2017 AP Drawing Complete Portfolio Sample

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Use this exemplar to understand portfolio components and requirements.  Analyze features of a successful portfolio to inform teaching and learning.

Help your students identify successful demonstration of ideas and skills in the work shown.  Guide them in connecting the scoring commentary with observable features of work, relating the scoring guidelines to what they see. Discuss ways to create and present art forms that represent high levels of achievement in concept and execution.

Note: With the exception of corrections and clarifications (in brackets), students’ statements are  transcribed exactly.

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Portfolio Score: 5

Score Rationale

  • All works demonstrate excellent understanding of drawing through advanced visual concepts, resolved composition, and generally excellent execution.
  • All works exhibit well-informed decision making and intention. For example, the self-portrait (image 1) uses contrast of color, figure/ground, and 2-D/3-D form to articulate a dual identity. The wood surface of the figure is stained brown, contrasting with lighter wood of the frame. Orange hair contrasts with the blue cut paper nose, painted shading of the face, and rectangles outlining arms. The head is situated as a figure within the ground of the cutout background. The attached brown 3-D doll arm contrasts with the stenciled, light-toned, flat arm shape.
  • All works clearly display imaginative ideas and successful, inventive articulation of drawing approaches. For example, the painting (image 4) of a figure in a convenience store skillfully demonstrates rendering of form and illusion of depth. The work exhibits inventiveness in articulation of form. Depth is achieved through use of tight to loose brush strokes as space recedes. Transparency of the curved refrigerator glass is rendered with nuance. The cool purple color of packages in the left corner flows into the shadow area of adjacent red packages—one of many details that contribute to the overall success of the painting. Composition is balanced with the foreground on the right and background on the left. Reflection of light from the ceiling mirrored on the floor creates rhythmic lines connecting two sides to create unity.
  • Most works show successful engagement with experimentation and/or risk taking. For example, the dual image altarpiece (image 5) experiments with media and representation by pairing a photographic collage with a mixed-media painted portrait of the same person. The two portraits are visually connected by the mirrored rectangular format and by the small holes drilled in the right figure that repeat the shape of gold nails adhering the photo collage to the backboard. Risk taking is evident in reconstruction of the figure from various photos in the digital collage and in the experimental mixed-media construction of the figure in the painted portrait.
  • The work as a whole is confident and evocative; it engages the viewer with visual qualities. For example, the painting (image 3) of the smoking figure employs confident, engaging mark-making and surface manipulation to represent a figure in time. Fluid brush strokes in cool colors contrast with the solid mass of the figure depicted in warm tones. Confidence is expressed through intentional distortion and exaggeration of the human form.
  • Technical competence of the work is consistently excellent; drawing materials and media are used effectively to express ideas. Use of a range of contrasting materials (photography and mixed-media painting) in the altarpiece (image 5) work to reveal different aspects of the same person. The self-portrait (image 1) with arms utilizes a wide of variety of materials pieced together to “dissect” layers of identity. The use of dark stained wood and a brown doll arm are contrasted with the light wood of the frame and background of the stenciled arm to suggest different skin tones and perhaps ethnicities.

Sustained Investigation Statement

  1. My work examines the conflict surrounding the powerful connotations attributed to my own outward expression of race and gender. I assemble abstract forms of my parent and I to extend the idea of a "self-portrait". By using both drawing and sculptural elements to establish physical space, I am able to invite the viewer to interact with each piece. This allows me to visually dissect layers of myself, reflecting on my experiences as a person of mixed racial background.
  2. This body of work examines the opposition that exists in the connotations attributed to my outward expression of race and gender. Through abstract self-portraiture, I explore how facial features and posture affect other’s perception. As someone of mixed racial background, my parents play an integral role in this work; redefining what a “self-portrait” is. I make this comment with juxtaposed imagery, using drawing principles to utilize space; cutting paper and carving/staining wood offers me line and tonal qualities. This process reflects how socialization has influenced me by visually dissecting layers of myself.
  3. My work began presented as altarpieces (Pieces 1-4) with gold embellishments. I then began experimenting with studies/additive appendages outside of the figure (Pieces 5-6). Later played with space as a tool to allow interaction with the viewer (Pieces 7-8). I pushed this concept by utilizing symbolism; placing my viewer in a submissive role. A separation of power is created by the road blockade, chair, and dinner table viewers can sit at with a podium of my father (Pieces 9-11). Finally, I utilize depth with a life size assemblage of myself (Piece 12). Behind, an interview of my parents is projected. I investigate their relationship with their racial identity/gender expression/how that influenced how they raised me.

