What was your experience like going to CalArts?

What was your experience like going to CalArts?



Embarking On The Unfamiliar Journey

My voyage to CalArts wasn't just a geographical one. I left my comforting familiarity in the sun-soaked Sydney beaches, boarding a plane, my eyes trained on a new horizon. CalArts awaited on the other side of the ocean, an intriguing realm of creativity and possibilities. From the moment I set foot on the campus, I realized I had stepped into an altogether different world. A place that offered a transformative experience, swinging open the doors to profound intellectual, artistic, and personal growth.

Being a novice in a creative space, uncertainty clung to me. Sharing corridors with individuals sporting dyed hair, body art, jamming to indie music, I didn't know if I belonged. But, in retrospect, I realize those early apprehensions were a necessary part of the journey. The unfamiliarity catalyzed my evolution, urging me to propel out of my comfort zone, and enabled me to explore, experiment, and express without bounds.

Unwrapping The CalArts Culture

Fascination hit me hard as I started to unwrap the culture at CalArts. Creativity laced the very air of the campus. Vibrant murals, musical notes floating from practice rooms, huddles of students sketching on the lawns – there was art everywhere! The inevitable blend of cultures and diverse artistic expressions enriched my perspective, giving me a whole new way of viewing the world.

The community at CalArts was close-knit and supportive. I found friends who shared my passion, friends who continually challenged and inspired me. Evening jam sessions, impromptu art displays, weekend movie marathons - these shared experiences moved beyond mere fun. They became an important part of our learning journey – fostering collaboration, nourishing mutual respect, and complementing our academic growth in unique ways.

Shaping The Artist Within

CalArts knew no boundaries when it came to igniting creativity. The Curriculum offered a rich pallet for shaping the artist within me. Each course was an ensemble of in-depth knowledge, innovative practices, and insightful critique. Professors weren't just learned individuals, but seasoned practitioners who nurtured, guided, and, at times, picked our brains to get the best out of us.

My experience with the animation workshop stays particularly etched in my memory. As our professor unfolded the intricacies of creating movement, I found myself drawn into the mesmerizing world of animated story-telling. The course pushed me to my limits, opening my eyes to new ways of thinking; it blended my software skills with artistry to produce a harmonious mélange of technology and creativity.

Internships – The Testing Ground

Internships were the first testing ground for the skills and knowledge I had accumulated. While daunting at first, these real-world experiences became the stepping-stones paving my pathway into the professional world. Thanks to the partnerships CalArts has with industry giants, my transition from classroom training to studio work was smooth.

Through these internships, not only did I get a bite of the big apple of industry exposure, but I also had the opportunity to showcase my skills and learn from the seasoned maestros of the creative field. Internships proved to be a phenomenal platform to understand what employers sought, to refine my abilities accordingly, and to establish a network with professionals who would later serve as valuable resources in my career.

Emerging Triumphant And Transformed

The journey was strenuous, the learning curve steep. There were moments of self-doubt and stifling pressure. Times when I felt lost amidst countless artistic minds brimming with creativity. But emerging from those murky waters of uncertainty was part of the process. It was about learning, unlearning, and relearning, until I discovered my unique artistic voice. Therein laid the true magic of CalArts – It didn't shape us into artists, but instead, guided us into becoming our own unique, self-reliant creators.

By the time I graduated, I was not the same Alistair that had stepped off the plane years before. CalArts had shaped me into a confident, capable, creative professional ready to leave an indelible imprint on the world of art. Today, as a successful animator, every stroke that I create imbues the invaluable lessons ingrained at CalArts - a testament to the transformative journey I undertook at the institute.

Thirty Years Later, Still Grateful

Today, as I pen down my experiences, sitting thousands of miles away in sunny Sydney, the memories of my days at CalArts come rushing back. Memories of hardship, of laughter, of growth, and of wonderful friendships forged in the fires of creativity; each one a gem in the treasure trove of my journey. Years have passed, but the lessons learned at CalArts continue to guide my voyage into the artistic panorama.

The best part about my experience at CalArts was the remarkable journey of self-discovery it facilitated. It propelled me to delve deeper, to seek my truth, and to dare to paint the world with my unique colors. The unconventional education, the vibrant artistic culture, the supportive community, and the relentless pursuit of creativity - is what truly made my CalArts experience worth every minute!


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