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Vivian Kong
High School Student

Art School Admissions Portfolio


Alex Rowe, Illustrator & Children's Book Artist

Alex Rowe
Illustrator & Children’s Book Artist

Artist Statement
“I have been doing art for as long as I can remember. It has always dominated my life and been my passion. For me, art provides a gateway to freedom and expression.

Through any form of art, there is a deep layer of understanding between the artist and the audience or viewer. This opportunity for connection inspires me to generate that layer of unique understanding by creating art in a variety of forms. The complex messages that could only be sent visually motivates me to keep creating through a variety of media.

My overall creative process and intentions changed when I had my ‘artistic awakening’ (to quote myself) at a summer pre-college program where my attitude towards art, teamwork, and art education completely changed. There, I realized the elasticity the term ‘art’ provides, having very little boundaries for what qualifies as ‘art.’ That caused me to stop trying to think too hard about the “meaning” of the piece, but allow the piece to communicate something that words are unable to.

I generally have a loose idea of what I want my piece to be in terms of meaning and style, and develop the piece as I go.  In the long term, I hope to go to art school and pursue a career in animation, but whatever school I go to or what kind of career I may have is undetermined.”

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Partial Video Transcript

“Hey Vivian, my name’s Alex, I’m one of the Teaching Artists at Art Prof, and we’re going to be talking through your portfolio today. And how this is going to work, is I’m just going to run through your portfolio, and use your artist statement as a guide. What I got from it is that you’re really understanding what art means to you, and how you want to play your role into it, and you’re thinking about animation, but it sounds like it’s too early to tell.

It looks like there are similar parts to these sculptures, but with separate parts as well. These two made me think of how we’re going to divide this, which in images that are really you showing your style and your voice, and then images of you searching for your style and voice.

Now searching can come from playing around with different media, different settings, different styles. The key is that the exploratory ones, at the end of the day shouldn’t be in a final portfolio. As you’re going forward, and thinking about the ten to fifteen images within the portfolio to show either a gallery or a studio or something like that, you’re going to want to narrow down the best work.

In these guys, you’re showing some cool stuff. There’s an element here of twisting of the forms, and playing with the geometry, but at the end of the day, they’re so different from the rest of your work, that I would take from these, a list of what you like, and the things that you think you’re showing well as an artist. I would recreate them in an image that better suits your portfolio needs.

Now this one as well, it has similar to these two, but it has this attitude like an assignment driven art. When you compare this to the images, we’ll talk about later in your portfolio, this definitely reads as like a drawing assignment. Now that’s not to say there’s not wonderful ability, but you want to be thinking about, how to find in your portfolio to show exactly what you want, there’s some great cool things you’re doing.

What will come up later in your work as something you’re very very good at, which is getting the eye to travel throughout the piece, and really discover new areas with it every time you loop through. You’re drawn to that back left corner first , or I am because of that high contrast in that window. Because of the composition, how you’ve angled the objects, it weaves you around into the sheets, and it curves you around.

Now the big, black bag in the top center, that just stops you, so I would do something to change that around. Put something in front of it, work with it a little bit more to kinda make sure that it keeps your eyes flowing.

This is a beautiful painting. When you really zoom in and look at the details there, and how you’re creating space and depth with that, and the problem is it’s very similar to this last one where it’s showing a lot of the ability that you have, this one especially with color and space. But it’s not showing you’re character as an artist too much.

It’s showing you’re technical ability, but not that character. We get to the end of this, and we’re looking at your work that really reads as your personal feeling, finding ways to show this technical ability in some of those images, I think that’s when you’re going to be right on the money.

In your artist statement, you were talking about how you weren’t sure you’re thinking animation, but as you say, who knows where it will lead, that’s how you kind of fine tune and focus on this. You’ll start by mixing your technique, what you feel as an artist you want to convey, and that’s how you’re going to find your, let’s say, purpose as an artist. It sounds very lofty to say, but that’s how you do it.

You find the work you want to make with what the world needs from you, and that’s how you find the harmony between those. This one is, it’s alright but it’s so different from the rest of the images in the portfolio, so there’s good qualities to it, but it just reads as like, a play, as an experimentation. Not to say that those aren’t valuable. Those aren’t valuable in a portfolio.

Take what you learn from these, and then you bring them forward. That being said, it is the most charming little dog robot I’ve ever seen, and I’m in love with him. These are exactly what I was talking about with these other pieces. Compare these to sculptures with the first two sculptures we talked about.”

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