Score Rationale

  • The topic of self-portrait as an investigation of race and gender identity is unmistakably and coherently integrated with the mixed media drawings of the artist and their family.
  • Investigation of the topic provides convincing evidence of informed decision making and discovery. In the process of creating the installation in image 12, a process of discovery involved interviewing the artist’s parents about how their relationships to race and gender identity influenced their parenting.
  • The work clearly demonstrates an original vision, innovative ideas and risk-taking. In images 1 through 6, the self-portrait is generally a two-dimensional framed wall piece, which includes empty space between the figure and the frame. By cutting out the background, internal versus external background of the self is a focus. In Image 7, the frame disappears altogether, and the figure occupies a more open, 3-dimensional space, allowing the viewer to interact more deeply with the subject. For instance, in images 8 and 12, the viewer can experience multiple faces of the same subject from different angles.
  • An evocative and engaging theme is sustained through all the work. Investigation of the theme is increasingly complex and engaging. The scale of work ranges from intimate to life-size. As framing of the subject progresses from altar pieces to installation, the relationship of viewer and subject changes. In images 1-6, the viewer is free to engage with works directly. In image 11, a “separation of power” is intentionally created between viewer and subject by placing the viewer in a “submissive role” in the chair, with a table separating them from the subject.
  • Work conveys a sense of successful transformation and growth. The investigation is begun with construction of altarpieces (images 1-4) and progresses through stages of increasingly spatially complex pieces. In images 5 and 6, found objects are added to the portraits. Images 7-10 show space occupied in a more complex way—the flat frame is replaced by a sculptural structure representational of the body. Final works (image 11 and 12) are installations that allow the viewer to interact with the work more deeply.
  • The work is technically excellent; materials and media are used effectively to express ideas. In all works, a variety of materials are used to express complexity of racial and gender identity. Construction of heads in each piece consistently utilizes a wide variety of layered materials (acrylic, found paper, photo, graphite, canvas, fabric, spray paint, wire, carved wood, oil, wood stain, colored pencils, felt, house paint) to “visually dissect layers of [the self], reflecting…experiences as a person of mixed racial background”.

Score Rationale

  • The work demonstrates informed investigation of a broad range of visual concepts and compositions. Image 1 is composed of a simple focal point rendered with playful mark-making, placed within a plain foreground and background. In image 9, six images of the same object are rendered in various media and arranged in a grid. In image 4, the composition is created from a complex arrangement of shape, form, and surface manipulation.
  • The work clearly demonstrates original vision (images 1, 4 and 10), a variety of innovative ideas and/or risk-taking (images 4, 7, 10 and 11) and inventive articulation of a broad range of the elements and principles of design. Image 4 demonstrates innovation through use of a range of materials (oil, acrylic, found paper, and plastic) to create a dense composition that juxtaposes flat areas of color and pattern with rendered form. Risk-taking is shown in image 10 with the choice of scale (40” x 26”) and use of loose, expressive mark-making to create an abstract image.
  • The work clearly shows a broad range of intention or purposes. Images 5 and 6 use loose mark-making to very different effects. In image 5, mark-making creates the illusion of solid mass. In Image 6, it creates the illusion of a light and airy atmosphere.
  • The work as a whole is confident and evocative; it engages the viewer with visual qualities. For example, image 1 uses whimsical mark-making and vibrantly colored oil paint to render the form of two figures with humor. Image 11 is composed with confidence—flat fields of color interact in a dynamic way with expressive mark-making to suggest energy in space.
  • The work is technically excellent; materials and media are used effectively to express ideas. For example, image 4 demonstrates technical excellence by using figure/ground to both define and flatten form and space. A compilation of shapes is used to construct a composition depicting figures in a mundane moment. Scale and overlapping forms suggest spatial relationships. Contrastingly, space is condensed by areas of similar hues in the foreground and background, and by intermingling rendered form and flat shape.