Exams: 2013 AP Studio Art 3-D Design Portfolio

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3-D Design

The student works displayed on this page are reproductions of actual works submitted by students in June 2013.

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.

3-D Design Sample 1: Tim Archer, St. George's School, Middleton, R.I.

AP Portfolio Score: 5

Quality Section

Score: 6

Rationale for Score

  • The choices in the quality section express well-informed decision making in the application of 3-D design principles in each work.
  • The work clearly displays inventive and imaginative use of material. The activation of physical space is also carefully considered in all works.
  • Consistently excellent craftsmanship and technical confidence allows the student to experiment and take risks in the works.
  • The work engages the viewer and expresses the student’s voice.

Concentration Section

Score 6

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?
The theme of my concentration satirically pokes fun at the utter complexity of today’s technologically advanced modern machinery by combining unrelated and arbitrary mechanical parts found from formerly functioning mechanisms to form objects which serve no functional purpose, and exist solely for the purpose of being aesthetically pleasing. There is potential beauty in everything. There is beauty in simplicity, and in complexity, but what happens when you merge the two conflicting beauties?

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 further enhance the overall message of the cohesion of these previously unassociated parts, each project has a unifying coat of paint. The uniform covering of paint represents how the once unacquainted items have harmoniously worked together to create a visually pleasing, but functionally inoperable piece of visual pleasure. The two projects that accurately portray the message of beauty in complexity are [images] 2, 6, and 7. These projects in particular give the view[er] a feel of confusion, while also giving off a feeling of comfort through the unifying coat of paint. [Images] 5 and 8 are unique because they take a normally unattractive tool, a saw, and make it into something aesthetically pleasing and visually attractive.

Rationale for Score

  • The work presents a coherently integrated idea and demonstrates an original vision.
  • Overall, the choice of materials and technical qualities is sustained throughout the entire body of work.
  • The physical space is activated through the arrangement of mechanical parts that balance, repeat and delight the eye with unity, variety, rhythm, and emphasis.
  • The student considers contrasts, proportion, and scale. For example, images 8 and 9 demonstrate risk taking and original vision by carefully placing a saw blade through the middle of a well-constructed cube.
  • Images 4, 8, 9, 11, and 12 convey a sense of transformation by assembling and painting recognizable parts in order to create new forms with new meaning.
  • Exploration of surface quality, attention to details, and demonstration of craftsmanship are consistent throughout all works.

Breadth Section

Score 6

Rationale for Score

  • Confident decision making is evident through the choice of materials employed to communicate ideas that address a broad range of intentions and purposes.
  • The clever appropriation of found objects in images 1 and 8 demonstrates innovation, insight, and humor.
  • Excellent application of 3-D design principles is evident through the purposeful organization of a broad range of materials and 3-D processes.
  • Images 2, 4, and 5 demonstrate the student’s command of 3-D concepts through the repetition of shapes and forms.
  • The student demonstrates confidence employing both additive and subtractive constructive processes.

3-D Design Sample 2: Halie Schouten, Greater Atlanta Christian School, Norcross, Ga.

AP Portfolio Score: 5

Quality Section

Score 5

Rationale for Score

  • The carefully chosen work for the quality section exhibits a strong student voice and demonstrates technical confidence throughout.
  • The work shows successful manipulation of the 3-D design principles, particularly—repetition, unity, variety, and contrast. The carved shapes and the application of paint in image 2 exhibit a playful confidence that engages the viewer.
  • In image 3, the use of creative mounting and the addition of the gold leaf chrysalis push the work beyond the traditional casting challenge. This evocative treatment is surprising and engages the viewer.
  • There may be varying levels of viewer engagement, but overall the work exhibits strong qualities.

Concentration Section

Score: 5

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?
The central idea of my concentration is bugs. I have chosen bugs, because I want to emphasize the figure, nature, aesthetic design, and the human perception of insects. I want to examine the negative feeling associated with insects, and portray them as I have come to understand them through my explorations; as beautiful and delicate creatures.

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.
Initially, I intended my concentration to focus on the realistic figures of bugs, but the idea developed into an exploration of the contrast of human perceptions of bugs and the reality of the vital role bugs play in the world’s society. [Images 1-2] depicts the segmented, simple form of a beetle, emphasizing only the color and form of a bug’s insignificant body. My next sculpture is a more detailed portrayal of a mosquito. The unexpected beauty of the wax and figure of the mosquito contrasts with the negative feeling humans have towards mosquitos. [Images 4-5] portray a positive interaction between a cocoon, an entity usually associated with positive sentiments, and a human hand. [Images 6 and7] further abstracts this idea of human perception versus reality by creating a cockroach out of a precious material like metal. [Image 8] is a tribute to a society that idolizes a bug, like the Egyptians, because it contrasts with our modern, Western view of bugs. In [images 10-12], I explored the interaction of bugs with one another in a kinetic abstraction in order to explore the good-natured aspects of bugs, which contrasts popular public opinion.

Rationale for Score

  • A clear and evocative topic is presented through most of the work. The student’s original ideas transform the viewer’s association with bugs.
  • The activation of physical space in several pieces shows a strong understanding of 3-D design principles (images 3, 5, 7, and 10).
  • The work is technically strong, and in most of the work materials and media are used expressively to convey ideas. Images 1 and 9, however, are more conventional.
  • Images 6, 7, and 10 demonstrate expertise and skill; casting, soldering, and joinery are used to express a multiplicity of ideas through a common theme.
  • Image 10 uses a kinetic element to explore the fourth dimension, time.

