How do I get an MFA without a BFA?
May 30, 2008 12:33 AM Subscribe
I would like to end up teaching fine arts (specifically printmaking) at a university level but have a Bachelor's Degree in a completely different field and only a small amount of experience. Where do I start?
I have always been a relatively artistic person - having spent the majority of high school drawing when I should have been paying attention. Despite the fact that I was often told I had artistic talent, I never considered art to be a possible life direction for me because I was too convinced I was headed towards post-production for film and television. I even went so far as to intern with a small studio in DC that worked in post-production (specifically sound engineering and design). Short of it: I didn't apply to art school.
Instead, I attended a fairly reputable but small liberal arts college and majored in East Asian Studies with a concentration in Japan (did you see that coming?). Around junior year, my interest in printmaking was peaked by a friend. I enrolled in an intermediate drawing class and a printmaking class. That marked the beginning of two years of inky hands and the constant smell of solvent. I graduated with a BA in East Asian Studies and moved to Japan.
Now, 2 years later, I am starting to think about my return to the states. I would like to end up teaching at a university level. I love the passion and drive that university students have (especially in art colleges) and find the teaching process to be incredibly rewarding. Oh, and printmaking makes me happy in a way that few other things do (music is on that list but I don't have the math or skill in me to teach music).
I would like to enter a graduate program but am worried that few art graduate programs would even consider a candidate who 1) has little experience and a tiny portfolio and 2) doesn't have an undergraduate degree in the fine arts. While in Japan, I have been working with a woodcutting master (of sorts) who has been, kinda, teaching me his partially non-traditional method of Japanese printmaking but the progress has been quite slow due to his age and my having a full time job.
What are my options? Do I apply to graduate programs and see what happens? Do I apply to internships so that I can work on my portfolio? Do I need to acquire an undergraduate degree in fine arts before I can move on? <----worst case scenario.
My only issue aside from the whole not-having-a-fine-arts-degree-and-wanting-to-work-in-the-fine-arts-field is that, and this might be a bigger problem than I realize, I don't ever want to be a "starving artist". That sort of uncertainty doesn't sit well with me. I can't work at Starbucks and do my printmaking on the side - waiting to be noticed. That's why music was never an option.
I appreciate any and all advice, anecdotes, etc. I feel very lost and am worried that I made a grave, unfixable mistake that will result in me working in a field that I don't want to be in or in me unnecessarily repeating 4 years of college. Thanks for your help.