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Art Portfolio: Diversity of Mediums and "Risk-taking"? Please help :)

sophiedoo62sophiedoo62 Registered User Posts: 26 New Member

I have a few questions about art portfolios. I am currently preparing work to submit as an art supplement for Vassar, Connecticut College, and Brown. I am a bit nervous because in all honesty, I am a very traditional graphite pencil, charcoal, and colored-pencil artist; I also use ink and occasionally acrylics/ watercolors, but not for an entire piece - mostly just for accents or backgrounds. I have never taken an advanced art class besides "Intro to Art" in the last semester of my sophomore year (I would have taken more if I could have, but seniors were given priority and I ended up enrolling in an early college program for my junior and senior years of high school, which sadly does not incorporate art into its curriculum). SO with that info, here are my questions...

1) I am most skilled in realism, but I know the "tight" nature of this kind of style often prevents me from deliberately taking risks/ being more loose in my work. On the other hand, that is kind of my style. I am incredibly detail-oriented and don't necessarily feel comfortable slapping some paint down and splattering glitter and what not (although I definitely appreciate those who can, and also would like to learn how to do this!!). I don't have a teacher guiding me through this process, but I have read plenty of articles and all of them stress using different mediums and taking risks. As I approach these art supplement deadlines, I am trying to take risks as is recommended, but sometimes I feel like I am not staying true to myself as an artist, given how hard I am trying. So, my rambling basically amounts to this question: do you think the schools I am applying to will "detract points" due to the lack of variability in the mediums/ styles I am using?

2) I am not a painter... but I have never actively pursued painting. It just was never as appealing to me as drawing. I could throw together some paintings, and they might be decent, but again, I feel like I'm not being true to myself when I force myself to create art in a certain way. So, will the lack of paintings (and overabundance of drawings) be a turn-off?

Some final info on myself! I think most would consider me a relatively strong applicant, although Brown is definitely a stretch (My ACT is a 32). Relative to the rest of my application, how important is an arts supplement? I'm sure it varies from school to school, but if anyone has some insight, it would be much appreciated!

Thank you in advance!

Replies to: Art Portfolio: Diversity of Mediums and "Risk-taking"? Please help :)

  • MamelotMamelot Registered User Posts: 2,116 Senior Member
    Are you actually planning to pursue a BFA and/or major in visual art?
  • sophiedoo62sophiedoo62 Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    I am planning to either double major in Biology and Visual Arts or major in Bio/ minor in Art.
  • MamelotMamelot Registered User Posts: 2,116 Senior Member
    OK so you aren't applying to a dedicated studio program and majoring just in art or design. So your portfolio will surely be a great addition to your overall application in that it helps tell the story of who YOU are but it's not necessarily going to be given the highest weight or even more weight than other things such as stats, your essays, your stated goals, your coursework, your early college experience, etc. I think you can relax a bit and use your artwork to tell your story and demonstrate your talent and creativity w/o worrying about whether it's sufficiently experimental or diverse in media.

    Your primary goal - and the adcom's primary mission - is for them to get to know you well. So include those pieces that you think speak to that identity. If you are worried about including too much of one medium (i.e. becoming repetitive) then cut back the number and show your absolute BEST work there.

    Your instincts about being true to yourself are spot on. And I totally believe that adcoms can see through an attempt to be something else - especially at the more competitive schools such as where you are applying.

    Don't forget to follow the directions on what they wish to see for a art supplement (for instance, observational drawings? Portraits? Etc.).

    Good luck to you!

  • sophiedoo62sophiedoo62 Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    Thank you so, so much! I hugely appreciate it... I've been worrying about this for a while!
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