Skip to main content

High School Student

Art School Admissions Portfolio


Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Clara Lieu
Art Prof & Partner

Artist Statement
For years I struggled to find that missing piece. Heeding my elders’ mandate to center my life around academic pursuits, I dabbled in introductory biology, partaken in philosophical discussions on Shakespearean sonnets and surveyed the complexities of the Spanish language.

But nothing I tried can fill that ever-present void in my life. Instead, I dealt with the pressure of fitting into a mold not meant for me. In the midst of the chaos, the only seemingly stabilizing moments are when I drew out my emotions past 2 a.m. on a Moleskine sketchbook. Caught between the looming mountains of parental expectations on one side, and the vast skies of my creative potential on the other, sketching when I am ‘not supposed to’ is the only time that I felt at ease. It’s the hours upon hours I spent honing my craft.

The delight I brought to viewers as I proudly displayed my work. The inspiration I spread to younger aspiring artists in my community and beyond. It all culminates in an obvious epiphany: art is my legacy, the cornerstone and pedestal of my existence.”

3 responses on "Art School Portfolio Critique"

  1. Your portfolio displays some really excellent skills in rendering and control. You’ve got a well rounded array of mediums and subject matter, so already you’re one step ahead of the game and will probably have some great portfolio reviews with the schools that you’re interested in.

    My two favorite pieces are the fabric still lifes you’ve put together. Not only does it show that you can construct an interesting still life, but also, it shows that you have potential to work in other ways besides realism. Your color sensibility is good, and I can see you toying with shapes and pattern. I think this could be expanded upon to give your portfolio more variety.

    You seem to be a bit awkward working your way into the expressiveness of paint when you’re just trying to pull things from your head, as seen in your self portrait with paint. If you can construct as much as you can either in thumbnails or in a still life ahead of time, you can pull these motifs into your final painting. You might even find it useful to create paint or charcoal swatches of many different marks and techniques that you can refer to later.

  2. All of your work is so expertly rendered and vivid, I would really encourage you to pursue more surreal work like the piece with the black background and blue-skinned figure – where that high level of naturalism could really provide some truly bizarre images with the necessary grounding and credibility. In that painting, in particular, I also love your use of positive and negative space… It’s not your best composition, but I see you experimenting there in a way that isn’t as apparent in many of your other pieces.

    Speaking about this collection of work purely as an art school portfolio, you have such an incredible range and expert grasp on so many different types of media that anyone should be impressed by what you’ve achieved. Great job!

  3. Wow! Right off the bat, I notice that your portfolio has great diversity in materials and processes, which is fantastic! You also have a great range of subject matter!

    All your pieces are extremely well-considered, and seem to be fully resolved. This is great, but I would actually love to see you let loose a bit more! I think allowing yourself to be a bit more fluid, a bit less meticulous and more experimental can push some of your pieces further. For example, the piece with the figure (possibly a dancer) jumping, with lines coming out of their body, is one where I’m craving for you to go a bit crazy! I see that you’re attempting to make these really exciting and energetic marks, but I think the desire to create a well-rendered body is preventing that from being fully realized! Try caring less about making the body so obvious, and rather focus on how these crazy work with the body to deliver your message! Perhaps making sure we see the body is less important that showing us the energy this body is full of!

    This is an exceptional portfolio! I think pushing yourself to work in different ways, experiment more, and allowing yourself to be a bit messy could open some new and exciting doors!

Leave a Message

© 2021 ArtProf. All rights reserved. Site Disclaimer.