AP Art students choose their concentrations

By Grace McQueeny

Nina Palumbo, Div. 029, wields her sharpened pencils and charcoal to bring a surrealist interpretation of the frustration of the modern day businessman into her AP portfolio. The drawings featured in her concentration section will capture the overwhelming, suffocating

frustration she imagines them feeling on a day-to-day basis. Like Palumbo, Lane AP Art students have begun working to bring social, economic and personal issues into their portfolios.

After spending the last four months compiling the “breadth” section, which contains miscellaneous works, they began the concentration component of their portfolios. All 12 pieces in this section must relate to a similar look or idea.

“I am making portraits and human body figures,” said Izabela Ferat, Div. 020. “They will [have the] abstract meaning of the seven deadly sins.”

Marina Diaz, Div. 172, is also making human portraits for her concentration. However, she has a different “vision” for them.

“I am making heads with extra large eyes,” said Diaz. “It will be a window to their soul.”

Diaz’s first piece is a human head with hands encircling it and huge eye sockets filled with smaller faces.

Ashurina Atto, Div. 034, is also experimenting with body parts in her concentration in order to express her personal childhood struggle.

“I could never hear well,” said Atto. “I was always made fun of and yelled at for not paying attention.”

Atto is creating installation sculptures composed of ears that she will sculpt of white clay.

“[My lack of hearing] made communication difficult, and I am someone who listens to people,” she said.

AP Art teachers witness each student’s progress throughout the year and have a positive outlook on their students’ expanding portfolios.

“Based on their breadth work, I am confident [that] the students have the potential to do really creative work,” said AP Photography teacher Ms. McMeans.

AP Studio Art: 2D teacher Mr. Ceh believes that most of his AP students have equally creative or even better work than most college students.

Using a different medium, AP Studio Art: 2D students first draw their ideas in a sketchbook, then transfer them on a canvas, and finally paint or draw their final piece. Mr. Ceh requires them to make an entry in their sketchbook each day.

Palumbo chose a concentration of charcoal drawings that illustrate a business man and his so-called “perfect life.” She was inspired by the 1950s and 60s ideal of the perfect family and the TV show, Mad Men.

“My concentration will reveal his feelings of frustration,” said Palumbo. “He has everything, yet he is still unhappy.”

Her first piece shows a businessman’s profile with office supplies flying out of his mouth.

Arturo Aldama, Div. 052, chose to use watercolors to create a surrealist representation of humanity’s impact on the environment.

“My first piece was a strawberry with fish in it,” said Aldama. “There are strawberries immune to the cold [because they are created] with fish genes.”

AP Photography students attempt to bring unique perspectives into their concentrations using both staged and candid photos.

“I prefer to take pictures of people,” said Sarah Lee, Div. 052. “It is easier and more interesting.”

Lee, whose concentration will illustrate her unique friends and city life, does not like to set up her shots. Instead, she likes to capture natural moments.

Rebeca Veloz, Div. 036, however, is staging her pictures for her concentration. By using wooden crosses and string, she wants to make the people in her shots appear as “puppets on a string.”

“I got the idea from Psychology,” said Veloz. “Society influences what we do, and we think we have free will when we don’t.”

AP Art students must complete their portfolios by May 7. Depending on the course, each student has one or two weeks to finish a piece.

“Every week, we get 2 rotations in the dark room,” said Lee.

“If their pieces aren’t AP quality, [we] either critique it, or they trash it,” said Ceh.

Ceh explains that the concentration is the most difficult part of the portfolio, and that many students change theirs after they begin working on them.

“It is not easy to pick a concentration,” said Danielle Larsen, Div. 043. “The whole portfolio is based on a good concentration idea.”

Students are told to think about what is important to them or what bothers them to help inspire the focus for their concentration.

“Students usually find it difficult to narrow down their ideas to one main focus,” said McMeans. “The topic must be broad enough to spend three months on, but specific enough to show actual concentrated thought.”

Since nearly all AP Art students are seniors, many are deciding whether or not they want to incorporate art into their careers.

“I could be an art dealer,” said Larsen, who plans on going to art school next year.

“I am planning on doing this as a hobby,” said Aldama. “I want to go into computer design.”

Palumbo, who is already enrolled in the American Academy of Art, wants to do art direction, storyboard arts, and posters.

“I also want to publish my own comic book,” said Palumbo.

Instead of pursuing photography, Lee wants to be an art history teacher.

“What better way to learn about art than to do it yourself?” said Lee.