04 May 2005

NSCAD Admissions Essay

I have always wanted to create books. Since I first learned that pencils make marks on paper, since I first discovered the alphabet, I have been making stories with pictures and words. When I first started university, I was going to study creative writing and visual art, but I soon learned that I needed to know more about what "story" is before I could feel comfortable creating my own stories, my own books.

By studying archaeology, I discovered the stories of who we humans are as a species, the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and our many distinct cultures. I learned how to pass on the stories archaeologists tell about the past in pictures -– in drawings and photographs -– as well as in words both academic and popular.

From there I went further into the depths of "story" when I chose to do graduate studies in folklore. I learned not only what stories are told, but what those stories might mean to the people who tell them. And those stories, too, are passed on by means other than words. They are passed on in gestures, in the pictures painted on the sides of blanket boxes, in the names and shapes of boats, and the way particular foods are prepared.

Only then did I feel ready to tell my own stories. I returned to the city of my birth to study writing, bringing with me all the things I'd learned about storytelling in school and from moving from place to place all my life. Victoria –- Halifax -– Virginia Beach -– Toronto -– Ottawa -– Beaver Creek -– Calgary -– Resolute Bay -– St John's. Through stories I sought to find an answer to that question everyone asks: "So where are you from?"

I have improved my ability to tell stories with words, but now I need to go back to my beginnings, to where I made my stories -- my little books of folded paper -- with words and pictures together. And I want to discover new ways of telling stories, of communicating. Can I tell a story with a sculpture? Can a single image be a book? What other ways can I put text and images together? Is there a way to make a story out of an advertisement for someone else's product?

It's time for me to close the circle and make books again, books I always imagined I would make, and books of kinds I never knew existed -- or could exist. That is why I'm applying to NSCAD. I think it's the right place -- it feels like the right place -- to find that last piece of "story."

4 comments:

Jeff Werner said...

Found your site via the Victoria Bloggers Group and am intrigued to learn you're enrolled in NSCAD after having accomplished so much academically.

Do you have a specific program you intend to graduate from at NSCAD, or are you using their foundation year to decide that? Can you say why you chose NSCAD over, say, Emily Carr here on the west coast?

I ask because I'm in a similar boat: an art history and writing degree from UVic, but now preparing to enter a graphic design program. I looked at NSCAD but ultimatley decided to apply to Emily Carr and Cap College (jeffwerner.ca/2005/04/idea_program_in.html).

Good luck!

Niko said...

Thanks! I'm planning to do the Bachelor of Design Interdisciplinary with a minor in digital media. I decided on NSCAD for two main reasons: a friend of mine went there and loved it, and I adore the east coast and have been wanting to go back since I left (and I've wanted to spend time on Nova Scotia specifically for ages).

Niko said...
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