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Hannah Schloesser
High School Student

Art School Portfolio


Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Clara Lieu
Art Prof & Partner

Artist Statement

“I am 18 and a senior at a high school in Germany, I will be graduating in July of this year. I plan on studying Fine Arts in the U.S. This has truly always been my dream and now I am going to realize it.

I would describe my relationship with art as deeply passionate. I can´t get enough of it and when I get the opportunity to learn a new technique or to try something new I take it all in, like a sponge. It`s not always easy to learn something new, but I have come to experience that it is very worth it -to push through the struggle.

I often get inspired by my environment, by things I read, the music I listen to and also the people I meet. I think an important part of making art is interacting with the environment and to then process the experienced through art. As you can see from my portfolio, I am fascinated with people. I especially love the faces and bodies of people who have been through a lot. I am in love with imperfections; I think they are what make a person interesting. That will show in the painting or the sketch and bring it to life.”

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Partial Video Transcript

“Hi Hannah, I’m going to take a look at your portfolio for college admission. What I’m going to do is start out with some general comments of your entire portfolio overall and then I’ll  go through and critique each piece individually.

What comes across right away in your portfolio is this incredible passion and dedication you have towards painting and drawing the human figure.I think what’s impressive about your figure pieces and also these hand drawings is that it’s quite clear to me that quite a lot of the pieces in your portfolio have been done from life. That’s so wonderful to see, so frequently when I look at portfolios, almost everything that has a figure in it has been copied from a photograph.

You have a self portrait that’s been done from a mirror. So I’m really excited to see that you have this commitment towards drawing from life. There does seem to be a range of that like images # 11, #1, and the portrait of Frida Kahlo I would say these are obviously drawn from photographs.

I would think about ways when you draw from a photograph to manipulate the image a lot further because your life drawings have so much energy and liveliness to them that by comparison the pieces that are created from photographs, they really stick out as sore thumbs.

You have to find a way to more dramatically change the image when you are creating a drawing from a photograph because that difference in the pieces in your portfolio is really startling. I think isn’t doing so well in terms of comparing one piece to another. Another thing that I found really interesting about your work is that your paintings are actually much looser than your drawings which usually is not the case.

Most of the time when I look at people’s drawings and paintings, people have a much easier time looser, a lot more gestural, much more spontaneous when they’re making a drawing and the tendency is for people to really tighten up when they start to paint. You’re actually the opposite. I would say that actually you are tighter and a lot more conservative when it comes to your drawings and really I see the experimentation and the boldness in your paintings.

For example, Image #2 I think has a really startling expression to it. You also have this portrait #17 which is very expressionistic and then for example in this self portrait image #3, you’re working with more daring color schemes. So that’s really wonderful to see that already at such an early age you have such a confident command with your brush work that’s very uncommon for me to be seeing.

I was also really happy  to see that you have an etching in here which is image #16. Printmaking is one of those mediums that just a lot of high school students don’t have experience with. Much less intaglio printmaking which includes techniques like sugar lift, aquatint, and etching so I’m really happy to see that. I would love to see more though. I think it would be great for you to get perhaps another one or two etchings in here so you can really show off a little bit more your expertise in that area.

Although you do have quite a few black and white pieces, the colored pieces are quite prominent in your portfolio. Frequently I see that students are afraid of color and they don’t want to use it in a really dramatic adventurous way. I think it’s clear when I look at images such as #4 and #8, that you are not shying away from color at all. I’m really glad to see that you’re really embracing it as a visual tool for your pieces.

Couple things to consider moving forward on developing your portfolio. The first thing is that your passion for figures and portraits is a curse and a blessing. I’m excited that you love the figure and portrait so much. However, you don’t want that to become a limitation and what I’m seeing in your portfolio is that you pretty much are only painting figures and portraits.”

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