The Harbinger Online

Art Students Prepare Portfolios for College



Clayton Phillips

Greta Miller


Q: Can you tell me where you’re applying and what each portfolio requires?

A: My top choices are Washington University–St.Louis and Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Brown and RISD have a dual-degree program. RISD’s one of the most prestigious art schools in the country, so it’ll be a bit of a challenge to get in, but their portfolio is really specific. It’s about 15-25 images total, and I don’t remember what this year’s is, but in the past you’ve had to draw a bike. So they have things like that that are difficult to prove that you can really be up to their artistic standards. Theirs is a large portfolio, and it’s very specific.


Q: So places like Brown will require you to make specific pieces of art?

A: Yeah. A lot of places will require an observational drawing to make sure you understand the fundamentals of artistic technique. I was touring at Temple [a school] in Philadelphia, and they require a self-portrait, a black and white self-portrait. A lot of schools don’t have a specific thing, but they highly encourage having a mix of concentration-based work and observational-based work to show your skill.


Q: So your observational side is kind of covered by the bike? Are there any other pieces you’re submitting that you qualify as observational?

A: I think so. I did a print series this summer and did a skull. It’s observational, but it’s line-work based, so it’s not with charcoal or graphite, as most of them want. I’ve done life-drawing classes — I’ve done a lot of stuff that takes from life — which is important for doing the kind of art I want to do. I’m also planning on doing “Inktober.” Throughout the month of October, it’s a challenge to draw with ink every day. So I’m going to continue that animal-skull theme and do that for spooky, Halloween stuff. Those are kind of going to be my observational pieces, just with ink.


Q: So what are you submitting for the concentration side?

A: Probably a lot of character design and environment illustration. I really like fantasy and sci-fi illustration kind of stuff, like “Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potter”-looking, fun stuff like that. I’m probably going to end up submitting character sheets. Big illustrations. I’m not so much into abstract painting or anything. I’m probably going to focus in illustration or graphic design, so that’s where I’m going with my work.


Q: Are those pieces already done?

A: Some of them are. I still have some to do. It’s kind of an ongoing process. I’m taking pieces I’ve done just for fun and some pieces that I’m planning to do specifically for my portfolio so I have a good representation of what I am as an artist.




Clayton Phillips

Q: Where are you thinking about applying and what type of portfolio do you need to create for it?

A: The main school I’m looking at applying to is School of the Art Institute of Chicago, or SAIC. I’m also thinking about Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and maybe Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI), but mainly Chicago. Chicago requires your portfolio, which is 10-15 pieces of your best work, [which] you feel embodies who you are as an artist and your skill set. And then an artist’s statement, which is basically like an essay, but it’s short, and it explains what your art is about.


Q: What kind of art is your school looking for?

A: The school I’m applying to doesn’t require anything like observational or certain media. With SAIC, they only focus on having a coherent and fluid body of work that is based around a certain theme or thing you’re interested in. That’s where the artist statement comes in. It has to have something that’s tying it together. They don’t necessarily have to be the same, but they have to be related in some way.


Q: So what are you creating for your portfolio?

A: Right now, I’m [looking at the] way math, and more specifically geometry, can coincide with faith and spirituality, as far as the way the natural world is made up and how tangible reality can be connected to a more spiritual world. So right now I’m doing a number of things. I’ve done a lot of drawings in the past, with either colored pencils or ink, but right now I’ve been doing some paintings based around the platonic solids, which are basically these forms used to explain how the universe is made, a more geometrical view of perceiving the natural world. I’ve also been really into labyrinths, which kind of symbolize life as a fluid movement, in and out of the world. I’ve really been looking at a lot of symbols of spirituality coinciding with the natural world. I’ve also been looking to do some performance pieces on video of some labyrinth stuff. But right now basically just paintings and drawings.




Q: What medium do you want to do?

A: I’m more of a drawer, and kind of painter, that’s how it’s always been. Lately I’ve been trying to branch out more, and I know that in college, I’m probably going to be wanting to mess around with different practices and different media. I guess whatever I’m interested in at the time, I’m going to go into. SAIC [doesn’t] have you declare a major. So if I’m a drawer, I don’t have to just go into the drawing department and restrict myself to just drawing.


Lennah Cardozo

Q: Where are you’re thinking about applying and what portfolio you have to create for that school?

A: I’m trying to get into Parsons New School of Design in New York City. I’m trying to become a fashion designer, but pretty much I have to make a portfolio with eight to twelve pieces, and on top of that I have to make this thing called the ‘Parson’s Challenge,’ which is an addition onto the portfolio, with three pieces together. I’m doing a photo series.


Q: What are you doing for the photo series?

A: For the photo series, I’m doing a thing about the female figure identification technique, which is pretty much if you’re an ‘apple’ or ‘pear’ or hour-glass size, and how that objectification of normalized objects has a negative effect on the person’s mind. And how it leads to a lot of mental disabilities and eating disorders and all of this stuff. Pretty much, I’m going to take just a few different people, both genders, and see how they stand with that. Then I’m going to write about how body image has turned into such a big issue. And how you eat, workout and dress based on these objects that are just so simple and average.


Q: What are you doing for the other eight to twelve pieces?

A: I am doing three outfits. This is a Kill-Bill inspired one, and then geometrically-inspired and then this one is a ‘disco-y’ kind of. These are going to be all these sequins hanging down that are holographic, and then a black top that’s higher on the neck than it is out. And then googly eyes and stuff. Then I’m doing two ceramics pieces, probably a face that I’m working on currently — it’s very Tim Burton-inspired — and a bowl. I do a lot of painting on clothing objects, so I have a pair of boots that I’m working on right now that are super cool. And then a few sketchbook pages, a few self portraits and then a collage I’m thinking.



Q: Do you have to submit the fashion pieces because you want to do fashion?

A: Yes. I mean, you can submit what you’re really good at it, but I want to do it so they see that I’m trying to already get into the field. I have an internship with [fashion designer] Peggy Noland. I’ve been able to do my own stuff there.
Q: So the clothes that you’ve made designs for – are you actually going to be making those?

A: Yes.

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