We’re a groundbreaking low-residency Masters program at The School of Visual Arts in NYC. Our core is story. What sets us apart is that we value the craft of writing and visual arts equally. We’re a community of diverse professionals, dedicated to elevating our students and their stories.

FIND YOUR STORY. THEY FOUND THEIRS . . . 

Michelle Nahmad: I was studying design and illustration before discovering the MFA Visual Narrative program. I often felt on the outskirts of any comfortable identification in one role, always wanting to experiment further and have more agency in creating content. The idea that narrative could be the focus of a program, allowing for flexibility in medium and format to best suit a particular story, was particularly exciting. This program gave me a space where experimentation was not only encouraged, but expected and nurtured. In fact, it’s still pushing me beyond much of what I’d become comfortable with, for the better. Finding my story will be a continuous work in progress, but I’m thankful for the tools and inspiring faculty and peers that I’ve gained through this program.  

FINAL_Michelle Nahmad

Ryan Ansel: The most difficult thing as an artist/writer is to define a personal style and voice. Something that someone else recognizes as ‘yours.’ MFA Visual Narrative encouraged me to explore and take chances in my work. Not to be the next Hemingway, Picasso, or Nathan Fox, but the first Ryan Ansel. And that’s exactly what it has done for me. I have found confidence in my marks and in my words, trusting my instincts, knowing every choice counts.

Working as an Associate Professor, I’ve brought the same lessons to my students. Encouraging them to take their own risks, defining their styles through exploring their personal story. The growth has been exponential.

The best part of this journey so far, isn’t simply knowing that I’ve been a part of and influenced the stories of several others, but rather the realization that it is merely the beginning

Ryan Ansel Find Your Story

 


Alex Barsky: As a storyteller that likes to create work with a lot of different media, choosing the Visual Narrative program for my graduate degree was a great fit.  I want to concentrate on animation, but I still want to experiment with comics, picture books, and printmaking.  I’m currently under the guidance of Jim Rugg and Mark Sable who are both really thoughtful and push me to think about story more structurally.  My biggest inspiration in the program so far has been my classmates.  I’m fortunate to have an awesome group of peers who push me to work hard and think creatively.

Alex-Barsky

 


Ella Romero: I wish I could remember how I first found out about MFAVN, because I bet it involved angels singing. I majored in art history but studying and writing about others’ work was less of a career path than inspiration for my own work, which had been firmly hobby-zoned. Professional options were either to work with words or images, and it never felt right for me to split the two. Enter MFAVN, a haven for storytellers. Defining “storytelling” broadly is key; this program understands that it is a basic human need, and the ways to achieve it vary as wildly as the effects it has on both creator and audience. I cannot fully experience art and writing passively or alone anymore. Storytelling is about sharing experiences: translating your own into something with which anyone else can engage, and seeing what someone else saw. It can be overwhelming, but MFAVN has my comfort zone under constant, benevolent siege, and it will never be as small.

FINAL_Ella+Romera

 Thomas SlatteryThe Visual Narrative program has given me a place to refine what it is that makes me an artist. I’ve simultaneously broadened my skill set and focused my vision, learning to use narrative as the framework in my creative process. Viewing story as the beating heart of all of my work allows me to cut to the core of what I’m creating and why. I think that mostly, I’ve come to understand that a story can be told in an infinite number of ways, spanning various media and styles, and that there’s no need to limit a narrative that demands to be told bigger.FINAL_Thomas-Slattery1

Bill Wehmann: I decided to attend the MFA Visual Narrative program because I wanted to strengthen both my drawing and writing skills. What I have found since I started this program is that neither of these skills mean anything on their own unless they are being utilized to effectively communicate what you want to say to your audience.  A drawing can be immaculately rendered, but if it does not connect with the audience the way you want it to, it doesn’t have much value. Since beginning this program, I’ve started to think of myself more as a storyteller, not an illustrator or a (still learning!) writer. I’ve begun to see these skills not as separate practices, but more as tools that when combined can best help me tell effective stories.
Bill-Wehmann

Shannon OertleWhen I was seven, I wanted to be a writer. When I was eight, I was going to be a painter. When I was nine, I found my mother’s old Minolta camera and realized I could be all of those things. I was going to be an artist. To understand how to be a storyteller, you first have to understand your own story. That was what I had come to discover my first summer in New York. The Visual Narrative program is a hybrid of writing, psychology, history, and visual creation in any medium you can think of. You learn as much about yourself and your classmates as you do your characters. You will never look at advertising, film, comic books, children’s books and journalism the same way again. It’s a transformative experience to say the least.


Shannon_Highres

To learn more about our groundbreaking low-residency program with an innovative approach to visual narrative, click here.

Tell your story! Fill out this questionnaire, choose your favorite answer and give it a visual. Your work could appear on this page, too! All entrants receive a prize.