While most AP students spend the end of the school year armed with flashcards and crash course reviews, some CCHS seniors have been cramming for their exam in a different way. Paintbrushes and sketchbooks in hand, AP Studio Art students are preparing to submit their portfolios.
Paintbrushes and sketchbooks in hand, AP Studio Art students are preparing to submit their portfolios.
The AP Art portfolios are 24 pieces of artwork, fitting into two sections: the Breadth section and the Concentration section. The Breadth section is meant to exhibit a wide variety of mediums, colors and styles in order to show a comprehensive understanding of many different types of art and media. The Concentration section, however, is meant to display a particular, specific visual idea. While each piece of art is creative and important to the artist, the Concentration section of the portfolio is where many students express themselves in the most meaningful and significant way. Here are the ways that some AP Art students have approached their concentrations to express what is powerful and important to them.
Moira Kelly’s concentration is about discovering her beauty through art, stemming from her determination to overcome her fear of self-portraits. Kelly’s discontent with her appearance caused an unwillingness to present herself through art, out of a fear of facing her own insecurities. Pushed by art teacher, Mrs. Barr, Kelly began to dive into self-portraits, finding art and beauty in places that were once a source of insecurity. One of the pieces, featured at the Art and Culture Center in Hollywood, emphasizes parts of Kelly’s appearance that she doesn’t like. Done in a pop art inspired style, the piece accentuates Kelly’s glasses in a way that is uniquely beautiful. Overall, the portfolio features graphic pieces with bold lines and graffiti-type styles.
“My portfolio is well into the journey of discovering the beauty in myself through art,” Kelly said. “I’m really proud of how far I’ve come as an artist and as a person through doing these pieces.”
Pushed by art teacher, Mrs. Barr, Kelly began to dive into self-portraits, finding art and beauty in places that were once a source of insecurity.
This concentration digs deep into the topic of recovery. This arduous, belittling process that many people face in their day to day lives is defined by ‘returning back to a normal state/being.’ Decker has reimagined this definition, focusing her portfolio on the transformation, change and renewal that comes with recovery, rather than a return to normalcy. Since recovery is so diverse among so many people, her pieces represent all sorts of stages, types and colors of rehabilitation. It includes drug abuse, alcoholism, eating disorders, mental disorders, loss of a loved one, physical challenges and more. Some pieces represent the anxiety-inducing aspects of fighting for a better state of life. In contrast, some represent the power-inducing side of recovery that encourages the individual as they surmount their struggles. Decker uses a difference in texture and contour brews in order to demonstrate the opposing aspects of recovering in many of her pieces.
Some pieces represent the anxiety-inducing aspects of fighting for a better state of life. In contrast, some represent the power-inducing side of recovery that encourages the individual as they surmount their struggles.
“I was completely inspired by close friends and loved ones who show me unimaginable strengths every single day: an uncle with alcohol issues, a father with drug habits, a friend with an eating disorder, a loved one going through a loss,” Decker said. “Illustrating the unnerving, burdensome struggles in life makes those struggles seem smaller and smaller as each project is finished.”
This portfolio’s Concentration centers around showing the darker, more broken sides of people. It explores topics such as self-destruction, depression and anxiety in a way that Khan perceives to be real- untouched by a culture that tends to glorify such topics. Each piece shows the unhealthy ways that those who are struggling tend to cope with reality, focusing on the way that the lines between good and bad seem to blur when mental illness and pain are involved. Khan also focuses on how this can get in the way of one’s own dreams and desires. Some pieces are inspired by surrealism, featuring a wide variety of mediums and artistic techniques. The hodgepodge appearance of these pieces can represent a variety of topics, including identity crises, anxiety and feelings of uncertainty. This portfolio was inspired by Khan’s own struggles as a way to overcome what she feels has been keeping her back from her goals.
Each piece shows the unhealthy ways that those who are struggling tend to cope with reality, focusing on the way that the lines between good and bad seem to blur when mental illness and pain are involved.
“Having the ability to creatively express myself and put it all out into the world, in the form of art, helped me open up to the people that I love,” Khan said. “It was a way to make something good come out of difficult times.”
This Concentration is meant to represent human interaction with nature through geodes, with each piece showing various aspects of human nature. For example, the unique complexity of geodes mirrors the complexity of the human experience. Geodes also serve to represent the result of pressure on humans in many of the pieces, as they are created through intense pressure, yet the result is beauty. Turk’s art shows the way that humans undergo this metamorphosis. People are constantly changing and evolving as individuals, and under stress and pressure, an intense growth can occur. In each piece, there is a specific theme to correspond with a plant that goes with the geode, with each color scheme carefully selected to encourage a specific emotion. This Concentration was inspired by Turk’s love for nature and her desire to delve deep into the human experience, representing these themes in a unique but beautiful way.
Turk’s art shows the way that humans undergo this metamorphosis. People are constantly changing and evolving as individuals, and under stress and pressure, an intense growth can occur.
“As a student, I am under constant stress and I can directly relate this to geodes,” Turk said. “I feel lots of pressure as there is little time left to think of who I am as a person and evolve into adulthood. That is what my concentration comes from.”
Photo by Sarah Khan