Advanced Placement Studio Arts 12
WHAT IS ADVANCED PLACEMENT STUDIO ART?
“The AP program in Studio Art is intended for highly motivated students who are seriously interested in the study of art. Students should be made aware that AP work involves significantly more commitment and accomplishment than the typical high school course.” -College Board
The AP Studio Art Portfolio consists of three sections – Quality, Concentration and Breadth. The Quality Section provides the student the opportunity to show their actual ability and “ permits the students to select the works that best exhibit a synthesis of form, techniques, and content.” The Concentration Section “asks the student to demonstrate a depth of investigation and process of discovery”. And the Breadth section asks students to “ demonstrate a serious grounding in visual principles and material techniques.” For the Quality section, the student sends in five actual artworks. For both the Concentration and Breadth, students submit twelve slides each. The three sections are scored separately by different evaluators but are weighed the same. The three scores are then combined and the medium becomes the score of the portfolio.
"Quality refers to the total work of art - the concept, the composition and technical skills demonstrated, and the realization of the artist's intentions. It can be found in very simple and elaborate works. For this section of the portfolio, students are asked to select examples of their very best work in which the evaluators will recognize quaility and will perceive that these works develop the students' intentions, both in concept and execution." -The College Board
For the Concentration Section of the portfolio, students are asked to research, investigate and explore different artists, art styles and cultures to help determine their interests in subject matter, medium and technique. With this information in hand, they formulate a thesis statement for developing “a body of related works based on an individual’s interest in a particular idea expressed visually. It focuses on a process of investigation, growth and discovery” not on the product.
This year some of the student statements are as follows:
" I chose to focus on abstract expressionism as my concentration in order to reach my ultimate vision. I began my research by studying Mark Rothko and expanded into the works of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. My love for abstract art has derived from these masters and their unique use of media. throughout my experiences with my own work I have come across a variety of materials and concepts. my ideas range from visions in dreams, to expressing deep emotions, to reacting to personal surroundings. With this, I hope to portray my statement." -Kristen DeMarco
"I believe art is a mechanism of self expression. Through artwork, I express feeling, opinion and creativity. For my concentration I have chosen to express my feelings of various places in and around my hometown of Baltimore. Some scenes appear inviting whilst others give a sense of coldness and solidarity. I try to represent this through color, mark making and composition.” – Jessica Nyce
"For my AP concentration I am focusing on compiling works of simple, everyday objects in a repetitive style. I concentrated on pushing color and working with a vast variety of materials. I also worked on making my artwork fun and visually pleasing for all ages. I focused on, and studied in depth, the works of Wayne Theibaud and Candy Jernigan who both basically have work consisting of my concentration subject and ideas.” – Jen Bengel
For the Breath Section, students are asked to demonstrate their diverse ability in media and subject matter, from observational to abstract to imagination. In the beginning of the year the course is focused on achieving this goal. Specific assignments are given both in class and for outside assignemtns. In addition, a list of 30 different problems is posted in the classroom. These problems particularly address using a variety of media and subject matter to enhance their portfolio.
APPROACHES TO CONCENTRATION: IDEAS AND EXECUTION
Focusing on a Body of Work
When I first faced a group of students and tried to explain the ideas behind Concentration, I stopped and pondered: How do I explain the concept of producing a series of sequential visual images -- images growing from images -- to help explore in greater depth a particular visual concern? Additionally, would secondary students understand and be able to sustain an interest in a truly expanded-upon idea?
To begin with, I did not have any examples or slides of students' Concentration work to show. What I did have were assignment sets of past students' work in slide form and some personal work. As I showed each slide, I explained the criteria behind each assignment and how those criteria could be expanded into a body of related work. When the students looked at the slides, they noted the similarities of the concepts evident in the works, the numerous ways the same concepts could be approached, and the various ways identical materials could be explored. This exploration gave us some concrete structures to apply when approaching Concentration ideas.
Since then I have found additional avenues that help clarify the idea of a body of related works, including showing a series of works by an individual artist. The AP student can then be made aware of commonalities in the artwork by identifying the subject matter, working techniques, concepts being explored, multiple approaches to a body of work, and the numerous ways the same material could be expanded upon.
