BACA Preparatory Course, Major in Visual Communication Design
Central Saint Martins, Visual Communication Design Major, UK
London College of Communication, Illustration and Visual Media Major, UK
Kingston University, Animation and Illustration Major, UK
Here, we invite Chen Guo, who has just received an offer from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, to share her experience of choosing a school and her journey at BACA!
As my father is a talented interior designer, I have been exposed to art since I can remember, exploring fields like industrial design and product design. Although I always knew I wanted to pursue art in the future, there are so many art disciplines, and I needed to gradually experience and try them out to see which one suited me best. It wasn’t until I became fascinated with animation that I gradually found my passion for illustration. After exploring it, I realized that I had so many stories in my mind, and this was indeed the right major for me.
I always wanted to create an illustration story in its entirety, but it never made it, but this is the first time I tried it and did it completely, and I feel very happy.
The theme I chose was the Industrial Revolution. When I did my research, I found that the proportion of “child labor” in that era was very staggering, and there was also a very high mortality rate, and even more chillingly, the average age of death of child labor was 15 years. They usually start working as child laborers at the age of 7 or 8 and die when they are minors. It’s so sad to put yourself in their shoes and imagine their lives. The industry with the highest rate of child labour is coal mining, because children are small enough to crawl into small, deep mines where oxygen is thin.
After this research, I wanted to use it as inspiration to create a picture book that explores how light people take life when they overlook the value of life. I used the newsboy hat, which child laborers wore at that time, as a focal point. The story describes the disappearance of the hat’s first owner and the death of its second owner due to a mine collapse. Many years later, a modern child discovers the hat and plays with it, ending the perspective with the hat floating down to a tombstone.
After completing this project, I reflected on whether modern-day lives hold the same weight as lives in the past. I hope this story can touch people’s hearts.
Previously, I attended an international department at a comprehensive school. Coming to BACA, I noticed many differences; it’s an ideal place for art students. Firstly, there are comprehensive and well-equipped facilities related to art creation, making the process more convenient. Secondly, BACA is located in the city center with abundant resources. For art students, this is crucial; there are several print shops nearby, unlike schools in suburban areas where you have to travel far to find such facilities. Thirdly, BACA is situated near Yonghe Temple, with a mix of old and new buildings and many famous landmarks around. People lead vibrant lives here, which provides art students with ample opportunities for field research. They can observe, contemplate, and study human behavior at any time. This gives me a wide range of materials for my research, which greatly helps with my creative process.
When I applied to UAL, I was exempted from the interview and directly admitted, but BACA’s teachers still provided me with a lot of interview guidance. Although I’m not very talkative in daily life, I can handle conversations calmly when needed, and the teachers’ feedback on me was very positive.
Previously, I studied AP courses at another international high school, where the focus was on results. As long as you believed your work had a perfect presentation, it was considered good. However, after joining FAD at BACA, I realized that art creation here emphasizes the entire logic – your thinking, ideas, practice, and research are all crucial. FAD involves more work, but it is indeed the key to sustainable development for art students. Of course, the requirements for the courses vary depending on individuals. Everyone has a different way of thinking and working; some might quickly come up with an idea and execute it perfectly. But for most people, a logical approach is necessary to accomplish things.
When I first came to BACA Preparatory Course, I was still conflicted about whether I should pursue pure fine arts. In my view, pure fine arts require a strong viewpoint and the determination to push your thoughts onto the stage. This demands a great deal of internal drive and a strong desire to express something that belongs to you. However, my desire to express is relatively gentle, subtle, and emotionally moving. I found that illustration, with its ability to tell a story in a calm manner, was the most suitable for me. After spending a year here, I have become increasingly clear about my thoughts.
After AI art gained popularity, many people advised me not to study illustration, as AI seemed capable of completely replacing illustrators in intelligent creation. But I’m not worried because there’s one viewpoint that continues to drive me: “Only you can draw what’s in your mind.” So, AI will only become a more convenient and efficient tool for illustrators. As an artist, what I want to express cannot be replicated by others. Overall, I remain positive. I don’t set grand goals for myself; I hope to steadily progress step by step.