Diverse Art Portfolio Ideas for Art Schools and Employers

Diverse Art Portfolio Ideas for Art Schools and Employers

Art Portfolio Project Ideas For Art Schools and Employers

Art school application reviewers expect to see a range of techniques, tools, media and art forms in an applicant’s portfolio (though don’t try to include every possible technique or style; that will create an uncohesive and disjointed collection).

Reviewers also appreciate a variety of styles that reveal the artist’s personality and strengths. Carefully read the submission requirements and labelling guidelines for each school.

1. Painting

The ability to capture what’s in front of you and translate it to paper is a skill that art schools and employers want to see. Portfolios should be rounded out with a mixture of observational work and projects that explore new and original ideas.

It’s also important to show that you can compose images in a thoughtful and interesting way – by arranging elements such as line, tone, colour, shape and texture. Including multiple attempts at the same composition can be useful in showing that you’re flexible and open to experimentation.

Skillshare teacher Nathalie Lete uses a photo-album style folder to create her surface design portfolio, which makes it easy to swap out pages and update the presentation as necessary. She even includes a handy label for each sheet to make it easier to find specific designs within the collection.

2. Drawing

Observational drawings should form an important part of any portfolio. These should be drawn from real life rather than from imagination, memory or a photograph. Ideally, you should select pieces that demonstrate a unique approach and show an ability to capture the essence of an object or scene – for example by adding expressive mark-making or non-realistic elements, textures and materials.

If you are applying to school or seeking freelance clients, it is always a good idea to present a physical art portfolio at the interview stage. Be sure to follow the exact guidelines of the school or client (this may include size restrictions and specifics on what should be included). Use fixative to stop charcoal, chalk and graphite drawings from smudging and consider mounting and framing your work.

3. Printmaking

Many art teachers require physical or digital student portfolios as a year-end assessment, AP art requirements or college application submission. These can also serve as a means for students to express their growth in skills and direction.

When choosing prints for a portfolio, it is a good idea to have a theme (like colour, leading lines, narrative or subject) or a clear style to tie your artwork together. It is also recommended to choose a number of pieces that can be presented in a smaller volume or even on a single page, to keep your portfolio visually engaging.

To make your portfolio stand out from the rest, think about what type of audience you are targeting – are they contemporary gallery owners or traditional fine art buyers? Tailor your selection and written explanations to fit the type of viewer you are trying to attract.

4. Photography

A photography portfolio is often the best way to show off your talent for capturing a moment and expressing emotion through an image. Whether it’s a landscape shot or a portrait, a photographer can make something ordinary seem extraordinary.

Photographers can also benefit from creating a series of images that are unified by a theme. These projects are usually carried out with the intention of improving a specific technique or developing their artistic style.

For example, a photographer who wants to work in conservation could create a project that includes landscape photos as well as photos of volunteers at clean-up days or close-ups of plants and animals found in the area. This will help potential clients see that you’re a good fit for their project.

5. Mixed Media

As the name suggests, mixed media involves incorporating two or more artistic mediums into one piece of art. This can include anything from painting and drawing to sculpture, collage and photography.

This technique can be as simple as combining wet and dry media, like acrylic paint or watercolor with oil pastels or graphite pencil. It can also involve using materials that might not traditionally be considered artistic, such as scrap paper or found objects.

Artist Kris Melchor uses a mix of gouache, Posca markers and colored pencil to create her dreamy landscapes, which you can learn to create in her Skillshare class. Other artists use different techniques, like Nigeria-born artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s textured paintings that combine painting and collage, or sculptor Yayoi Kusama’s mind-blowing infinity rooms carpeted with polka-dotted fabric phallic structures.

Push on to read more


leave a comment

Create Account

Log In Your Account