Ensba Paris


February 1st to 31st May 2008
Erasmus supported exchange.

The Ecole National Superior des Beaux Arts, or "the BeauxArts" is a special place. What a fantastic opportunity to study here for a semester. It is a very old school indeed and completely different to WSA.

The emphasis is on the individual to negotiate with the Professors, all for the most part internationally renowned artists like Werner Bouwens, Claude Closky, Annette Messager, Anne Rochette, Richard Deacon to name but a few, to work in their ateliers.

It is necessary to be very self motivated. No one will check on you if you do not show up for classes and you have to allow longer than you think to talk to people and get appointments with the Professors. It took me 3 weeks of the exchange to get signed up for my classes and for a place in an atelier. It is not easy, you have to be determined.

There is also a strong emphasis on learning of craft/techniques. ENSBA is one of the few schools in the world still teaching Fresco and Mosaic, for example. The school buildings couldn't be more different from WSA either, all ancient historical buildings in various states of disrepair or restoration, littered with the bric a brac from centuries of artistic activity and broken classical sculpture. During my exchange the place has been over run with builders and scaffolding, but health and safety has a more realistic approach in France and the normal occupants and activities within the buildings just carry on as usual around all the chaos.

Elementary French language skills are essential for getting the most out of the exchange here, although non Francophones receive French lessons as their theory unit.

And, it all happens in Paris, the most beautiful city in Europe. I was really lucky in finding accommodation in renting the flat of the exchange student coming to WSA, but many of the international exchangers had a bit of trouble finding somewhere. Life here in Paris is as expensive as you let it be, but if you want to have fun then budget carefully, it is expensive.



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