BFA Art School Portfolio Critique

Art Prof Clara Lieu critiques an art school portfolio by high school student Natalia Alvarez, providing a detailed critique of the overall portfolio, followed by critiques for each individual artwork.

Prof Lieu highlights what aspects of the entire portfolio and artworks are working well, and recommends concrete strategies for how to make progress.

Featured Artist

Natalia Alvarez 

“I am currently applying to an Illustration BFA. I’m a self taught artist inspired by nature, meditation, the philosophy behind different religions, psychology and dreams. The surrealism of life and its different manifestations fascinates me, as do metaphors that represent this phenomenon. 

I was born in the United States, then lived in London for 6 years, and after that I moved to my current home, Mexico City. I hold on to my childhood in England tightly, for it shaped who I am and my search for meaning. The value placed on intellectual activities, imagination and creativity made me a curious being. When I came to Mexico I experienced lots of confusion and anger. I wanted to return home, to my childhood. 

So I started to make art in the form of paintings, poetry and I also started my spiritual practice which has challenged me in many ways. I value dreams deeply and I keep a dream journal. The narratives that this subconscious world expresses is my main inspiration for creating any kind of art. 

I worry my portfolio lacks technical ability, a common theme and representation of Mexican culture. My way of brainstorming is purely verbal and I think maybe that isn’t helping the brainstorming process, I have so many ideas, but I struggle to make them into a reality because they are just so saturated and fantastical. My short term goals would be to get into art school and develop my abilities so my mind can manifest itself into a physical plain. 

And in the long run, I would like to write and illustrate books, or have any job that would let me help people discover their inner spirit and to connect with their dreams. Just like a child would. I want to make little kids excited to read, and to feel that same emotion of wonder and thrill whenever their parents read them a bedtime story, just as my mother did for me.”

Natalia Alvarez 

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Clara Lieu