Did someone say portfolio?

Did someone say portfolio?

Posted 18 Jan 2012


We interrupt my normal rambling about general happenings and so forth to bring you a special Arts section, today's blog is slightly different. Recently a lot of prospective students have been keen to know about how they should put together portfolios and tips for upcoming interviews. So I've made a little top tips for applying to arts courses, whether it's a foundation or degree. Let's get cracking!

1. Quality over quantity. I know a lot of students in the past who have thrown all of their work into a portfolio, thinking that quantity is everything. Sorry to burst the bubble but it's not, because if you did choose quantity over quality it's like shooting yourself in the foot. From the interviewer's point of view the quantity of work might suggest a whole range of messages. For example it's like you are unable to reflect upon your own practice and highlight your own success. Or that you simply don't care about the varying standards of work.
2. Supporting Material. Some universities may specify this but it's good to have a couple of sketch books and reflective note books with your portfolio, as they offer an insight into what you're thinking and how you approach your practice. Also it is pretty good to able to show that you take consideration in what you do. For example at my interview I had sketch books to show that I was constantly developing my work. Another great thing to see is evidence of drawing. Drawing is an important skill on any art course so it is crucial to show examples of your drawing, e.g. life drawing
3. Presentation. Always mount on white paper, never anything else. Although white is a clinical colour at the same time it's completely neutral. Also spacing; if you have photos to show you need to consider what size you would like them and how close together. My preference is to have them quite close but a lot of people have different opinions, but one thing to keep in mind is not to over-crowd the page with work. Finally the size to mount work on; this is debateable however I was always told A1 for the sheets (if you've been told any differently by a tutor or university then go with what they've said).
4. Ordering your work. Put what you think is your strongest work at the front and from there try to create a visual harmony between the works. Side by side, lay out in order your work and see how it reads together.
5. Talk the talk. Moving on from the portfolio to the interview, at this point if you've been offered an interview then it means you've made a good impression through your work and personal statements. Remember that the work supports you; your portfolio is there to show off how good you are. That might sound a bit egotistical but when you work in art you are putting yourself out there to be judged and you always want to be judged well. The interviewers will be more interested in you so expect questions about your interests and practice. They will most likely ask ‘why?' an awful lot so be prepared to explain everything.
6. Don't let your Nerves get the better of you. It's okay to be nervous; it means that you really care about what you're doing. But try to be relaxed and confident, and if you are it will really show through.

I know it's a lot to take in but I tried to be as detailed as I could and I hope it's helped, but ask me if you're still unsure. Next time we will resume normal ramblings of what I got up to, like when I went to the Ice sculpting festival in London. Bye for now and good luck to those making their portfolios!

About Emma

Course: MA Media & Communications
Level: Postgraduate
Hometown: Reading

Other information: I deferred my place and took a gap year before starting at Kingston for my BA in Fine Art. I graduated in 2013 and started my MA in Media & Communications, also at Kingston. I am a Kingston University student ambassador. I chose Kingston because... it offered me the right environment for me to expand in. The course gave me freedom to practise my interests and offered me more facilities and guidance than other universities. I also fell in love with the town; it felt right ...

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Answered 6 months ago by Emma in Applying to university
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