Exams: 2012 Studio Art 3-D Portfolio Student Samples

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3-D Design

The student works displayed on this page are reproductions of actual works submitted by students in June 2012.

All of the samples here were chosen because they clearly represent different points on the scoring scale. In the course of the AP evaluation, each section of the portfolio is scored on a six-point scale. Once the evaluation is complete, the various scores assigned to each student's portfolio are combined and transformed into the final AP grade of 1–5.

Note: With the exception of a small number of spelling corrections and clarifications (in brackets), all information in the commentaries is transcribed exactly as the students wrote it.

Media and dimensions for the works shown are based on information provided by each student. In some cases minor revisions have been made for clarity.

Each group of works is accompanied by a brief rationale for the scores awarded to the works. We greatly appreciate the generosity of the students who have agreed to share their works in this way.

Click an image to view a larger version.

Sample 1: Michela Bentel, Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, Conn.

Score: 6

Breadth Section: 6/6

Rationale for Score

  • The work demonstrates excellent accomplishment in a broad range of sculptural approaches, including additive, subtractive, and fabrication processes. Abstraction, invention, and observation from nature are handled with equal finesse.
  • The work shows both original vision and a confident articulation of the elements and principles of design.
  • Image 1 demonstrates the student's ability to reveal a form in marble, with attention to the expressive properties of the material. With equal skill, in image 2, the student constructs an object from photographic images, Plexiglass, and light.
  • Overall, the work demonstrates excellent breadth and quality.

Concentration Section: 6/6

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?
I have concentrated on the female figure as a cultural symbol of fertility. I am interested in presenting that form not as an object rendered realistically but rather as a symbolic presence which in some instances is referred to by its absence (with the aid of a shroud) and in other instances by the visual metaphor of the "vessel" and the EGG, the container and the contained, the medium and symbol of life.

How does the work in your concentration demonstrate the exploration of your idea? You may refer to specific images as examples. When referencing specific images, please indicate the image numbers.
The series begins with the female form as a draped object. Material enclosures ranging from insect screen to folded aluminum to fiberglass resin both define and isolate the female body within. That body is present in YOU CAN SEE ME BUT YOU CAN'T TOUCH ME (image 1) but is present by its absence in BODY ARMOR (image 2 and 3) BREAST PLATE (image 4) and BURKA (image 5 and 6). In Burka, I found irony in the cloak as a protective enclosure containing only internally illuminated eggs hanging in the approximate location of the uterus. These eggs dominated the next few pieces. EGG AND SPERM (image 7 and 8) is constructed of welded metal spoons and a polished stainless steel ball. The spoons are the product of the Wallingford Flatware Company, the successor firm to the Oneida Corporation which itself began as a utopian community dedicated to female independence. I again used the Wallingford Spoons in BINGO FOR LIFE (image 9 and 10) which suggests the unpredictability of reproduction. The NEST (image 11) presents the vital glow of the egg as a crucible of life. In EGG ON A STICK (image 11 and 12), an iconic egg shape is rendered in virgin pine and topped with a dove as a symbol of peace, inspiration and motherhood.

Rationale for Score

  • The theme of the female figure as a cultural symbol of fertility is explored with great sophistication through both form and material.
  • Every decision, from scale to material to cultural reference, has been deeply considered.
  • The work is ambitious in scale, and a range of materials are handled with excellent skill and understanding.
  • The commentary is engaging, and further illuminates the thinking behind this impressive body of work.
  • Materials are chosen not only for the visual and tactile properties, but also for the metaphorical meaning and cultural associations.
  • The work reaches a level of excellent quality.

Quality Section: 6/6

Rationale for Score

  • The work demonstrates a confident, adventurous approach to object making, supported by exceptional facility in the manipulation of materials.
  • 3-D design principles are well understood, and they are masterfully integrated in the service of the student's vision.
  • The works are thoughtfully conceived, and it is apparent that all decisions regarding concept, composition, and execution have been carefully and successfully considered.
  • Although breadth is not a requirement in the Quality section, the student's successful handling of a wide range of materials and approaches (with equal success) is very impressive.
  • The work is of excellent quality.

