I transferred to the The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, this fall. Cooper Union is known well for being a very selective institution most likely because they offer free tuition for everyone who attends.
I previously went to a 2 year art school (studying illustration) and knowing the cost of art schools in general when it came time to transfer I jumped on the opportunity to go to Cooper after finding out I got in.
Free is not equivalent to good.
You’ll never really come across a school that fits everyone needs. Cooper union is a decent school for art however its just not for me. When I attended the Students acceptance day (which was a day where those who were accepted were invited to go to the school and get a tour and talk to the deans or what have you) they said Cooper union is not for everyone. Of course in my mind I thought “it’s free, so Ill make it for me.”
From what I have seen and have been told and experienced, Cooper Union’s art department is big on conceptual art, which is not my thing although I can appreciate certain aspects of it. When I attended the portfolio review, the person who did the reviewing told me that my drawing skills were excellent, however I needed to think about concepts more. There was this one particular piece I had that I did during my foundation year. The assignment was to use newspaper as the background and use strips of black paper to create an illusion of space, diminution, and depth. She was asking me what it was about and I explained to her what the point of the assignment was, then she proceeded to still ask me what it was about, she wanted to know what it meant. She wanted that piece to have some sort of deep meaning about life or society or some shit. She refused to take it for what it was and she refused to take it for face value.
During orientation, 2 art alumni came to give a presentation and talk about what they did in Cooper and what they are doing currently. The first artist was a guy and one of his pieces was 2 lighters taped together and another was 2 or so lawn chairs stacked together with on of the legs in a bucket of concrete. For his thesis at cooper he stacked chairs and organized things in the school or something. I had no idea what the other artist did. Needless to say, that introduction to the school was extremely disappointing and discouraging.
It’s kind of diffcult to explain the type of art I am into, however If I had to use a term It would be representational art. Representational art simply means that viewers are able to recognize an object (or objects) within the piece of art. I’m into art utilizes the basic foundation skills such as good use of color, good use of technical drawing skills, etc. I like artists such as Jenny Saville, Odd Nerdrum, John Singer Sargent, Phil Hale, J.M.W. Turner, Alphonse Mucha, Kent Williams, Michael Hussar, Veronique Meignaud, Jon Foster, and the list just goes on.
So with all that being said I am looking to transfer this spring, particularly to Pratt to continue on with Illustration (Cooper does not have an illustration department and if they did there probably wouldn’t be an issue). I know the cost of Pratt and I most likely will not be given much money, however the school that I went to before cooper has a direct connection with Pratt so all my credits from there will be accepted and I won’t start as a sophomore (like I am here or like I would be if I started somewhere else).
I’m not completely knocking Cooper Union. I think its a good school, for those who find it to be useful. I also think that its good that they offer free tuition (although whether or not it will continue to be is under discussion now). It’s just not what I was looking for.