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1 EDINBURGH COLLEGE OF ART AND THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH MA FINE ART WITH HONOURS (W150) PORTFOLIO PREPARATION GUIDANCE NOTES The MA Fine Art course forms a unique relationship between two highly prestigious institutions, Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art. The course has been in existence for more than fifty years and is particular and unusual in a number ways. It is of five years duration and over that period is based on a strictly equitable balance between the study of the history of art in the Fine Art Department of Edinburgh University in George Square and creative practice in the studios on the Painting and Sculpture schools of Edinburgh College of Art. The two institutions are within five minutes walk of each other in the heart of the city. Effectively, the course is the equivalent of two four year single honours degrees - an MA in Art History and a BA in Painting, Sculpture, Tapestry or Printmaking, telescoped into an intense, demanding and creative five year period. Graduates from the course go on to work at the highest level of museum curatorship, arts administration, academic research and as practicing artists, art teachers and academics in Universities, further education colleges and schools. MA Fine Art applicants come from a wide variety of cultural and educational experiences and span a broad range from school leavers to those wishing to participate as mature students. We actively seek and encourage this diversity and are conscious of the difficulty that this can bring when offering advice on what should constitute the body of practical work for assessment. For this reason it is important that you regard the following as broad and general advice rather than as mandatory requirements. Edinburgh College of Art has formal open days on the last Friday of October and it is also possible to arrange a visit as an individual, or as part of a small group, at other times of the academic year. Such visits are of enormous value and we would encourage you to make one if possible. We would like your portfolio to consist of work that reflects two areas: 1. Required course work for A level, Higher, Foundation Course or other Examination purposes: 2. Self motivated work which shows your personal preferences and interests regarding subject matter materials and means of expression. These areas will probably overlap to some, or even to a large, extent but we regard the second category as particularly important. QUANTITY OF WORK REQUIRED After the Drawing and Painting section there is a bracket which broadly indicates this. There is no merit in quantity alone though we do need to see a substantial amount of work to come to a fair and measured

2 judgement of each applicant. Range and variety are significant and it is advisable not to have too many pieces of work which are similar in scale, subject, and manner of working. As good as they may be, they can tend to become indistinguishable from each other, and the range of work you present will seem very narrow. Look at your work, not in terms of what you think is good or bad, but to see if you lean towards a particular formula to produce work. If you detect a distinct pattern (always using particular materials, subject matter, scale, and time-scale) then try working in ways and with materials that extend and develop your range. During the inspection process we look to see the breadth, range and diversity of your skills, the energy and commitment with which you work, and the potential we think you have to develop and thrive on the course. We are not looking for, nor do we expect to find, sophisticated mature artists producing highly polished and refined work, but for open minded and inventive individuals who are curious, energetic and enthusiastic about processes, materials and ideas. This is, after all, the beginning of your dedicated involvement in visual art and these qualities are as necessary and important, as technical dexterity and high hand and eye skills. Arguably, they are more important at this stage. DRAWING Guide No pieces covering a range of scales, materials and subject matter from small quick studies to larger, sustained, highly finished images. Measured and technical drawings, collage and mixed media pieces are acceptable. Drawing in all its forms is regarded as the most significant element of the portfolio submission. It is important as a discrete activity and in its fundamental relationship to the study of painting, sculpture, tapestry and printmaking (specialist options at second year level) and also to the disciplines of photography, film video, computer, installation, performance and text based art. Drawing is the premier and most direct research method of all visually creative processes and it remains a mandatory activity throughout the fiveyear course. Directness, speed and relative cheapness mean quantity can be produced. This encourages development, comparison and selection in parallel with the growth of experience, skill and confidence levels. Ways of working and materials should be appropriate to the subject and circumstances rather than the reverse when preferred media and methods are imposed on the drawing, regardless of circumstances. Work from simple, straightforward, subject matter the figure (portraits, self portraits, figures in interiors) landscape and townscapes, still life groups, object studies and discipline yourself to vary your approach regarding pace, scale, proportion, materials and time scales. Respond to circumstances, subjects and materials, rather than seeking to find a particular manner or method that can be applied to any situation. Try to avoid working too much in the style of manner of a favorite artist or artists because we want to see what your reaction is to a subject rather than your ability to copy the vision of someone else. The same advice applies to photographs your own or those clipped from magazines. They are perfectly acceptable if used as the starting off point for drawings but we are really not interested in seeing how carefully or fastidiously you can copy a photograph, as the results are usually very dull.