Sample 2: Brandon Tejo, Sanford H. Calhoun High School, Merrick, N.Y.

Score: 5

Breadth Section: 5/4

Rationale for Score

  • The work shows thoughtful consideration of 3-D design issues, but the range of approaches and problems explored is somewhat limited.
  • The work demonstrates a variety of intentions in activating physical space, although not all pieces are equally successful.
  • The work demonstrates some originality and innovative thinking.
  • Image 8 shows ambition and complexity, whereas images 1 and 7 offer solutions that are elegant in their simplicity.
  • Overall, the work varies from good to strong in breadth and quality.

Concentration Section: 5/5

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?
The central idea of my concentration focuses on the investigation of architectural forms vs. stuctural [sic] forms.

How does the work in your concentration demonstrate the exploration of your idea? You may refer to specific images as examples. When referencing specific images, please indicate the image numbers.
In the concentration, the pieces begin with more of a focus on simple structural forms. Images 1 and 2 are bridge-like in structure and focus on a linear configuration. As the concentration progresses, I turn the investigation towards architectural designs as in images 5 and 7. The forms are reminisient [sic] of structures that embody the physical, emotional and spiritual heart of humanity. The culmination of the concentration evolves into forms that exemplify the essence of architecture through spatial organization and flow, while dealing with the structural integrity of support and the beauty of controlled strength as in images 9 and 11.

Rationale for Score

  • The work embodies a clearly articulated theme and demonstrates a process of growth and discovery.
  • The work shows original thinking in using architectural forms to convey broader human themes.
  • The work evidences a strong understanding of 3-D design issues, including balance, scale, linear rhythm, and volume.
  • In documenting the work, light is used to effectively dramatize the forms; however, the play of shadows on the background sometimes interferes with the clarity of the forms.
  • The effectiveness of the work is compromised by lack of attention to clean joints. In some cases, blobs of glue are apparent and distracting.
  • Overall, the concentration is of strong quality.

Quality Section: 6/5

Rationale for Score

  • The principles of 3-D design are thoughtfully investigated in both complex and minimal constructions.
  • The imaginative architectural forms evoke multiple associations, from sailboats to Ferris wheels, from birdcages to skeletons.
  • The work exhibits well-informed decision making in the activation of space; however, craftsmanship has not received the same careful attention.
  • Overall, the work is of strong to excellent quality.

Sample 3: Eric Blitzer, Landon School, Bethesda, Md.

Score: 4

Breadth Section: 4/4

Rationale for Score

  • The work shows an investigation of a modest range of 3-D design problems.
  • Images 3 and 4 strongly engage the viewer through successful application of 3-D design principles. Image 4 in particular draws the eye upward and into its dynamic and brightly patterned interior.
  • Images 1, 2, and 6 appear to lack clarity of intention, and the work is not well-crafted.
  • The level of accomplishment among the works is uneven, but overall the work is of good quality and breadth.

Concentration Section: 4/3

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?
The central idea of my concentration is to create an evolution of structure into abstraction. Constructed in superior positioning to the base, the elevated and emphasized top forms exhibit concepts of fluidity, openness, individuality, and nonconformity which contrast with the uniformity, repression, and constraint expressed by their structured and conventional bases. My concentration aims to create and/or evoke the evolution of the rational into an individual and irrational nature.

