Evolution of an AP Art Portfolio

by Rachel Woosun Kim, Grade 12

The AP studio art course is different from regular art courses in several ways. Unlike regular art courses, it consists of three portfolios to submit to the College Board. That is not the only difference. AP studio art is divided into three big categories; 2-D design, 3-D design, and drawing. Each student is recommended to choose one of the categories. Each portfolio is divided into three section; breadth, concentration, and quality. The breadth part requires the students to show the ability to use various materials and handle various subjects. The concentration aspect is where the students choose a single subject and show the development of the idea throughout the 12 pieces. Then quality is judged based on five of your best pieces, which you send to the College Board.

I chose to do 2-D design as my portfolio. I took the course for two years and for my first year, I mostly concentrated on creating pieces for my breadth. In class, students are given more freedom to choose the medium or subject, which allows the students to experiment with their ideas and find the best medium that suits them. This advantage allowed me to be more creative in my work. In my opinion, the most challenging part of AP studio art is the concentration portfolio. It not only requires many pieces, but also needs to show progression in each drawing.

My concentration topic was the eye. My first motivation for choosing the subject was the alienation between the actual eye and the thinking that goes on behind the eyeball. Then I developed it into the idea of supervision, which came at about my 4th piece. As my ideas progressed, even the shape of my pieces changed. For example, one of my pieces that show the inside of the eyeball was drawn on a partially round paper, instead of a rectangular one.

Another turning point was when I decided to focus on the exterior of the eye, instead of the interior. I wanted to show something about assistance for the eyes, such as makeup, glasses, lens, sunglasses, goggles, etc. In various ways, I tried to show different aspects that are related to my subject. Although my first concentration piece was about alienation of the eye, my last concentration piece was assistance the eyes get. I thought about the idea for my concentration as I progressed.

AP studio art definitely is more challenging and time-pressured compared to a regular art course; however, it is a course worth taking. The course allows you to experience different aspects of the art course and allows you to be freer.


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