To fulfil his dreams of becoming an influential illustrator, Yoon Seok Han from South Korea knew he had to go abroad to get the degree and experience that would make him one. So he scoured the Internet for universities all over the world for one that would realise this aspiration of his.
During his search, Yoon stumbled across the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth). He immediately felt drawn to its interdisciplinary courses and cutting-edge facilities.
He applied to CVPA’s BFA in Illustration and has not looked back since.
“The communication from CVPA is always open and I felt so welcomed as a new student,” said Yoon.
“That’s when I knew I could begin my artistic career with encouragement from faculty and fellow students, rather than pressure.”
One of his favourite classes is Visual Storytelling, the very kind of college-level illustration class he has always dreamed of taking.
“The art and literature techniques I learned from this class could be used throughout my entire artistic career,” he said.
Where students explore college life and career opportunities
CVPA is located in Dartmouth, an East Coast town close to hundreds of beaches as well as cities like New Bedford, Fall River and Boston.
Yoon is exploring as many of these when he can.
That’s not to say he doesn’t like his campus – he does and spends his time checking out the many student clubs available.
“I was working with on-campus Illustration club members during my study breaks. We shared tips for drawing and painting and even learned from junior and senior students,” Yoon said.
He’s also found it easy to sign up for internship opportunities and has the opportunity to pursue these in the larger metropolitan centres of Boston, Providence and New York City – areas that previous CVPA learners have also found employment.
Yet, the best part of Yoon’s study venture so far has been the professors.
He said: “The professors are my favourite. I always receive thoughtful advice and advanced art techniques from the great UMass Dartmouth arts professors.”
Where students refine their craft
For MFA in Illustration student Danh Bao Dao from Vietnam, his days at CVPA revolve around refining his craft and techniques.
“I spend a lot of time studying keyframe art and doing research on references, so I can memorise their structure to paint,” he said.
“In my opinion, the strongest and most critical weapon of art is muscle memory, so I spent hours watching movies and observing subjects I want to draw.”
Throughout his course, he is encouraged to practise and use any medium he wants so that he can be flexible in work and adapt to his future working environment.
This also helps Danh and his peers deal with future work mishaps and failings.
“Professor Stacy taught us how failures will benefit us in the future. Since then I have been open to any kind of medium,” he said.
“The more failure, the more you are able to learn and understand your position in the universe of art,” he says.
Where collaboration meets creativity
Another international student grateful for CVPA’s encouraging professors is Paulina Fuenzalida-Guzmán, from Chile.
So much so that the MFA in Artisanry – Fibers student believes their guidance will leave a lasting impact on her career and life.
“At CVPA, you are constantly being encouraged to do your best and to learn from the diversity of people and knowledge,” she says.
Add to this high-tech and advanced facilities at CVPA – such as a surface design print room, dye lab with mixing station and drying room, spray room, batik room, papermaking studio and textile media lab – and Paulina has all she needs to truly make the most of her stint here.
For instance, the Innovation Learning Collaborative (ILC) offers all students access to 3D printers, MakerBots, laser engravers, and a CNC router for digital fabrication.
Meanwhile, over at the IDEAStudio, students get to prototype a design, access high-end software and collaborate with other students and faculty from across campus.
And by studying in a cosmopolitan location, Paulina feels she not only has access to multiple job and internship opportunities but also an assortment of artistic perspectives and creative communities to lean on.
From supportive professors to future-focused facilities, a day in the life of a UMass Dartmouth CVPA student certainly looks promising.
So find out how you can begin your creative CVPA journey by clicking here.