If you are an upcoming artist, considering pursuing your Master‘s degree in Fine Art, (specifically in the related areas of painting, interdisciplinary studies, illustration etc.) this blog is for you. These are some questions you should consider answering and thinking about when starting your application process. (I answered the questions with my original responses). Instead of thinking “I’m applying for graduate school” think of it as “I am pursuing my masters.” In better context, your larger purpose is to become a master of your craft. Education is meant to be transformational, not transactional.
Name, Birth date, Academic History (College or University you’ve attended)
Lakeem A. Wilson
Septermber 6, 1991
BFA from The University of Texas At Austin.
(Bachelors of Fine Art, Studio Art)
Which Program You are applying for? Ex.
MFA From Otis College Of Art and Design, California LA
(Masters Of Fine Art, Emphasis in Art + Social Practice)
MFA From The University of Houston in Texas
(Masters Of Fine Art, Emphasis in Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms)
MFA From Temple University Tyler School of Art and Architecture
CV (Curriculum Vitae) - An index of solo and/or group exhibitions, gallery showcases, or relevant events you were involved in. Also and publications, awards, fellowships, or residencies.
Resume - An index of relevant history including both professional jobs and relevant entrepreneurial contracted projects and work.
List any academic and/or professional accomplishments.
Hidden America Book, Self Published Autobiography
NaturalBorn Studios Creative Publishing, Austin Tx.
September 7, 2020
Got It Covered (National Art Competition Finalist)
Dame Dash Studios, Burbank, California
The Embodiment Series, CAAD Artist in Residency
The University of Texas at Austin, School of Art. Austin Tx.
(Center For African Art and Diaspora).
January 2019 - April 2019
Hidden Gems of Austin Airport Exhibition
Six Square Dixtrict, Austin, Tx.
May 2018 - Dec 2018
Each One Teach One Solo Exhibition | Future Leaders Children’s Book Launch
South Side On Lamar Gallery, Dallas Tx.
List all previous course work relevant to graduate study.
ARH 304 - Issues In Visual Culture
UGS 302 - Art of Mapping
RTF 305 - Introduction To Media Studies
BDP 101 - Exploring Digital Art and Media
SOC - 302 Introduction To The Study Of Society
ART 366K - Advance Life Drawing
PHL F317K - Intro To Philosophy Of The Arts
My artistic focal points are rooted in exploring concepts of culture. My goal through pursuing a MFA in Studio Art with emphasis in Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms is to develop innovative ways to engage my current traditional painting and illustration practices with new emerging forms such as digital design, media and animation in order to offer new empowering ways to exercise my creative voice.
Early on I recognized a lack of representation in black creative professionals and innovative thinkers who use art as a social tool to evoke change. My goal is to encourage the culture to grow beyond broken societal norms. Pursuing my Master’s Degree, will offer me a platform to use my studio art practices and creative process to engage with the environments that need it
most. I see art as an interdisciplinary tool that can both educate, and inspire creative solutions.
Through continued research and developmental studio practices, I am committed to achieving success in the program from start to finish. I value that this college of arts offer a creative and collaborative environment in one of the most culturally diverse cities in America. Within the three year time frame, my goals are to develop productive relationships with like minded students, professors and staff, as well as develop a creative portfolio that’ll speak to my focus of exploring narratives about urban culture.
As a returning member to the academic environment, I seek to bridge the theories of visual practice with critical dialogue. As an emerging artist in the art world, this degree will equip me with the creative and intellectual tools to position my career path in the right direction. I aspire to pursue cultural fellowships, artist residencies, and collaborate with valued foundations and organizations in order to continually use my creative voice and mastery to impact, and serve urban communities across the world.
In conclusion, I am honored to be submitting my application to ___ to pursue my MFA in Studio Art with emphasis on Interdisciplinary Practices and Emerging Forms. Attached in separate files is curated portfolio titled “Capture The Culture” along with my resume and application. I look forward to hearing back from you.
