High School Student
Liberal Arts College, Supplementary Art Portfolio
“I am a senior at a boarding school in Massachusetts. I have been taking painting and drawing classes for four years. I love visual art, and pursue it in other areas of my life; I am a primary illustrator for my school newspaper and I volunteer in a local art outreach program.
My primary goal for this critique is to give me ideas about how to reinvigorate my practice. I sometimes find myself falling into a period of time when I repeat the same techniques for months, and stop trying new things for lack of time or resources. As for my long term future as an artist, I’m not sure where I’ll end up. I’m starting a printmaking class this term and will continue with AP Studio Art in the spring.
I’d like to have some suggestions for new things to try that I might enjoy, so that I can continue to grow as an artist independently, outside of classes! I would not like to have my acceptance chances for art school evaluated; rather, just as a portfolio submitted as a supplement to a liberal arts university. I am not applying for visual arts programs because I want to explore other interests and nurture my love of art through support and community outreach.Purchase a portfolio critique
Partial Video Transcript
“Hi Marie, this is Eloise. I’m going to be reviewing your portfolio today. I’m going to start by making some general comments about your portfolio, and then I’ll go through the individual pieces and tell you my thoughts about those.
I saw from your statement that you’re mainly interested in suggestions for improving your practice independently of an art program, and that you’re intending to use the application to supplement a liberal arts portfolio. So, I kept that in mind with my evaluation.
This is an incredibly diverse portfolio. It’s really great to see your willingness to experiment with so many different kinds of media, and your openness to try different techniques and visual styles. It’s clear that you have a great of deal pride in your calligraphy, which you should, and it’s really lovely to see that thread of interest represented in a variety of places in your work. From front and center instances of pieces like eleven and twelve, or incorporated into the background of an animation, like with number seventeen here.
So this is just a nice thread of consistency. I do sense that you’re much more comfortable working on a flat, stylized plane, like in calligraphy, as opposed to scenes that incorporate space and scenery. Overall, your compositions feel a little flat and I’d love to see you challenge yourself to include more of a space around your subjects.
Many of your figures are sort of floating in an unarticulated space, or we only see their immediate surroundings without any context. In four, for example, you’ve put flowers in the space around our heroine but because they are all relatively close to her spatially, it doesn’t give me a sense of place, just this tiny detailed patch of it.
In many cases something as basic as including a shaded gradient in the background would do a lot to flush out the three dimensional sense of space. The main exception to this lack of setting would be number seven, which is a collage landscape, and number seventeen, which is a piece you challenged yourself on in several ways, which is awesome in and of itself. I feel seven lacks a subject which I’ll talk about more later, and with seventeen, I can still tell you are uncertain with perspective.
I suggest doing some practice of these landscapes and rooms and architecture in general, to practice situating objects in relation to one another, and really getting a feel for how those shapes all fit together. Probably the most successful piece in your portfolio when it comes to perspective and groupings of objects is number five, where you create a landscape of sorts out of the contents in your bag.
I would love to see you make a couple more of these still lives. Moving on, I think you have a great sense of detail and a great love for patterns and textures. Nine and ten are really satisfying to examine because there is a richness to the mark making and a diversity to the techniques and geometric shapes within each piece.
You want to make sure your work is pleasing on both the micro and the macro scale. Is this piece as interesting when you step away from it as when you move in close. Another sense I get from this portfolio overall is that you’re uncomfortable rendering the human body, and in particular the face.
I get this feeling just because of the number of pieces that are represented here where you only show the back of the head, or like the back of the head again here, or the front face obscured by something, like a hand or only in partial view. I think that you should try doing more studies from life, like with number 8, and doing those studies capturing both the full body as well as some studies with the face.”