How does the work in your concentration demonstrate the exploration of your idea? You may refer to specific images as examples. When referencing specific images, please indicate the image numbers.
I consider my exploration of this concentration to be the fusion of my mastery of three-dimensional design with my education outside of the studio. I developed my passion for ceramics 15 months ago and polished my skill through countless hours in the studio, however it was only when I began my Humanities course at my school that I thought anything of the meaning of art. The Romantic Age especially, with its emphasis on the individual, irrational, and imagination. The Romantics valued art and poetry in their quest to express their emotions in an everlasting form. In a notable poem of the Era, "Ode on a Grecian Urn", by John Keats, the narrator addresses an ancient Greek ceramic urn. Keats profoundly writes "heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter." The Romantics believed that art has the power to express and eternalize metaphysical concepts. This is what my concentration aims to do: create and/or evoke the evolution of the rational into an individual and irrational nature. My pieces show a growing of the irrational out of their structured bases, acknowledging the support that structure provides, yet emphasizing the individuality of the fluid tops. The irrational learns from and relies on the support of the rational, but eventually transcends its restraints to evolve into a distinct individual.

Rationale for Score

  • The theme of the concentration, transitions from structural and rational to fluid and irrational, is an ambitious idea and is explored through a variety of approaches.
  • The work demonstrates a good understanding of 3-D design principles.
  • The work shows strong experimentation and risk taking; however, not all works are resolved with equal success.
  • Growth and transformation are apparent.
  • In images 5 and 10, form, texture, and color work particularly well to express the transition from rational to irrational.
  • The concentration exhibits growth and transformation within the theme. Overall, the work is of good to strong quality.

Quality Section: 4/4

Rationale for Score

  • The works engage the viewer with an energetic approach to activating space.
  • The works demonstrate some imaginative ideas and purposeful manipulation of the elements and principles of 3-D design.
  • Each work exhibits a thoughtful and clear idea, but the intentions are not fully realized, and the craft is unrefined.
  • There are uneven levels of accomplishment among the five works, but overall they demonstrate good quality.

Sample 4: Jalen Leichman, Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Milwaukee, Wis.

Score: 3

Breadth Section: 4/3

Rationale for Score

  • The work shows a superficial investigation of a range of 3-D design issues.
  • The work demonstrates some originality and playful transformation of materials. A metal clip becomes a woman's purse, while corks, spools, and chair parts evolve into fingers.
  • The level of technical skill exhibited is uneven throughout the work.
  • Some of the work begins to achieve potentially engaging qualities; confidence is uneven.
  • Overall the work is of moderate to good in breadth and quality.

Concentration Section: 4/3

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?
The central idea of my concentration is of building structures that hold significant memories or experiences from my past. I wanted to show a narrative of these experiences in three-dimensions. I primarily worked in ceramic but also used found objects and a variety of fabrics and papers.

How does the work in your concentration demonstrate the exploration of your idea? You may refer to specific images as examples. When referencing specific images, please indicate the image numbers.
To call attention to significant details of each narrative, I used a wide range of materials. Image 1 is modeled after a cafe that I use to work in. This cafe was the first place in which I ever worked, and that's why I chose to create it. I included the cafe's logo, (the sword through the heart) to describe the religious decor this cafe had. Image 10 is a model of a house I previously lived in. I had some of the best parties in this house. I wrote briefly about my experiences on one side of it. I used carpet, magazine cut-outs and wall paper in the interior of image 10, to capture a realistic sense of the house.

Rationale for Score

  • The theme of the concentration is well focused and the work presented clearly relates to the topic.
  • The theme of story-telling through objects is explored, with some playful and engaging qualities, but technical competence is rudimentary.
  • The work demonstrates a moderate understanding and application of 3-D design principles used to activate physical space.
  • In general, decisions about choice and use of materials are not well considered. For example, the combination of materials and base in images 4 and 5 is awkward, as is the scale of the stones on the roof in images 7 and 8.
  • The work shows some growth in concept and use of materials. In the piece represented in images 9 through 12, the inclusion of text and the view to the interior creatively expand the dialogue between form and narrative.
  • Overall the work is of moderate to good quality.

Quality Section: 3/3

Rationale for Score

  • The work reflects a superficial consideration of the elements and principles of 3-D design.
  • The work shows little attention to the activation of physical space.
  • Some risk taking and intention are evident (image 1), yet the technical skills needed to realize the intentions are limited.
  • There is an emerging level of accomplishment among the five works, and overall they demonstrate moderate quality.