Lakeem Wilson’s narrative paintings and illustrations offers essential social commentary on the urban experience. Born in South Dallas, Texas in 1991, he earned his BFA from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014. His merged illustration and fine art style allows him to effectively captures the culture and tell impactful visual stories about the black experience. Lakeem draws from different moments of his life memories as a youth, as well as common stories from urban communities, hip hop music, media and popular culture. His later work began to explore more interdisciplinary practices and aspects of transforming spaces in real and symbolic ways. With emphasis on raw expression combined with social and historical depiction, his work has been described as both culturally relevant and authentic. Lakeem’s artwork engages a metaphorical language that empowers the urban experiences and provides a insightful
voice to the voiceless.
Art has given me knowledge of self. I extract the wisdom from my life experiences and embed them uniquely into each painting, illustration, and drawing that I create. My understanding of the world is reflected in the concepts of my creative process. When I immerse myself in culture, it brings me a freedom of expression that connects me to an unlimited source. I’ve grown to realize that I have the power to evoke change through my art, and help bring clarity to how people see the world. My creative voice allows me to bring sense of equilibrium to activism and cultural empowerment. My influence and determination stems from my cultural roots growing up in South Dallas, Texas, an urban environment against all odds showed me how even negative circumstances can produce a powerful will to be the change you want to see. Early community mentors, family and teachers motivated me to hone my creative gifts and continue traveling in a good orderly direction. I constantly analyze and destroy bad habits and unproductive mindsets in order to build on my innate skills and abilities as an artist, illustrator, and entrepreneur. I am the founder of NaturalBorn Studios, a full service creative brand that allows me to help people and companies bring their artistic endeavors to life. Art is the common denominator, and my ultimate goal is to create an impact and legacy so that my art can live in a never ending cipher.
List any factors you believe enhance your abilities for graduate studies.
My art engages in the discourse of perspective, exploring culture, and inviting viewers to think critically about art and marginalized environments in America. Through storytelling fused with emerging mediums like media, hip hop, animation, and motion graphics with traditional painting styles and illustration, I’m able to highlight critical hidden narratives in ways that transcends traditional practices. Pursuing graduate school with a focus in interdisciplinary studies will help me broaden my perspective on merging creative processes together in ways that can advance the social discourse in the contemporary art world. Understanding that education is more about transformation opposed to transaction, having the right mindset and perspective on my art practice enhances my abilities for graduate studies.
Describe your background and any research/employment history related to the program you are applying for.
Lakeem is an interdisciplinary artist working with painting, illustration, animation, sequential art, and interactive media. Lakeem’s work combines re-imagined urban black narratives and relevant social commentary with contemporary illustrated style paintings and media to explore the unresolved tensions between marginalized communities, historical iniquities, and African American cultural identity. Lakeem is the founder of NaturalBorn Studios, an interdisciplinary creative brand, which seek to provide creative solutions and alternative perspectives that empower under-represented communities through visual mediums of art. With his individual work and creative brand NaturalBorn Studios, Lakeem has exhibited work locally in Texas, and nationally. In 2018, Lakeem was the selected artist in residency at The University of Texas Center of African Art and Diaspora where he created the body of work titled “The Embodiment Series”. He was awarded a community initiative grant by the City of Austin to complete a city mural that speaks toward the identity of the urban environment and under represented neighborhoods. Lakeem’s early mentors and cultural background led him to studying interdisciplinary creative mediums such as painting, illustration, graphic design, animation, motion graphics and music. His academic approach to theory and philosophy allows him to draw from both a formal, and self education in his creative process.
NaturalBorn Studios permanently preserves the work of Lakeem Wilson, makes it available to the public through exhibitions, books, and electronic media and supports artistic and educational activities that advance what Lakeem described as "the willing search for a better life and a better world."
Be Elevated And Manifest Success. Published by Lakeem Wilson . Instragram @Lakeem.Ali7 , @naturalbornstudios