Ap Art Portfolio Concentration Essay

AP ART Concentration:

The following excerpt comes from the AP course description Handbook:

A concentration is a body of related works that demonstrate a student’s commitment
to the thoughtful investigation of a specific visual idea. It is NOT a selection of a variety of works produced as solutions to class projects or a collection of works with  differing intents. Students should be encouraged to explore a personal, central interest as intensively as possible; they are free to work with any idea in any medium that addresses two-dimensional design issues . The  concentration should grow out of the student’s idea and demonstrate growth and discovery through a number of conceptually related works . In this section, the evaluators are interested not only in the work presented but also in visual evidence of the student’s thinking, selected method of working and development of the work over time .

Examples of Concentrations:
A concentration should consist of a group of works that share a concept — for
example, an in-depth study of a particular visual problem or a variety of ways of
handling an interesting subject . Some concentrations involve sequential works, such
as a series of studies that lead to, and are followed by, more finished works . If a
student uses subject matter as the basis of a concentration, the work should show the
development of a visual language appropriate for that subject . The investigation of a
medium in and of itself, without a strong underlying visual idea, generally does not
constitute a successful concentration. Students should not submit group projects,
collaborations and/or documentation of projects that merely require an extended
period of time to complete .

The list of possible concentration topics is infinite . Below are examples of
concentrations . They are intended only to provide a sense of range and should not
necessarily be considered “better” ideas .
• An exploration of patterns and designs found in nature and/or culture
• A series of works that begins with representational interpretations and evolves
into abstraction
• A series of landscapes based upon personal experience of a particular place in
which composition and light are used to intensify artistic expression
• Design and execution of pages for a book or graphic novel
• Development of a series of identity products (logo, letterhead, signage, and so
on) for imaginary businesses
• A series of political cartoons using current events and images
• Abstractions developed from cells and other microscopic images
• Interpretive portraiture or figure studies that emphasize dramatic composition
or abstraction
• A personal or family history communicated through symbols or imagery
• A series of fabric designs, apparel designs or weavings used to express
particular themes
© 2011 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org.

You will be required to complete 2 pieces of writing that will accompany your portfolio submission to the College Board.

1. Clearly and simply state the central idea of your concentration . ( 500 characters maximum) This is what is due on Tues Nov 21

2 . Explain how the work in your concentration demonstrates your intent and the exploration of your idea . You may refer to specific images as examples . (1350 Character Maximum) This will be written after you complete your Concentration.

Clarity is key- use the simplest most direct language to make your points.

***Your initial concentration write up should describe the idea you intend to explore and some possible directions you may take the work in. ( Describe what you plan to do) The initial write up can be seen as a a map that provides a starting point and a general direction that you will follow.

Eventually this write up will be restructured to be used as the written commentary which must accompany the work in your portfolio. It should describe what the concentration is and how it evolved . (Edit to describe what you actually did)

Start by looking for inspiration and brainstorming and then write a paragraph that contains the following information:

-Idea, themes or concepts you plan to explore.

-Content possibilities. (specific in terms of what is in the picture)

-Materials you plan on using.

-Some possible ways the work may evolve. Describe at least two specific ideas for works you plan to start with.

** Remember to keep your idea broad enough to evolve into twelve pieces but not so broad that theme is not evident when viewing the work.

Here is a link to some samplestudioartportfolios.collegeboard.org

Here is a link to a very useful website and flowchart that will help you evaluate your ideas. studentartguide.com/…es/a-level-art-ideas

(or Artist Statement)

Please email your 1st draft to:

<linda_burke@needham.k12.ma.us> or <jennifer_Greenberg@needham.k12.ma.us>

by April 25 or sooner.


Commentary Questions:

What is the central idea of your Concentration?

How does the work in your concentration demonstrate the exploration of your idea?You may refer to specific images as examples.


How to begin your statement:

1.Go to http://bmoreart.blogspot.com/2009/04/best-professional-practices-for-artists.html and read the short write up on how to write a good artist statement.

2.Read your example sheets below ( or refer to past year student Powerpoints on our server or go to <www.artstudy.org/art-and-design-careers/sample-artist-statement.php> for more examples):

3.Begin by answering these questions

Title of theme:

Expand on the meaning of the concept:

Why your theme intrigues you or is of particular interest to you:

The media and materials you are using:

Why are you using them?

How does it tie into your theme?

Describe what you principles and elements of design (or metaphor or symbol) you are working with and how it ties in to the theme and concept:

Describe the compositional tools that you are experimenting with and how it ties in to the theme and concept:

List the artists or schools of art that are influencing you.Describe how they are influencing you.

