Way back, before I started Atelier Nouveau I was
an aspirational Art & Design student trying to combine my intense high school workload with figuring out my college application. I really wanted to study at the Art & Design school of my dreams so I wouldn't have to go to a regular non-creative college.
I wanted to be able to prove to myself that I could pursue a creative career and I could do the things I love every single day. What I mean by that is: stop studying only theory like math, history and all that other stuff. I wanted to pursue a creative career where I could be practical and work with my hands, my mind, my creativity and focus on making beautiful things.
The thing was, I was struggling so badly finding the time and figuring out the details of what the application entailed. I discovered that I needed to
write an application essay, I needed to prepare for an interview and I needed to build a portfolio. I mean, what does a portfolio entail anyway? If I didn’t figure it out soon, it meant I wasn’t able to prove to myself that I could pursue that creative career.
To make things worse, I wasn't sure if I was even good enough. I had no idea where to start with building my portfolio. Was the art I made during art classes in school enough? Was that what I needed? Was it strong enough? I didn’t know.
The problem was that I realised that, even when I had figured out what to do, there was no one around to either coach or help me on whether I was doing the right or wrong thing. All of my friends were applying to either law school, business school or other pretty traditional studies. This meant none of my friends understood what I was going through and couldn’t help me either. Even my parents had no idea where to start. I felt quite alone in my struggle and If I didn't come up with a plan soon, I was on the verge of watching my dreams fall apart.
Then, something happened. It was both positive and negative. The thing was, I was doing some kind of advanced placement courses in high school. Basically, it meant I was majoring in subjects that were just too tough for me. So after multiple, long conversations with my parents, we both decided it was best for me to let go of these courses, to improve my chances of graduating. A weight lifted off my shoulders. That's when all of a sudden I had way more time on my hands to finally focus on figuring out college applications.
So what did I do: I visited numerous open houses, asked questions to current Art & Design students I met there, spent time emailing with admission boards and lastly I attended several portfolio building courses.
Then it became crystal clear to me how I needed to approach my application. How I had to prepare for my interview and what essential elements my portfolio should include. But what I also learned is that I could have never done all of this by myself. You need to ask for help, you need to ask for feedback and stop trying to figure it out on your own instead.
Then I started experimenting more with my art, feeling more free to step outside my comfort zone and express my personality in my work. That’s when I realised that the secrets to a successful application is to continuously practice your skills, experiment with different techniques and surround yourself with experts that know what they’re talking about. After I did all of that, I felt strong enough that I would sail through the admission process. So came the time to apply.
I started filling in the application form as soon as it came online and I started filtering my work to only keep the best pieces. But I didn’t stop there. I then spent countless hours preparing for the interview. After that, I rocked my interview and they accepted me on the spot! But wait a minute…
I got lucky! If I hadn’t done those portfolio building courses, if I hadn’t interviewed all these students and if I hadn’t asked for feedback from creatives and spent countless hours preparing on how to talk about my work exactly like all of these people told me: I would have failed! I would have been part of those 70% that don’t get accepted.
Then later on, during my studies and after graduation, I was approached many many times by people like you who were having the same questions, doubts and fears I had at the time. I saw students get rejected despite their motivation and real talent.
All of this inspired me to set up Atelier Nouveau, this platform and give, help and inspire aspirational Art & Design students to get into their dream college and finally pursue a creative career.