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The Memphis College of Art

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If you want to learn how to drawQuite BrightDesign Arts - Industrial Design/Graphic Design/etc
If you want to learn how to draw and paint well, go elsewhere.
The fundamentals program is horrendously lackadaisical about technical ability and provides no source of competition or need to try hard to succeed. The amount of people that get through fundamentals and then somehow manage to graduate without even learning how to draw well is staggering. If you think I'm joking, visit during when the seniors of the semester have their work up. See if the work of students of your intended major is up to par with what you're looking to achieve. Make sure to take into account all of the students' as well as from other departments.

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.

2nd Year Male -- Class 2017
Perceived Campus Safety: A, Collaboration/Competitive: F
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I am a professional artist, yes the realArt & Design Department
I am a professional artist, yes the real thing. I live in NY NY. Memphis College of Art is a joke. The Faculty are not real artist, just left over trash from the 70's. No one there has an ounce of skill or talent. Most of the student population consists of immature, rich, pot heads. You will lear nothing here, after I graduated with a 4.0 I went else were, and got the education that I needed to make a living 100% from art.
Male -- Class 2000
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Very unprofessional school.Art & Design Department
Very unprofessional school. Didn't feel I learned anything from here other than stress and how to do mindless busy work. Buddy system with teachers is required to pass, drugs are a big topic in class and out. Very unsafe campus and city. Be careful about ever accepting a scholarship from this place if you leave for any reason before withdrawl time is even up...they will stick you for the bill years later. School allowed a paper called Unsupervised Minds drawn by students to be published and placed into the boxes of all students that depicted rape and violent images and did not apparently see anything wrong with this.I left after I saw this. It was not what I was going to spend thousands of dollars for an education to see, but still ended up doing this by paying back loan for the two months I was there and now the thousands they have attached on my credit for that time when yet again....I had a scholarship and it was before withdrawl time was even up!!!!! Lots of issues in the dorms the school wants to brush under the table including attempted suicides, car break ins, unsafe area of town, and issues in the park surrounding the school. I always watched my back going to my car with my keys in hand. I really hated having any classes that let out near dark and having to walk a good ways to my car from class. Parking is ridiculous and even if you have to have a parking pass there are no real places to park...because its in a public park!!!!! Do not go here!!!!! I have no clue how they continue to get funding run the way it is and with the things they allow. The classes are way behind on the times and you will not have the real skills in many fields if you go here thinking you have learned what you need. The majority of people I know who have gone here since are still working in the city making way less than their loans are for or aren't even working in the field of art. Their only claim is that Jimmy Carter's daughter attended the school in the 60's-70's and that a predominately popular movie poster artist went there which I can find no validation for such on that one.... They are very unaware of internship programs that they should know about and in my experience in dealing with them, they were shocked when I spoke of what I was already doing in the art field, professional experience when I went in and what contacts I already had. That's sad. But then again I was an adult student with 2 kids who was there for an education and to just finish up my degree for the official paperwork, not to play and socialize with people way younger than me, which was something that the school insisted I had to do. They tried to force me to hang out with and get to know people at orientation for several days before school started. I was chastised in front of everyone for not going out with them during orientation events and learning about them...again I have a husband and children at home. My days of Rocky Horror and bowling were gone and done years ago and I had things called responsibilities at a home that I had a mortgage on and bills to pay, not dorm room sleep overs and drinking. I should have run then when made to feel so uncomfortable. I also didn't find much artistic inspiration in having to draw lude images for one class and pin it to a board or in the same class have to hear the project ideas of what sounded like a therapy session at an insane asylum and not an art school. Blood and brains pouring out of fountains.... body parts and sex act statues as monument ideas...what!!!??? Where is this ok? So my advice is to run the opposite direction.If you want to attend art school in Memphis, then look to U of M or over the state line at Delta State or Ole Miss or Miss State, anywhere but here as you will be wasting your time, mental stability and money here. Parents be very aware of the environment your kids are stepping into here if they are showing interest in wanting to go here, its not a very good one. At over 28,000 a year its wasted money!!!!!! I work professionally in the field of art and did not need this place for any of it. I have totally changed my mind on finishing my degree because of my dealings with this place and I am finishing up another degree in its place to further my education and to take my skills to another market and field.
Male -- Class 2000
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The Memphis College of Art
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