The college application process is no easy ordeal, looming over students’ heads all throughout high school. The focus on grades, test scores, extracurriculars, essays, and relationships with teachers is almost unbearable for even the best of students. However, imagine on top of all of this having to send a portfolio to colleges and being judged on your creative abilities. We’ve all doodled in our notebooks countless times, but not on a college-level. The application process of a prospective art student is quite different from that of a typical applicant. To learn more, the Globe interviewed two senior artists, Jackie Devore and Mary McMillan, who are both planning to study art at Northeastern University and Skidmore College, respectively.
When did you first become interested in art?
Mary McMillan: I’ve always been interested in art. Ever since kindergarten I would bring crayons and construction paper to the playground.
Jackie DeVore: Art is just something that I have always been surrounded by. I took my first art class freshman year though so I would consider that as when I first started being interested in art.
Would you consider AP Art one of your hardest classes? Why?
MM: I think AP Art is one of my most time consuming classes. You can be done with a math assignment, but you can always put more work into your piece. It is still challenging- you really have to push yourself to make your best work for your concentration.
JD: I would consider it just a big time commitment. We are supposed to spend upwards of ten hours on each piece and that can be difficult. The time commitment is what makes it difficult.
How does the class work?
JD: Since it is an AP, we have an AP exam in the form of a portfolio. During class we just work on pieces for our concentration section of our portfolio. Your concentration can be on anything you want and consists of 12 pieces. The other two sections are the breadth section and quality section. Our homework for the class are our concentration pieces. So, the class really focuses on the portfolio. It is a class that definitely pushes you to make your best work too.
What made you decide you wanted to study art in college?
MM: I decided to study art in college because it is my passion. It’s always been a part of my life. I believe that art is my purpose; I want to continue to pursue it and improve my skills in order to become the artist I want to be.
JD: It’s just always been what I wanted to do. I never thought about doing anything else. I really committed to studying art in college after I picked up Design Studio junior year. Design Studio helped me identify all the different ways in which I could pursue art as a profession.
Do you draw or paint for fun or to relieve stress?
MM: I am always working on a bunch of pieces, it’s usually for pleasure or my concentration. Creating art is very therapeutic and has definitely soothed me during stressful times at school.
JD: I do not draw for fun, but I do like to design things for fun and to relieve stress. This is one of the ways I determined I wanted to major in Graphic Design. People always say do what you love and I really love Design and can imagine doing it the rest of my life.
What is your favorite piece?
MM: A piece of mine that I really like is my Vans drawing. It’s one of my favorite pieces because it reminds me of my shoes and the memories I’ve had with them. I also like it because it shows how far I’ve come as an artist.
JD: A favorite piece of mine is a graphite drawing that looks up at Saturn. It is one of my favorites because it was the first piece I actually committed a lot of time to and was proud of.
How did you decide which pieces to submit in your portfolio?
MM: I made sure there was diversity in terms of mediums and that there was interesting mark making. I had to create a lot of still-life pieces because that’s what a lot of colleges look for in a portfolio.
JD: We come up with our concentration at the beginning of the year and discuss it with our teacher. From there, we make 12 pieces for homework that will make up our concentration for our portfolio. The breadth section is 8 pieces that consist of any work we want. The quality section is 5 pieces that show our best work. The quality section can include work that is already a part of your concentration or breadth section.
What do you usually do when you make a mistake on a piece and you weren’t using pencil?
MM: I will try to fix the mistake by altering the drawing or painting. You can manipulate the piece pretty well if you’re using acrylic paint or even colored pencil. In terms of creating pieces with India ink and markers it’s a bit harder to fix, but I can usually figure it out. What is your favorite type of art to do and why?
JD: My favorite medium is graphite pencil, but I really love graphic design. I am majoring in Graphic Design in college. Graphic design really brings together all forms of art and mediums into one.
By Sam Masters