The Memphis College of Art
The Memphis College of Art - Comments and Student Experiences|
The painting department is fully rooted in "doing your own thing" which translates to "99% professional bullshit with 1% representational work". There is no value in painting well there, and it's all contemporary/modern art ideals.
One of the most important things as an artist if you wish to draw well is how to draw the figure, and how to draw it well. You will not learn that here. To learn how to draw the figure well, you must learn anatomy, line control, and gesture. Line control and gesture are lightly taught, but with no supplement of anatomy or any sort of construction technique, the one life drawing class provided (that you can re-take 2 more times) is extremely lacking. The reason cited for the professor no longer teaching it is that he deemed it no longer necessary. Somehow, I find that odd when comparing that to every top-tier school's curriculum.
The illustration department experience was largely good, though my favorite professor no longer teaches there. There is a new department head coming in this Fall (Fall 2013), which appears to be promising. Even then, if you're looking for competition, you won't really find it here. You might find one or two people in your class worth your time, if you're lucky.
I believe it's possible to do well in the illustration department, but the rest of the school is so loaded up with silly ideals, bad/lacking instruction, bad management, etc, that there is no way that you will be able to focus on what you need to create good, well-crafted illustrations as much as you should. Therefore your graduating portfolio will likely be infinitely weaker than several other top-tier schools (MICA, Art Center, Ringling, SVA, etc). You'll get out of school realizing that you don't know nearly enough, and likely spend at least a year cramming in what you should've learned your sophomore year.This school doesn't cost nearly as much as other art schools, but please realize, it's for a VERY good reason. Look elsewhere if you're serious about becoming a skilled artist. If this is your only option monetarily, go to a local university, or hit up online resources (CGMW, TAD, Schoolism, Gnomon) -- it's not like the degree (from MCA especially) will actually do anything for you.