personal statement
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Tag: personal statement

Grad School Personal Statement

by on Jan.28, 2006, under Blog

I am an artist whose main strength is versatility in digital media. I have fulfilled many requests for fan-made game title screens, learning how to fit a coherent concept in a scant 320×240 pixels and 256 colors. I especially enjoy creating art that features processed text as a texture element. I have three times attempted to write a 50,000- word novel in 30 days. Once I succeeded with a young adult adventure novel of 50,721 words; the other times I failed at 11,325 and 25,462 words respectively. I have written notebooks of poetry, including free verse, chants, and the lyrics to a pop song. I originally taught myself how to compose so I could write a pop song for those lyrics, and so I could write background music for a game concept I was working on. I have since composed several other soundtracks and taken courses in music theory.

I am a programmer as well as an artist. I am fluent in C++ and Python, and am familiar with Java, PHP, SML, SQL, as well as with the OpenGL and SDL libraries. I have created a MIDI visualizer and a system for creating visual music. I’ve helped create a simple 3D puzzle game, as well as a 2D side-scrolling shooter where I was responsible for the graphics, music, and game balance.

I am a largely self-taught composer, and this experience showed me how critical good tools can be. I’ve always wanted to compose music, and when I found musical composition software, I seized the opportunity. My first compositions were about what you would expect from a beginner. With much trial and error, my work slowly improved. Using the computer enabled me to instantly hear my compositions and make changes, helping me develop my musical sense. The instant feedback kindled my desire to learn more about the underlying principles of music.

I believe that interactivity–essentially, instant feedback- -is the most important quality of computer-aided media, and that interactivity has enormous educational power. This belief stems largely from the ideas of Chris Crawford, who took an interest in me and became a mentor of sorts. Our conversations made me think seriously about pursuing a career in which I could take advantage of my strengths in both the arts and the sciences.

What most interests me about computers is their potential use for self-expression. They provide tools simple enough for novices to use, but with features that enable masters to create great works of art. The most important feature of computers is how they make it easy for ordinary people to create things. I want to make tools that lower the barriers to creation even further.

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