Friday, February 7, 2014

Angelique Benrahou's Art School Confidential

Hey there, my name is Angelique Benrahou, but you can call me Angie. This is part one of my series on my experiences through different art programs.

I have wanted to be an artist for as long as I could remember. Wait, I wanted to be a bus driver in kindergarten, but that probably doesn't count. I was fortunate to be able to attend several summer programs throughout my teen-age years: Fleisher Memorial, Moore College of Art, University of the Arts and Tyler School of Art. I enjoyed the environments for the few weeks I was there surrounded by people who shared similar interests. When I became a senior in high school I made a huge decision that separated me from the other 98 kids in my graduating class; I wanted to go to Art School. 

It was very different from applying to other liberal art schools, it involved creating a portfolio tailored to each specific school and also preview my desired focus in art. I researched a lot and read about the three types of general art institutions out there. Little did I know I would be attending all three types later in my college career! Those will be in later posts. 
I decided to go to University of the Arts, with a scholarship, one of the best illustration programs in the country and it also being in my hometown of Philadelphia, PA, it was an overwhelming "YES!". 

I enjoyed my first year and a half there, having room to experiment with different approaches, mediums and target market assignments:(book covers, poster, fairy tale illustrations). However through out my many hours of critiques I kept hearing a pattern of suggested improvements, boiling down to technical skills. The literal representation of life on paper, my ideas were great, that you couldn't teach was said, but the fineness of my hand was in question. 

As the weeks went on I searched the library for art books, the internet and professional artists' blogs. I decided firsthand to visit an art convention in science fiction and fantasy art, IlluXcon. I was blown away by all the technical skills flowing out of the doors, that this was the level of professionalism that needed to be reached. 

I knew that with a year and a half left of art school to go, I would not make it to that level with my current program. With many advising me not to, I left University of the Arts, with no plan in mind, just the visions of where I wanted to be and knowing that there must be a way, if not,I was going to make one. 

To be continued . . .

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