Exams: 2014 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 2014.

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.

Shaw Sandback, Mount Carmel High School, Los Angeles, CA

AP Portfolio Score: 5

Quality Section (Selected Works)

Score: 6, 6, 5

Rationale for Score

  • Though existing in the virtual realm, the objects presented in this portfolio demonstrate a successful application of 3-D design principles. For example, in image 2, the rectilinear shape of the toy train projecting from the background and hovering just above the ground creates form. Additionally, the gaps within the belts, gears, and wheels; the transparency of the windows; and the sleek curved space created underneath and around the train represent the occupation of space.
  • The use of the inner workings of the machine as both design and functional elements on the outside of the toys, such as the gears in Images 1, 2 and 5, engage the viewer and exemplify well-informed decision making.
  • The ability to capture light, transparency, and reflection in the renderings allows the artist to represent a sense of materiality and physical presence. Note the hard, shiny quality of the red balls and their reflection against the sphere's glass in Image 3. In Images 1 (view 2), 2, 4 and 5, the matte surfaces mingled with reflective glass and the raised and jagged elements give the objects tactile quality.

Concentration Section (Sustained Investigation)

Score 6, 6

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?

I focused my artwork around the idea of kid's toys. I chose vehicles that are recognizable. I'm interested in the functionality of how things work, and thought by adding gears and pulleys I could create a sense of repetition and theme to my overall work.

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.

For my models, I used Cinema 4D, a computer software. I started with my Trike sculpture, the first sculpture of the collection. It was originally intended to be a breadth piece, but I then realized that I could stick with that theme of geared toy vehicles. I made a collection of them with varying methods of transport such as by land, by sea, or by air. I felt that by adding the gears and pulleys, it gave the models a sense of rhythm, repetition, and form. Much like the Centre Pompidou in Paris, I made form follow functionality, by exposing the inner mechanics of common vehicles. My Seaplane sculpture seems to show that quality off wonderfully. As does the Jet and Helicopter models.

Rationale for Score

The toy collection represents a cohesive concentration while incorporating a sense of discovery. The gears, belts, and turbines are moved from the inside to the outside of the vehicles in Images 4 and 5, making the objects more visually and structurally complex. The bike, Image 6, represents a lighter, airier form, and the hot-air balloon in Image 7 furthers the investigation of scale and mass.

A sophisticated understanding of 3-D design issues is present throughout the portfolio. The student successfully uses rhythm and repetition in placement of the mechanical gears, turbines, wheels and windows. The absence of color highlights texture. Raised horizontal lines on the surface of the plane and train (Images 2 and 12) accentuate the forms and give the vehicles a feeling of movement.

The concentration demonstrates intention and innovation as exemplified by the helicopter, Image 4, in which the repetition and scale of the gears on the surface produces an object that embodies both design elements and implied functionality.

Breadth Section (Range of Approaches)

Score 5, 4

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: Demi Waldron, Woodruff High School, Woodruff, SC.

AP Portfolio Score: 4

Quality Section (Selected Works)

Score 5, 4, 3

Rationale for Score

  • The works included in this quality section vary in the successful use of the design elements and the application of principles.
  • Both matchstick constructions (images 2, 5) employ repetition and variety in the arrangement of the components, as well as the use of color, to articulate form. However, image 2 exhibits a more limited engagement with space than image 5 where there is variation in the direction of the matchsticks.
  • Both representational works, the pomegranate and vessel capped with an arch, show good handling of the clay medium. Line, repetition, color and emphasis are used to delineate forms that more successfully interact with space.
  • The chair, image 1, engages the viewer with evocative qualities. It represents a strong use of pattern and repetition in the corrugated cardboard. The base, the elevation of the seat, and the top edge of the chair demonstrate a strong concern with spatial integration.

Concentration Section (Sustained Investigation)

Score: 5, 4

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?

The central idea of my concentration deals with the exploration of linear shapes and latent forces found in the natural world. Using matchsticks as my prominent medium, I utilized their linear form to accentuate the ornate repetition, movement, and structure found in hills, forests, and valleys as well as symbolize the danger of unharnessed 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 found inspiration for my concentration in my personal observations and appreciation for the natural world as well as the design interface in the video game Minecraft, which allows users to construct architecture and landscapes using only cubes. I expanded the idea of constructing nature to a geometric design, using matchsticks to render natural forms from a linear perspective. I was inspired to explore the medium of matches by a series of works by Trevor and Ryan Oakes, who are artists known for constructing sculptures with common items such as pipe cleaners, cardboard, and matchsticks. I used the matchstick in my work to represent the silent but potent power found in the environment. For example, image 3 and 4 portray the planes of plateaus and cliffs, poised but on the verge of possible collapse. As I progressed in my body of work, I focused more on the abstract aura of these elements. The piece in image 7 and 8 depicts the anxious energy surrounding a sinkhole. I used black paint to signify the power of destruction and the bright colors echo the duality of the natural world.

Rationale for Score

  • The work in this concentration section, while stylistically alluding to the work of two artistic collaborators, exhibits some originality in its reference to design principles found in nature, though some works convey this concept more successfully than others. The undulation of the form in image 5 suggests the gentle slope of a hill, while the terraced arrangement in image 2 suggests the variation in heights of vegetation or trees.
  • Some innovative thinking and originality are demonstrated through the use of matchsticks—an everyday object. The use of new, along with burnt, matchsticks adds another dimension to the work in terms of both the concept and design elements (images 2 and 4).
  • The work displays good to strong technical competence in the handling of materials—the craftsmanship is strong and there is obvious attention to detail. However, the student's use of materials and the ideas expressed do not always work together. Images 1, 2 and 3 show less engagement with occupied/unoccupied space and a less evident connection to the theme than can be seen in images 2 and 5.
  • Overall this selection of works represents a good to strong level of achievement.

Breadth Section (Range of Approaches)

Score 5, 4

Rationale for Score

  • Using a variety of media, this breadth section exhibits good to strong approaches to a broad range of 3-D problems. These include: additive fabrication/construction and assemblage (images 1, 4 and 8), subtractive carving (images 3), and the sculptural manipulation of clay to produce works of distinctly differing intents (images 2, 5, 6 and 8).
  • Experimentation and risk-taking are apparent in the works, though there are varying levels of success. The lidded vessel (image 6) is unique in concept and form, while the articulation of idea and use of material is less successful in the biomorphic clay sculpture (image 7).
  • The activation and occupation of space are most apparent in the fabricated chair, clay pomegranate, lidded vessel and clay abstraction (images 1, 2 and 7), while less so in the repeating modular design and pendant (images 8, 5).
  • Overall this selection of works exhibits good to strong technical competence and use of materials and media.