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Amy from Washington

Age: 18

How will going to college help you achieve your dreams and goals?
Whether music, dance, drawing, painting, or design, I have found that art is a great outlet for me. Art was, and is, an important staple in my everyday life. There is nothing quite like putting your heart, soul, and creativity into a project, and watching it blossom into a beautiful product of your mind. My love of art has evolved to into a passion and career goal from hobbyist to entrepreneur to social activist.

Through art classes and sketching, I began to discover the mediums I preferred including pen, sharpie, linoleum printing, and digital platforms; slowly my artistic style emerged. My junior year during art class, I started sketching in my newly developed, conceptual style, and creating a humorous serious of drawings. Some of my classmates began to take notice of my drawings, enjoying the humorous, sometimes "punny" phrases I would include. One of my classmates even commented that the designs would look great on t-shirts. That comment was the birthplace of a bigger idea - a small business. After a bit more research, I discovered I could create and run my own t-shirt business. I first began by brainstorming the name and branding options. My designs were humorous, so I wanted something catchy... Something funny... Something... Me. Well, my last name is Wisegarver... And I need something funny...Wise... Wise... Wiseass Apparel was born.

Soon, I directed my efforts to business creation as a new entrepreneur. I recreated my sketches on the computer, cleaning up and finalizing the designs. Next, I established the aesthetic of the website and created a logo for my pangender designs that would go along with the quirky theme, "liberating wear for your average Jo and Joe." After setting up the online store, things were almost rearing to go. Next, I contacted a fellow church member, a part-time screen printer, about prices of the screens, shirts, and timing, so I could plan the ordering process. Wiseass Apparel was open for business.

Managing a business can be difficult, but extremely rewarding. For example, sometimes quality checks uncover problems in printing, causing unexpected delivery delays. Through this process, I also realized I loved the entire process of establishing the brand, designing the logo, creating advertisements, and of course, making the designs for the shirts. However, I did not want to limit myself to one fun, quirky style; I looked for the challenge of creating new styles and collaborating.

When I looked into design collaboration opportunities, I discovered a website called UpWork, where small business owners can post jobs requiring graphic design or web design. After creating a profile, I submitted a proposal to one of the job postings. The job-poster was looking for someone to create a t-shirt design for her business. She asked to see my work, so I sent her a small portfolio of some of my designs. A day later, I received a message back that I had received the job! Experiencing my first freelance job in graphic design gave me my first taste of what I have dreamed about making my career. I enjoyed the challenge of creating and collaborating with the client, and working to create the best product possible.

My love for art runs deep, from being an assistant art teacher at an elementary school after school program for four years, to sketching and designing for myself, to designing for pay to future community activist. The span of areas in my life that art has filled is vast, making my world more vivid and exciting. As I became more exposed to other artists such as Shephard Fairey, I learned that art can be used for social action, a form of persuasive social commentary. Art has been my outlet, my form of expression, and my passion. It is my dream to learn, collaborate, and create in the Chapman University Graphic Design program to build my skills for a career in design. I had the incredible opportunity to visit Chapman, meet with Professor Eric Chimenti, sit in on some Graphic Design classes, and speak with the students, giving me the complete feel for the program and school. Not only did I love the quality of work and projects the students showcased, but I also fell in love with the environment of the classroom and the interactions between the students and teacher.

I found out a few weeks ago, that I was accepted into Chapman University's Graphic Design BFA program, which had been my dream school since I was in elementary school! I believe that at Chapman, I would receive the best quality education in Graphic Design, along with the tools I would need to be successful in my future career and contributing to the community.

Art is more than the final project. It is the feeling you get from creating. It is the adrenaline you get staring at the blank canvas. It is the conversations and collaborations you have with other artists and clients and the community. It is the rhythm you get into when spending hours on a project. Art runs deeper than the surface.

Explain who/what in your life has inspired you to go to college.
"For the longest time, there were many artists that I admired, but with whom I did not quite identify. However, after learning about the talent behind OBEY, I was immediately drawn to Shephard Fairey's collection of work. Shepard Fairey, creator of Andre the Giant Has a Posse, the Obama Hope poster, and many extravagant murals in numerous cities, is a street artist, graphic designer, illustrator, and activist. He began gaining notoriety in 2008 during the presidential election for his Hope poster, a beautiful and iconic piece featuring Barack Obama. However, his street art is also featured in numerous galleries and museums, and his clothing is a popular brand across a wide age demographic.

Shepherd Fairey's work is inspirational in terms of branding and in evoking a response. As an entrepreneur with a small t-shirt business, I have been extremely inspired by not only his skills as a businessman, but also the incredible brand that Fairey has spent his time, talent, and energy building. His designs are unique, eye-catching, and thought-provoking, all things I hope to achieve with my art and career. Another thing I admire about Fairey is his involvement in political and social issues. Through the power of his art, he is able to make a contribution to various movements, and to influence people needed to inspire change. Whether for a presidential election or fight for civil rights, Fairey has created persuasive, call-to-action pieces that support issues of importance and relevance.

Along with my aspirations in graphic design as a career, I hope to expand my art to a wider audience, using my art to fight for my beliefs, much like Fairey. Contributing to causes that I care about and creating art that supports these causes would be a dream come true. Combining my passion and career is something that would make waking up every day an exciting and fulfilling adventure. Fairey and his pursuits as an artist and entrepreneur motivate me to continue to practice, create, and learn as much as I can to better prepare myself to pursue my dreams as a graphic designer. College would provide the essential tools and education needed to succeed in my career as a graphic designer, creator, and activist."

Explain your biggest obstacle to overcome in making college happen and what you're doing to help overcome it.
In August 2014, before my sophomore year, my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. This really took a toll on me and my family, and caused a lot of anxiety and stress. It made me constantly terrified for my dad's health, especially considering my mom had thyroid cancer when I was younger, and it was hard seeing her in pain, and during the recovery process. It made the beginning of the school year really tough for me, and made it hard to focus on school and all my various activities. However, I ended up still keeping my grades up and participating in everything I normally would. My dad ended up having a procedure to remove his prostate in September, and everything went well. His 3-month recovery was difficult, but my entire family pitched in to make sure everything went as smoothly as possible. However, hospital and medical bills did pile up, forcing our family to budget extremely carefully and make some sacrifices.

Along with this, I will be the third person in my household to be enrolled in college in 2017. My brother is currently in college on the East Coast, my mother is getting her M.H.A., and I will be studying to get my Graphic Design BFA this coming fall. As one could imagine, putting another family member through college is financially stressful, especially considering what my dream school is. Chapman University has been my dream school since I was in elementary school, and a few days ago, I received an email notifying my that I had been accepted into Chapman University's Graphic Design BFA! As ecstatic as the reaction was from my family, my mom informed me that I should still keep my expectations realistic with the cost of Chapman's tuition. So, I went to work applying for scholarships, hence why I am applying to this one. My hope is to get money for college here and there, which will soon add up, propelling me toward committing to Chapman University. I also work part time as a dance teacher and receptionist at my dance studio, and have been saving money to help with tuition, along with my mother applying for jobs and internships to help our family financially.