3 PAINTING Guide No, pieces. Comments and advice regarding drawing apply equally to painting. It is recommended that you work with water based paint on card or paper (all first year students at ECA do) as this will enable you to produce work more quickly and cheaply, it will be lighter and therefore easier to include in your portfolio and, as with drawing, quantity allows comparisons, selection, rejection and variation to contribute to the development of your work, skill and confidence. SCULPTURE Should be presented in the form of video, good quality photographs, laser prints or slides showing several views of each piece and should be accompanied with details of dimensions, materials used and date of completion of each work. Drawings which show research and development of work or anticipate future projects or which studies particularly space, volume, structure and weight should be included in this section of the folio. SKETCHBOOKS Guide No: 3-6 books. We see these as being very important. They show us your thinking and working processes. Sketchbooks may include the occasional post card but should not be merely scrap books of favourite artists, galleries visited or magazine cuttings. Neither should they be like miniature portfolios of small finished artworks. A good way to think of a sketch book is as a visual diary. It might be quite slight or even trivial on a day to day, or page to page, basis but builds gradually into a serious and significant reference source which records your thoughts and views about a range of things you ve seen and thought about over a period of time. With practice this process of daily recording becomes natural and completely unselfconscious and you ll approach your sketchbook without the hesitation or trepidation that often goes before the beginning of a drawing or painting on a larger scale. DESIGN We would expect to see examples of work which constitute course or exam work in your portfolio as they will add to the overall picture we form of you and your range of skills and experiences. However, as the MA course operates exclusively within the areas of painting, sculpture, tapestry and printmaking, we would expect that design work would constitute a relatively small part of your submission. Pieces such as printed textiles, garments, ceramics or jewellery should be represented by photographic, laser prints or slides. PHOTOGRAPHY/PRINTMAKING These will extend the range of your folio and they have a direct relationship to the disciplines of drawing, painting, sculpture and tapestry. Please be selective with prints and avoid including too many multiple images with little variation. Photographs should be mounted in groups on paper not in the processor s paper wallets.

4 PRESENTATION Work should be in a single portfolio which does not exceed 850 x 635 mm (35 x 25 in). Avoid plastic or acetate sleeves if possible. All pieces must have your name and completion date clearly marked on the reverse. Sculpture / three-dimensional / large work should be presented as high quality photographs, laser prints, or slides and must state dimensions and media used. Sketchbooks must have your name and address on the cover. While we take great care with art works we cannot take responsibility for loss in the absence of full and correct labeling. Work should be presented in distinct groups, i.e. painting, drawing, prints, sculpture (and related drawings). Most work should be recent (normally within the last calendar year). Older work should be included only for comparison or to indicate development. Work should be consistently the correct way up for easy inspection. Pastels and charcoal drawings should be properly fixed. Do not send rolled work. If it is big, send a photograph. Work should be individually mounted using thin white card or paper (we strongly advise you avoid coloured card). Small images should be presented as blocks or groups on single sheets. Window mounting is preferred it looks better, is more economical and reduces weight and bulk. Work carefully when mounting work. Use the correct tools a heavy-duty steel straight edge and a sharp craft knife and seek advice and guidance from a teacher, tutor or someone with appropriate experience, before beginning. Avoid excessive numbers of similar images such as prints or quick sketches on newsprint. Present a limited selected group of such work which demonstrates variation or development. PLEASE SEND OR DELIVER YOUR FOLIO TO: - MA Fine Art (W150) Portfolio Inspection School of Drawing and Painting Edinburgh College of Art Lauriston Place Edinburgh, EH3 9DF Fax (0131) Tel (0131) Dates for sending your portfolio are from Monday January 14 th 2008 until Friday February 8 th 2008 inclusive. We will return your folio to you within five working days of our receipt of it. Exceptionally and only by special arrangement we may consider work submitted outwith these dates.

5 You must include a crossed cheque for 20 sterling, payable to Edinburgh College of Art, to cover handling, processing and the cost of return. The cheque should be secured to the inside front cover of the folio along with the address to which it should be returned or forwarded. There is no charge if you or your agent undertake and arrange to collect your portfolio from the college. Overseas applicants may submit work in the form of DVD, video, high quality slides or photographs. Such applications should carry documentation, which clearly indicates the medium, dimensions and date of completion of each work. Video submissions should not exceed fifteen minutes duration. Exceptionally and only by special arrangement, we may consider UK applications in this form. If you have any questions about this information or wish to arrange a visit to the college please contact Sheena Milligan the Drawing and Painting School Academic Administrator, at the above address.

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