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Please note that the Sustained Investigation and the Range of Approaches sections below are from two different students’ portfolios.  

Sustained Investigation (Concentration) Statement

  1. The central idea of my concentration is the feeling that when you're depressed, you can't see the beauty of things around you and how you can feel used and insignificant in other peoples' worlds. I wanted to get a point across that you don't know what other people are going through in their lives or relationships. In #3, I made a silhouette of a face in the rock trying to blow the girl falling away from the rocks below her, because I wanted to share hope while being realistic with the situation.
  2. I wanted to show that there are always multiple perspectives to circumstances depending on who you are and what you've experienced. In #2, it shows a girl on a date, but all she sees is destruction, anticipating a bad ending. I explored my concentration by expanding some of my pieces to the feeling that you're a nobody. In #10, the girls face is like a statue being forced to be looking down forever, while #4 represents a girl without a face but a nice figure, showing that some girls feel like all they have to offer is their body. In #9 I drew inspiration from the tragedy of Ophelia. Depression is a serious problem that many people suffer from. It also runs in my family and I occasionally suffer from it. No one really knows because to everyone, I'm a 'strong, happy cheerleader!' which is what I want them to remember about me. Every time I arrive at that point where I feel so down, I make myself remember that I am my own person, that I shouldn't allow depression to control my life and there are people around me who care about and love me and that alone keeps me fighting. Now it's fuel for my art and a motive to fight. #12, is a self-portrait, showing me springing into light, pastel colors leaving darkness behind.

Rationale for Score

  • There is a sense of an engaging topic especially within the statements that accompany this sustained investigation, but the drawings don’t show clear integration of the topic and the work. The multiple, well-described empathetic perspectives on loneliness and depression (“a girl on a date, but all she sees is destruction”) that are associated with strong visual ideas (“a girl without a face … showing that some girls feel like all they have to offer is their body”) create an engaging written narrative. However, the images presented limit the overall success of the investigation. 
  • Ideas are insufficiently explored in many images. For example, although image 5 unmistakably conveys ideas of sorrow and loneliness, pushing the visual concept beyond the prosaic crying eye and addressing the unoccupied space using imagery and/or techniques that amplify the concept could demonstrate more successful decision-making. Other works are more engaging, such as images 6, 8, 10, and 12, which appear to be the result of more thoughtful consideration idea and execution. 
  • The bulk of the work in this investigation shows awkwardness in the use of materials. For instance, image 7 shows a couple embracing, but the three-dimensionality of the figures is not convincing. In this image and others, such as image 3, the dark outlines defining shapes make them appear flat. Images 9 and 12 are somewhat more successful technically because a greater care is taken with mark-making.
  • In general, the work remains at a lower level of accomplishment. The composition is weak, or possibly unconsidered, in many works, such as images 5 and 6. Image 10 displays a more deliberate composition, incorporating the entire page. This is also true in image 11, but in that case, the cropping of the figure is problematic. It’s unclear if the colorless parts of various works are symbolic or accidental. The colorless face in image 10 is explained in the statement; otherwise, it would be difficult to understand its meaning. Additional observation of and practice drawing the human figure (featured in most works shown, with a suggestion of growth in the later images) from life could enhance the effectiveness of the drawings in conveying the expressive ideas of the statement.  

You can also download these images and score rationale as a PDF portfolio. Please use Internet Explorer or Safari to open the link. 

Rationale for Score

  • The work demonstrates a very limited investigation, with little range of visual concepts and compositions. Twelve pencil drawings are presented. For the most part, line quality, surface manipulation, mark-making, and the composition of each work are repetitive and undeveloped. Some shading and attempts to render form are seen (images 1, 2, 5, and 12), but a full range of value is not used. Placement of most subjects in the center of the composition with no background doesn’t allow for the creation of the illusion of depth. The proportion in images 2 and 8 is distorted.
  • Ideas in the work are not original; inventive use of the elements and principles of design isn’t presented. Line is the primary design element used, with repetition and some contrast as the most prevalent principles shown. The works appear to be direct copies of published photographic sources or the work of other artists with little artistic vision or transformation. Opportunities for developing ideas related to the work shown could include research and experimentation. For example, referencing image 4 of the tiger, what would it look like to draw a tiger from the imagination, with no photographic reference? Would it be possible to draw a tiger from a real-life model at a zoo? Or how does drawing a tiger from a photo compare to drawing it from a 3-D model? Could duplication of selected tiger images within one composition lead to inventive decisions about how to portray the idea of a tiger from a variety of perspectives, perhaps using a variety of techniques?
  • A variety of intentions or approaches is not seen within the group of works. The singular approach used appears to be a direct duplication of published photos or work of other artists. Some practice in and the development of drawing skills such as shading and the creation of texture (images 10 and 12) is seen among the works. Experimentation with different compositional approaches, including treatment of background/unoccupied space and varied placement of the subject could increase the potentially engaging qualities of the drawings. Consideration of other drawing materials such as such as ink, chalk, or charcoal to achieve desired results could also expand the range of artistic possibilities. 
  • The work demonstrates marginal technical competence with pencil drawing. Continued practice with pencil drawing techniques could support the development of a range of value and line qualities. Contrast and details within the images are difficult to see because the images are dark; brighter lighting (perhaps photographing the work outside in sunlight) could produce better results. 

You can also download these images and score rationale as a PDF portfolio. Please use Internet Explorer or Safari to open the link.