even then, the "failure" rate is still huge at those schools too. It is all about the person from what I've seen.

Look, the lesson here is that you shouldn't take one person's opinions as the end all of what you consider your work to be. Have some confidence! Also, you should go experience things for yourself if you really want to consider a school. Like I said, I visited before I accepted.

If you want to see our work: 2012) http://artsite.arts....e/graduate/2012 2013) http://artsite.arts..../graduates-2013

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Listen, if you guys were offended or hurt just because someone referred to some artwork as "dismal," then maybe you better look for another field. And you're certainly not ready for grad school. You'll hear a lot worse there, and it will be said to your face about your own work.

By the same token, the OP's subsequent rant was a bit of an overreaction as well, if you ask me.

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