4.Begin to form these ideas into two paragraphs answering the two Commentary Questions above.


Artist Statement 1

My concentration is a series of abstractions constructed using pastel and ink. I decided to explore the concept of stylizing various shapes and designs found in both nature as well as technology. I chose to focus on zooming in on specially the lines and shapes of these designs and creating animate abstractions from them.

When I first started my concentrations, I created my abstractions from still lives that I had set up. These first concentrations, such as numbers 1, 2 and 3, were geometrically balanced and had an overall scheme to them which prevented them from having a clear focal point. However, I widened the variety of pictures from which I was creating my abstractions and began focusing on computerized designs and images from nature. I focused on the movement of the lines in each picture and embellished them to that they could embody the shape of the design. The negative spaces that the ink encompasses become the placeholders for the color. The lines eventually began to transform into shapes themselves, such as in concentrations 7 and on. The color palette also began to change as my concentrations progress; I began with mostly analogous colors but eventually became more confident in my color choices. Starting with concentration number 9, I began exploring with complimentary colors and different blending techniques. The transformation of my concentrations enabled me to create this seemingly spontaneous series. However, each piece required careful planning and drafting which was later become more complex and intricate.

Artist Statement 2

I was interested by the possibility that ordinary games could be depicted dramatically to evoke a sense of grandeur.I sought to find unusual vantage points that a player might not normally see. I used charcoal to establish dark rich volumes and ebony pencil to render intricate details and subtle reflections. In my series, I placed special emphasis on perspective, illusion of depth, and exaggeration of proportion to give the game pieces a definitive, towering prominence in the composition.

From the beginning, I employed spatial and proportional exaggeration as a means to lend to the game pieces an air of importance. Starting from my first drawing, I employed a “peek-a-boo” effect, enlarging a pawn at the corner of the composition in order to break the page, create an illusion of depth, and most importantly create a bridge from my vision into the world of the audience. In # 3 (Connect-Four), I began to embrace an ant’s perspective and the Connect-Four slots became a majestic monolith. This was a theme I carried throughout my 7th and 8th pieces in which the “Sorry” pieces and beer bottles, respectively, served to create a distinct world—almost a maze, through which the ant—and the viewer’s eye—wanders. Beginning with #10 (mahjong), I developed the concept to depict game pieces in such a way that they seemed to be falling on top of or speeding towards the viewer, establishing a more dramatic atmosphere. This was achieved by juxtaposing objects of extreme proportions to really attain that “in-your-face” feel. The concept is apparent in both my 10th piece, in which the mahjong piece seems to begin descending onto the viewer, and my 11th piece, in which the large king chess piece held by the hand is almost an ominous overhang above the viewer, almost as a human foot would crush an ant. This impression was perhaps best captured in my final piece, in which the die assumes massive proportions and seems to be speeding towards the face of the viewer.

Artist Statement 3

My concentration revolves around the theme of isolation and alienation in the modern world using the subway as my context. I was intrigued by the downcast and exhausted body language and expressions of commuters in transit. I found the subway particularly evocative because, despite the suffocating proximity and unusually closeness of the other commuters, each person was intently contemplating their own lives, completely unaware that everyone else was consumed by the same personal reflection.

The concept behind my concentration was always about the isolation of people in modern society but my pieces evolved from simply observing commuters to making the viewer become a part of the scene. In #’s 1-3 there is a definite separation between the viewer and the piece but by #12 the viewer feels as if they are on the subway, being tilted and pushed into the mass of humanity around them. In #4 I reached a turning point in my work because the viewer was invited to become another passenger on the subway. I began adding cut paper and elevating my focal points form the paper in #5 to further show the chaotic atmosphere of the subway. In preparation for each drawing I began taking pictures undetected on the subway that often turned out at strange and tilted angles. I began to employ this tilted perspective in the background of #6 to further emphasize the jostling of the subway. Having established the crowed feeling I began to use the harsh florescent lighting of the subway to emphasize the focal point in each piece. I began exaggerating the contrast on the clothes and especially the faces of my subjects in #10 to illustrate the downcast and pensive expressions of someone caught up in their own thoughts. In addition, I drew on paper bags to show the leathery and alienated faces of commuters in a working community. I made the subway out of tracing paper because it captured the boldness of the black and white charcoal, which created the uninviting and cold surface of the subway walls. In the same piece I began to vary the distance of my subjects from the viewer, intensifying the allusion that the viewer was a commuter on the train as well. In #12 I further increased the contrast of the piece so that the majority of the commuters were hidden in the dark underbelly of the subway while my focal point was bathed in the alienating glow of the lights above, isolating him from the surrounding people.

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