The first time I applied to grad schools, I didn’t get into any. I called a few to ask how many applied vs. how many got in: several hundred vs. less than 20.
A woman at the Maryland Institute College of Art talked to me for awhile about what they were looking for and what I had submitted. I told her about my BFA paintings and she wanted to see them, so I sent her the slides. She said, “Well, if you had submitted THOSE then we probably would have accepted you!”
My professors praised those paintings and yet I felt like a fraud because I didn’t think I could draw or paint.
What might have happened had I gone to Baltimore with that portfolio? I’ll never know, but I’m not willing to trade Memphis or Steve to find out.
During my awful Woman-from-the-50s period, after Mom’s death, I had a meeting with Professor M. He hated the artwork I was doing. He said it was NOT what grad schools were looking for. He asked why I didn’t send in my BFA paintings. Grad schools want work that is cutting edge, exciting, breaking new ground. My fellow student who painted huge circles on paper got into Yale (they were so big she had to hold them over the balcony on the 2nd floor so someone could photograph them). M. said a student drawing with dirt got into Pratt. He said art schools aren’t interested in anything that looks like a painting. (Dirt.) (Dirt!)
Fall of 1993 there was a Portfolio Day at the Atlanta College of Art. Anyone could bring in artwork to be critiqued. I took some of my Women Paintings in. The only one I remember is a figure standing at the bottom of the ocean, surrounded by fish. One woman told me there is a wild woman inside of me and she’d like to see my work if I let her out.
In 1994 I went to see my Life Drawing professor, who said my work was focused (I don’t remember what I showed him). We talked art schools and he said the schools on my list were top-tier art schools and I needed to broaden the list. Then he said, “Just for the hell of it, get a catalog from Memphis College of Art.” He had a friend who taught there and said it was a nice place. I ended up not applying anywhere that year.