Essay Cove

Essay Cove


  • Requirements

    • 1500 words
    • Save your essay as a .DOCX file
    • Include three (or more) references to books, articles, websites, or other published sources.
    • Use Chicago or MLA citations (footnotes or parenthetical)
    • The work must be a digital work of art (relies on digital technology for its production or distribution).
    • must provide a link to artwork 

How to Structure Your Essay

This might look formulaic, but there are some essential things I want you to write about. We’re practicing a form of art criticism called a formal analysis, where we write about what the artwork means and why it’s interesting, but we base those conclusions on descriptions of the form of the artwork. Do not include section titles like “Description” just write a cohesive essay.

  1. Introduction (one paragraph)
    • Introduce us to the work in an engaging hook. This could focus on the appearance or design of the work, or about the conceptual premise, context, or whatever it is that interests you about the work.
    • Include the title of the work, the artist’s name and the year it was produced. Geographical or site-specifc information may be relevant too.
  2. Description (1-2 paragraphs)
    • Include a vivid description of the work’s visual appearance or experiential details (use lots of adjectives!). Imagine the reader has not seen the work in question. Your job is to get them up to speed so they can follow your analysis later.
    • This might overlap with your introduction.
  3. Analysis (the bulk of the essay)
    • Once you’ve described the work, you can dig into the nuances of what it means, why it’s important, or how it came to be.
    • What signs can you unpack according to Barthe’s semiotic theory? What does the imagery mean, or why exactly did the artist design it they way they did?
    • You may reference existing writing about the work or writing from the artist(s) with proper citations, but you should also be providing your interpretation. I want you to speculate about why aesthetic choices were made, and give us your judgment backed up with evidence from your description.
    • Is the work successful? Problematic? You can write about a work that you don’t likeas long as you have something worthwhile and interesting to say about it.
  4. Comparison (1-2 paragraphs)
    • This is part of the analysis and can be inserted anywhere, but I’d like you to write about one other artwork or creative design that relates to your analysis (by a different artist or designer). Mention the essential info about this work (artist, title, year) and provide a brief description so we know what you’re talking about, but the goal is to use this second artwork to support your main argument or to highlight a contrast with the primary artwork.
  5. Conclusion (one paragraph)
    • Summarize the main points of your analysis and your thesis (main takeaway or the essential meaning of the work).
    • Zoom out and consider the artwork within the larger world, what is interesting for us to think about when we stop reading?

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