Arts News

AP Art Showcase
Posted 05/09/2017 02:00PM

AP Concentration Portfolios Presented

In the concentration portion of the AP Studio Art Class portfolio, students are asked to devote considerable time, effort, and thought to the investigation of a specific visual idea. The concentration is a body of artworks that grows out of a coherent plan of action. The works use the elements and principles of design in an informed and/or experimental way.

All artworks are expected to be unified, visually or conceptually. In addition, the work produced should be a reflection of the student's individual interest, focused on a process of visual growth and discovery that shows the development of a visual language appropriate to the original concept.

Seven seniors presented their work at the spring AP Art Showcase and described their portfolios:

Allison Bass

My concentration shows the truth about the uncomfortable process girls go through to get ready for special events. While we may look beautiful when we show up to the dance, the steps we had to take to get to that point are not as pretty. Why do women and girls go through so much pain in order to change how they look? As my concentration evolved, the pieces are meant to make the viewer see and even feel the discomfort that the action in the image portrays.

Conveying the sense of pain was difficult. There are few things that show discomfort just by looking at them. One of my challenges was choosing the right angles, colors, details, and compositions necessary to make my pieces as strong and compelling as I wanted them to be. I would often have a picture in my head that I was unable to accomplish. However, after the hard part of taking the photograph was complete, I was able to do the fun part of creating my pieces.

This was one of the first times I used colored pencils, and I really enjoyed learning how to work with them. I also had to learn skills of time management and how to create a strong piece in a shorter amount of time than I was used to. In spite of the time constraint, I am pleased with how much I have grown throughout this year and am so happy with my final pieces.

The AP process was stressful, but I am thankful for everything it taught me. Ms. Adams helped me so much in improving my work and making me a stronger artist. I will take all the valuable things I learned in AP Studio Art to college and beyond.

Morgan Cohen

I wanted to further my conventional art style and work with all non-traditional materials. I first created a plate of "spaghetti" using rubber bands, golf balls, erasers and paint. I liked experimenting with non-traditional art materials to make them look as if they were real plates of food.

Once I started this process it was very easy for me to come up with ideas. I enjoyed this concentration and figuring out how to fool people into thinking my work was actually food! My goal was to make the viewer say, "wait, this isn't real?"

As I completed compositions, I contemplated ways to show progress and growth throughout my artistic journey. I began by making faux foods look as realistic as possible, and then moved toward more unrealistic works to bring playfulness into the portfolio. Towards the end I believe my concentration work came more naturally and I was able to showcase humor in the pieces.

Thomas Greenawalt

I used my love of music for my concentration, "A Journey Through Life with Music." The concentration work has evolved as I integrated color slowly into the later pieces in the series.

Among the many challenges I faced, I tried to show as much movement as I could in objects that had hard edges and very few curves. In the end, these and other challenges I faced and overcame have led me to become a better artist.

My favorite piece is the toy xylophone, because it relates to my love of music. No other activity has stuck with me as much or had as much of an impact on me as music. I wanted to create artwork that reflected that interest, showing kids' toys in black and white while adding color to the one toy that meant the most to me.

Jalen Hill

I concentrated on portraying people whose expressions emulate emojis. Since emojis are part of our everyday lives, I thought using them would be a great topic.

I started with graphite, the medium I felt most comfortable. But drawing portraits was new to me, and I went through struggles contrasting the light and dark planes of the faces of my friends.

As my pieces got stronger, I transitioned to colored charcoal to introduce another medium and also started to focus on important facial features that communicate the spirit of the emoji rather than the full face. My pieces became stronger with this approach than the full face simple black and white images. At the beginning I was only comfortable with graphite, but as the year is now coming to an end I can say that I feel comfortable with all media.

My favorite piece is called 😋 and it is the first piece I created for this concentration. It's my favorite because not only did I learn how to contrast light and darks onto a face, but I also put a lot of work into it. The challenge of learning how to execute this is similar to the way the person I drew taught me important things in life that I will never forget. Portraying her as this emoji represents her completely—her name is Nina and she is very important to me.

Lindsay Lewis

My concentration centers on different types of smiles. I started with a list of different types—such as the overly exaggerated smile, the cute smile, and the silly smile. I intended to start in black and white and then transition to adding hints of color in some pieces. I also started with full faces, but by the end I had transitioned to cropping the faces, realizing that a full face was not needed to portray someone's happiness. Whether it is someone's cheekbones or a dimple, the emotion is conveyed and I sought to capture happiness within my pieces.

My favorite pieces are those of Cierra Pyles and Bryce Watson. I struggled at first with Cierra, and couldn't get the eyes right, so I decided to crop the face. I started with charcoal, and then added hints of color on the shirt and mouth to make it bolder. Bryce is known to be the happiest person, and he is always smiling. When I look at that piece, it reminds me of our memories together and all I can do is smile.

I have truly loved and learned a lot from this experience.

Avery Prince


In creating my concentration portfolio, I endured many successes as well as many failures. I focused on watercolor, a medium I had no prior experience with. I researched all the ways in which artists use watercolor to determine what would work best for me. My past experience painting has been mostly with acrylics, so I had a habit of layering color. But in watercolor, the best pieces have the least paint, so I had to really plan out what I wanted to create and avoid my habit of just getting paint down.

I quickly learned that watercolor is not as forgiving as other media I have used, and this was frustrating. I worried that one mistake would ruin the piece. However, this also pushed me to become more resourceful and creative. I experimented with pen on pieces that I was not as happy with. On other pieces I would spend too much time on mixing colors, so I began to use random colors to focus on the human form.

I chose to tell the story of two people in a relationship because I enjoy painting human figures. I would have liked more time, because I discovered that I love making bigger pieces with more detail. The struggle of time, though, forced me to just paint. Some pieces benefitted from this rush, while others did not. In the future, I plan to concentrate on larger pieces with more detail, as I enjoy making those the most and am most pleased with their results.

Lucia Zelaya

My concentration portfolio revolves around painting with food. After painting a self-portrait out of coffee, I wanted to experiment more with different types of food. I intended to go out of my comfort level and push myself by not painting with conventional paints.

The first piece of my concentration is made entirely out of grape juice concentrate and some watercolor. At first, it was a very difficult process, but as I got more and more into the pieces, it became more comfortable. When coming up with the foods to paint with, I first tested that they could be liquefied or came in a liquid form already. For example, with the candy piece, I had to choose a candy that was liquid so I could paint with it.

I had to problem-solve ways in which my food could be turned into paint, but this made for a unique experience. I showed evolution by starting out literally and transitioning to less literal and simplistic pieces as the work progressed. I also incorporated people into my paintings.

Overall, the experience of painting with food has been challenging and fun to see how food can be turned into art. I now have a new perspective on how to approach my art.

View a photo gallery of the AP Art Show

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