Whether you’re already at school, looking to find a new school or even considering moving overseas to study, nothing beats hearing from the students themselves! We speak to Winnie Mai, a 2d and 3d artist, specialising in Visual Development, Illustration, Modeling, and Texturing, about the ins and outs of studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

School of Visual Arts
A multidisciplinary college of art and design known for its unparalleled faculty and innovative curriculum.

The Specifics

What’s the name of your school?

School of Visual Arts.

What’s the name of the neighbourhood?

Flatiron District.

Closest train station or public transport option?

F Train on the Subway.

How long have you been there?

Since Sept. 2018

Why did you choose to study here?

SVA is in NYC which is where I’m from. NYC is so full of life and culture. I love the fact that I can visit Times Square, take the subway to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, take a stroll through Central Park, take a bus to Chinatown, and then go to my favourite pizza place in Brooklyn all in one day.

There are also a bunch of amazing alumni from SVA that have inspired me and are the reasons why I decided to join the Computer Art department at SVA. When you roam the hallways, you’ll see their names hanging next to the poster of the feature films they have worked on. It’s so inspiring to see how many talented people came out of SVA.

The Scene

The first thing you see when you walk outside your school?

Dogs! There’s so many cute dogs in the neighbourhood.

The closest shop to outside your school is:

Davinci Artist Supply Store. It’s right across the street from our school building. I’ve spent a lot of time there just playing with the different art supplies.

Your school is great, but you wouldn't mind a bit less:

I wouldn’t mind less crowds. Coming out of a crowded subway to a crowd of speed walking New Yorkers is a bit tiresome.

The unofficial uniform of your school is:

Hoodies that we can pull over our heads while we take a nap in the computer labs.

A mandatory stop for anyone new to your city:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a great place to stop at. It’s free for students and the perfect place to just sketch and admire art throughout history. You’re also guaranteed to bump into a fellow art student.

A common myth about your school is:

People think SVA is primarily a 2d school, but our 3d department is growing every year. One of the recent senior thesis films, “Hamsa”, won a student academy award this year!

A massive night out for students at your school is likely to be:

A party at someone’s dorm or apartment, followed by a movie screening at our school theatre, then a night stroll at the pier with a burrito in our pocket, and then finally back to the computer labs to work.

The Superlatives

You won’t find a better place to eat than at:  

Matto! It’s my favourite cafe to go to during a school day. Everything is two dollars which is perfect for a student on a budget. I love the omelet croissant, and the granola bar is my go to breakfast when I’m in a rush.

The strangest thing you’ve ever seen at your school is:

Tutu the Turkey. A student was found stowing away a turkey on campus. The turkey was bought by the student from a slaughterhouse with the intent of saving it, and promptly named "Tutu". She has since been rescued and currently resides at a bird sanctuary on the Upper West Side.

One thing you’d never change about your school is:

The people. There are so many amazing, generous people at my school that go out of their way to help each other out. That kind of positive influence keeps getting passed down to the next generation of students. I’ve learned so much from former upperclassmen and now I’m filling in their shoes and doing what I can to mentor current underclassmen.

The staff in my department are great too. They’re always trying to find ways to give students more access to programs, workshops, opportunities, and the industry.

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing changed is:

The tuition. Tuition for art schools is getting higher and higher every year and student debt is a huge problem in the United States.

Someone gives you $1M to pimp out your school. You use it to:

I would use the money to open up more computer labs and to create a bigger, more accessible renderfarm. I’m glad my department seems to be getting bigger and more popular every year, but it’s making it harder to find an open computer in the labs. It also makes it harder to gain access to the renderfarm because it fills up quickly.  

You can find more of Winnie's art on Instagram and her personal website.

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