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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. I paid respect to my heritage and went on a self-reflection journey and was inspired by the notion of “Spheres of Influence” in history paid respect to my heritage and went on a self- reflection journey and was inspired by the notion of “Spheres of Influence” in history when China was split into spheres of land during imperialism by western countries. When living in these areas, they brought over their culture and left a deep impression in the regions. I applied this concept to myself where I identified important foreign factors from various aspects of my life that deeply affected me in subsequent drawings for this section.
  2. I made a literal map of my own major “spheres of influence” in the first concentration piece. It’s a self-portrait with the various spheres in my head coming together to make who I am. In following branching drawings, I dedicated each to a specific sphere of influence. For example, in the 7th drawing, I focused it on a circle from the first drawing with books in it. I’m an avid reader, especially fantasy ones lately, so I wanted to dedicate a drawing to all of the exotic worlds that we can meet in a book. On the other hand, I might have not been able to fit something into a circle, such as cities that I drew in a small area in the first drawing. I have some drawings dedicated to that, such as my 8th one about city skylines since I travel or move a lot.

Rationale for Score

  • The topic—a self-reflection journey inspired by the notion of “Spheres of Influence” when China was split into spheres of land during imperialism by western countries—and the work presented are unmistakably and coherently integrated through resolved compositions with excellent execution throughout.
  • The investigation of the topic provides convincing evidence of informed decision making and discovery. Spheres of influence are presented literally in images 1, 2, and 3, and rhetorically in images 7 (the book) and 12 (the grid).
  • The sustained investigation clearly demonstrates an original vision. The gestures of hands covering eyes (image 3) and the placement within the picture plane of the figure reclined on ice (image 4) communicate ideas and emotion.
  • An evocative, engaging theme is sustained through most of the work. Symbols are repeated with variation to express different ideas and emotions. For example, flowers are stylized in image 1, growing in image 4, arranged in a bouquet in image 8, and withered in image 11.
  • The work conveys a sense of successful transformation and growth. In images 10, 11, and 12 the picture plane is altered to communicate feelings about imperialism from alternative perspectives. In image 10, these feelings are seen in the negative space created by the fractured sphere segments, and they can be seen in the grid design in image 12.
  • In general, the work is technically excellent. Drawing materials and media, (pens, markers, and watercolor) are used effectively to render form, as seen clearly in images 4, 5, 8, and 9. Light and shade are created successfully in images 5, 9, 10, and 12. And the illusion of depth can be seen in images 5 and 8. Line quality using both markers and pens is varied for detail (image 8) and for expression, (images 6 and 11).

Rationale for Score

  • The work demonstrates informed investigation of a broad range of visual concepts. Still life compositions, figures, and portraits are observed and abstracted with traditional and non-traditional approaches in a variety of compositions.
  • The work clearly demonstrates original vision. Images 2 and 12 demonstrate painting on surfaces chosen for personal expression. In addition, the work demonstrates a variety of innovative ideas and/or risk-taking such as manipulating surfaces (images 5 and 11), and there is an inventive articulation of a broad range of the elements and principles of design in each composition.
  • The work clearly demonstrates a broad range of intentions or purposes. In the narrative works (images 1, 6, 8, and 11), the points of view draw the viewer into a dream space. Images 2, 3, and 9 make literal and metaphorical connections through surface manipulation and layout.
  • The work as a whole is confident and evocative; the visual qualities engage the viewer with expressive verve (images 2, 3, and 8) and nuanced subtlety (images 6, 10, and 11).
  • The work is technically excellent. In images 1 and 3, graphite and pen are used effectively to render form. In image 7, paint is used to create light and shade. And in images 2, 8, 10, 11, and 12, there is expressive mark-making.
  • Materials and media are used effectively to express ideas. Note the effective use of surface manipulation (images 5 and 10) and the incorporation of text (images, 6, 9, and 11).