Breadth Section

Score 5

Rationale for Score

  • A variety of methods and materials are used successfully most of the works. The student uses wood, metal, concrete, plaster, clay, Sculpey, and paint while employing both additive and subtractive methods to convey the ideas. Image 3 employs shadow as an element.
  • While most works express confidence, there are some works that are less engaging (image 8). Images 6 and 7 explore the same idea, rather than presenting a breadth of design problems.
  • Generally, the work exhibits a strong exploration of 3-D principles such as balance (images 3, 6, and 7), unity, and variety (images 4 and 5).
  • The way the work is presented shows thoughtful decision making. Bases are carefully chosen to compliment the work (images 1, 3, and 6). Additional consideration of the presentation would enhance image 2.

3-D Design Sample 3: Valeria Gomez, De Queen High School, De Queen. Ark.

AP Portfolio Score: 4

Quality Section

Score: 4

Rationale for Score

  • There is a variety of intent and purpose, and overall the work is good.
  • There is a good application of 3-D principles using a range of materials and processes. Images 2, 4, 5, and 7 exhibit repetition, unity, variety, contrast, proportion, and use of occupied and unoccupied space.
  • A student voice is apparent in some of the work.
  • There are uneven levels of accomplishment. Images 1 and 3 include potentially engaging materials but lack compositional structure and evidence of decision making.
  • The wide variety of materials shows good technical competence, although there are elements in the work (images 2, 7, and 8) that could be refined.

Concentration Section

Score: 4

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?
The nature of my concentration is knowledge in books and how people take it and how others grow into it.

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 started with the idea that we seize knowledge administered to us and utilize it for ourselves. This is conveyed in images 1-6 . Following that notion it came to me that we also flourish when we obtain knowledge which is expressed in images 7- 12, [i]n each one I show different points of view in which knowledge is obtained. Like in image 4-6 people strip knowledge and what they don't want is discarded and left. But people sometimes take that knowledge and develop like images 11 and 12 where the grass is greener on the other side.

Rationale for Score

  • A concentration topic is presented but is explored in a safe manner with minimal risk-taking.
  • There is evidence of an original idea, but technical execution is not as accomplished. Images 8 and 11 have engaging qualities, but craftsmanship and design development hinder overall quality.
  • The decision making in the concentration demonstrates engagement with the process and manipulation of material, but without the intent to present a more evocative idea and personal expression.
  • The principles of 3-D design are exhibited, and the student successfully activates the space in images 6, 9, and 11. However, other works are less successful.

Breadth Section

Score: 4

Rationale for Score

  • There is a variety of intent and purpose, and overall the work is good.
  • There is a good application of 3-D principles using a range of materials and processes. Images 2, 4, 5, and 7 exhibit repetition, unity, variety, contrast, proportion, and use of occupied and unoccupied space.
  • A student voice is apparent in some of the work.
  • There are uneven levels of accomplishment. Images 1 and 3 include potentially engaging materials but lack compositional structure and evidence of decision making.
  • The wide variety of materials shows good technical competence, although there are elements in the work (images 2, 7, and 8) that could be refined.

3-D Design Sample 4: Melanie Wentz, Viewpoint School, Calabasas, Calif.

AP Portfolio Score: 3

Quality Section

Score: 3

Rationale for Score

  • Images 4 and 5 are evocative and demonstrate the student's voice. However, technical competency is limited, particularly in image 4.
  • The student attempts innovation in the use of found objects in image 3, but overall craftsmanship is questionable.
  • The activation of the physical space in image 1 is limited and demonstrates a narrow level of accomplishment.
  • The overall work in the Quality section demonstrates a moderate understanding of 3-D design principles and exhibits an emerging level of accomplishment.

Concentration

Score: 3

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?
My concentration is focused around famous pieces of architecture. I love the old versus new structural and detail aspects of architecture so I decided to put my own spin on some of my favorites. I also wanted to incorporate the spaces and shadows architecture creates on its own. Architecture has always been a passion of mine as well as sculpture so I wanted to combine the two.

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 used a variety of materials including found objects, wire, plaster, clay, photo board, and balsa foam. I didnt just want to represent the pieces of architecture as what they are, I also wanted to convey the beautiful spaces and shadows created by them. Image 1 is a simplified version of the Coliseum that contains progressively larger spaces within the walls. The perception of my pieces should be based on the single shadow they might create as well as the detail of the piece itself in reference to its shape. With [i]mage 5, I wanted to depict a perspective of being in the shadow looking outward. I also had almost a motif of arches within the progression of my concentration. In my last piece, Image 12, I decided to over emphasize [sic] space for the sole purpose of creating hauntingly alluring shadows. Each individual part of this piece is actually on a different level but is perceived on the same level when viewed from the front. The different levels allowed me to create different shadows when lights were shined on different sides. As a culmination, I tried to take the simple aspects of all of the previous sculptures to combine into one abstract technical piece demonstrating light and space that is present in all types of architecture.

Rationale for Score

  • There is a clear connection between the work and the thoughtful concentration topic but overall, the work is of moderate quality.
  • Original ideas and attempts at innovation with materials are emerging.
  • Technical competence is developing.
  • Attempts at originality and risk taking by using materials in a new way are evident; however, images 4 and 8 demonstrate limited technical competence.

Breadth Section

Score: 3

Rationale for Score

  • A range of 3-D design problems is presented, but with limited success.
  • Image 3 is engaging, but others demonstrate superficial solutions with an emerging student voice.
  • The most successful piece, image 3, exhibits balance, unity, variety, and a careful consideration of occupied and unoccupied space. Further development of this work would make an engaging topic in the Concentration section.
  • Overall, the work is uneven and demonstrates limited technical competence; skill in the use of materials and media and in the activation of physical space is rudimentary.