Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Query regarding BA Fine Art Interview

"I have an interview for a fine art BA course next week and I've got to do a presentation on my favourite artist. I really love Carravagio, but do you think they will think this too old fashioned or should I look to someone more contemporary?" R

 Hi R

Erwin Olaf
 Unfortunately, they might! As you are probably aware, painting has, over the past three decades, declined in popularity in schools of art, and, furthermore, anything 'old' is often treated with disdain. The interviewers may think you just pulled Caravaggio out of the air (and note the spelling - they won't take you seriously if you spell your key artists' name wrong!) But you can turn your interest to your advantage, and demonstrate how you can contextualise his work, bringing his influence up to date. You could show how important his use of chiaroscuro has been in, say, photography or film. In this way you demonstrate your understanding of the techniques of the artist, why his popularity has endured, and precisely why he is still relevant today. You could look at films such as the early Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), works by Ingmar Bergman, Film Noir, or Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. With photography, looks at some of Erwin Olaf's or Annie Leibovitz's portraits, or Minamato by W Eugene Smith.
Whatever you do, though, talk about things you are comfortable and confident with. If they ask about something you don't know, turn the conversation to something you DO know. Good luck!

Annie Leibovitz

W. Eugene Smith

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