Rolando AlcantaraMICA, Class of 2012
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a medical doctor. My mom, one of seven doctors in the family, was a med-school professor, radiologist at the family clinic, and full-time single mom. She came home every day with a smile on her face to take care of my sister and I while she continued her work from home. She was overworked and underpaid, but loved every minute of it. “It” being her passion of helping people – a passion which soon became mine as well.
Neither art school nor graphic design ever crossed my mind as I focused on graduating from high school and applying to medical schools around the country. I aced my admission tests, and although I was accepted to some of the most prestigious schools in Mexico, where I was born and raised, my family and I opted for an American university due to Financial necessity and broader opportunity.
Not until my sophomore year at Abilene Christian University did I doubt my calling to the medical Field. One night, after hours of studying for my biology midterm, I stumbled upon a chapter that changed my life forever; it was about aesthetics in the natural world, the Fibonacci Sequence and Golden Mean present in human anatomy. I was enthralled – devoured the chapter and continued with research online, making up my mind to change my major and pursue a degree in the realm of arts.
During this time, I fell in love with print media, typography, digital graphics, printmaking, sculpture, illustration, animation, art history, and everything the art department had to offer. Art and design became my passion, my life. Art History classes were my new biology, design classes my new physics labs, and gestalt achievement my new chemistry for problem solving. I had a very short time to get my feet wet in the department, so I dove right in. I audited as many classes as I could, got a job in the department as a graphic designer, participated in as many artistic productions and shows as possible, and freelanced my abilities for free just to have extra projects to add to my graduating portfolio.
My interests in the realm of design are many, but I would like to focus particularly in the psychologybehind aesthetics – primarily how our sensibilities to good composition in any art form could arguably be traced back to the evolutionary mystery of our appreciation for aesthetics in the natural world. I would also like to deepen my understanding in how written messages are directly and distinctly affected by the visual cues around them – something I like to call “Visual Semantics.” Ultimately, I would like to research and work these subjects up to a graduating thesis; however, I believe that the contextual research and study of these are in equal importance to design work and active experimentation during the program.
As to my passion and dream of helping others, this is quickly Finding its foundation in the realm of artistic expression in marvelous ways – from designing for world missions organizations, to freelancing for local non-proFits. However, I wish to build a stronger appreciation for design and develop my artistic skills to, ultimately, follow in my mother’s footsteps as a college-level professor.
Few schools call out to me as “dream schools” in which I can foresee my passions and interests in research and active projects correlating with the MFA program’s direction. However, MICA is the reality in which this dream can be accomplished. I’ve heard and read much about MICA, every design magazine and publication that strives to be at the vanguard of artistic expression knows the name very well. It was almost muscle memory thinking about MICA’s MFA program in graphic design when I decided continuing education, not only because I admire the designers that have graduated from the program, but the writings and publications of such experienced and notorious designers as Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips have helped mold my career and identity as a designer since day one. I would be greatly excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the new MICA graduate family, and not only study design alongside them, but shape it as well