When this process of identifying commonalities or characteristics is completed, the students are encouraged to describe the subject matter, elements, and principles of art being used, and the working techniques. Analyzing the structure(s) of the related pieces and interpreting any concepts being presented is the next step. These analytical processes may be articulated further or replaced by having students explore an individual artist's or a group of artists' work and report back to the class. Another approach to consider is having students find commonalities in their own work or the work of another artist in terms of strengths, areas to be worked on, or subject matter. Groups or pairs of students may also help each other to find these similar attributes in their work.
All of these strategies may be expanded upon or condensed to meet the unique needs of any individual student or school curriculum. There is no single correct approach to explaining the idea of what defines a Concentration.
Developing Student Ideas
Once the concept of a Concentration is presented and understood, the student needs to develop his or her own ideas. This is the moment every visual art student has been waiting for. They continually ask, "When can we do what we want to do?" In nine out of ten cases, however, they have no idea of what to do -- especially in terms of an in-depth exploration of a particular concern in the visual arts. In many instances, developing a visual language that carries through a series of related works is the most problematic aspect of the entire AP portfolio.
To ease into finding ideas for the Concentration, the student first needs to inventory his or her personal likes and dislikes. In the beginning, the responses may be very simple -- single words or sentences listed on a sheet of paper. As the likes and dislikes are explored further, they must be expanded upon. The student needs to explain how other influences are brought into, or become part of, the idea he or she wishes to pursue, and to explain why this idea can serve as the basis of an in-depth exploration. All AP participants need to realize that a Concentration is not just a series of drawings of cats, cars, horses, emotions, and so on, appropriated from magazine images that appeal to them. Nor is the Concentration found one week prior to the submission of a portfolio by searching for commonalities in a group of divergent works. The individual must come to "own" her or his imagery, whether objective or nonobjective, based on personal contact, history, manipulation, observation, research, or a combination of these. By feeling deeply comfortable or involved with a Concentration, the AP student can continue to explore various approaches to the concept being developed.
The Think Sheets available below were put together by my colleague Mary Michaelson and me. They are, of course, presented as an example of one of the many models used and not as the definitive model. Sheets like these help the student begin to focus on some personal concerns. By probing his or her personal history for favorite memories of people, places, and events, the student begins to see the potential in the spectrum of sequential ideas: A specific series of thoughts can lead into a specific series of images. Further investigation or articulation needs to take place to help identify materials, techniques, artists, and styles that are of interest to the student. By delving into the mechanics of making visual images, the student will begin to identify, articulate, and develop an aesthetic. Finally, as the series evolves, the student's personal mark-making approaches and compositional preferences develop.
Think Sheet 1- Identification of Commonalities in a Series of Artworks.pdf
Think Sheet 2- Developing Visual Images in Art -- Part I.pdf
Think Sheet 3- Developing Visual Images in Art -- Part II.pdf
Think Sheet 4- Developing Visual Images in Art -- Part III.pdf
The entire Concentration needs to grow out of a preplanned set of goals and objectives set by the student and teacher before beginning the series. These goals and objectives then become the basis for the written commentary that will accompany a Concentration slide. These beginning statements may be expanded upon and altered as the series of work is explored. The student must answer the following questions for the Concentration:
Just as the teacher sets standards and outcomes for various classroom assignments, the student must do the same for the Concentration. With the three portfolios -- 2-D Design, 3-D Design, and Drawing -- students will be able to pursue Concentration ideas in a multitude of media. By knowing what they are striving for, AP students can only strengthen their work.
AP Studio Art portfolio Examples.pdf
Check out this website for more examples of Concentration, Breadth, Quality and Artist statements:
ART: IMAGES AND IDEAS TEXTBOOK
Art- Images and Ideas Intro.pdf
Art- Images and Ideas Chapter 1.pdf
Art- Images and Ideas Chapter 2.pdf
Art- Images and Ideas Chapter 3.pdf
Art- Images and Ideas Chapter 4.pdf
Art- Images and Ideas Chapter 5.pdf
Art- Images and Ideas Chapter 7.pdf
Art- Images and Ideas Chapter 12.pdf
UNDERSTANDING ART, IS IT ART?
1- Should Art be Beautiful.pdf
2- Does Art have to tell a Story.pdf
3- Should Art be Realistic.pdf
4- Which Comes First the Art or the Idea.pdf
5- Does Art Express Emotions.pdf
6- Is Art an Object or is it a Process.pdf
7- What is the Difference between Art and Popular Culture.pdf
8- Can Art Change Society.pdf
9. Understanding Art