College essay requirements vary, but basically they want to know why you make the work that you do, what your educational and careers goals are, and why you’re interested in their school.
Just like with your artwork, it is really important to be yourself in your essay, and to be detail and craft driven. I often to tell students to write how they speak.
You can write about yourself in a lot of different ways, your influences in art, your thoughts on the world, your thread/theme, your intended major. Your essay should support your content, your theme, and it should be interesting and easy to read.
Write as though your telling a story, expose your dreams and intentions. You won’t get it right the first time, maybe it will take 4 or 5 times to get it right, and once you feel you’ve presented yourself the in the very best light that you can, always always have another person proofread it.
There are a few questions I give Ashcan students to start thinking about themselves in this way, well it’s actually 5 pages long, but here are few of them:
Pick three of the of portfolio pieces you are most proud of, list 6 adjectives for each, list 3 materials you used for each, list 3 possible inspirations for each.
Choose 2 contemporary artists or designers that you like. Google “(their name) article” or “(their name) interview for example: “Louise Fili article” or “Kara Walker interview” Read the article or interview, and then go back through again and choose the 3 sentences that stand out to you the most:
How closely aligned are you to their vision, how does it relate to the work you make or want to make?
Walt Disney said “Ideas come from curiosity” What are you curious about? Do some of your ideas come from wondering about these things?
Answering these questions may give you more insight into your work, and you may notice words that repeatedly come up.