Teen Portfolio Project: Self Portraits

What Do Art Schools Look For In A Portfolio?

When Art school admissions officers are going through the hundreds of portfolios submitted each year, they are on the look out for standout pieces that show evidence of original thinking.  In addition to demonstrating a mastery of observational drawing in a variety of media and techniques, they want to see see who you are as an artist. They want to see that winning combination of quirky, strange, off beat expressiveness that makes you uniquely you. Self portraits are a great way to tell them something about yourself.

These are some self portraits that were done in this summer’s Teen Portfolio Intensive at Bass Arts Studio.


Art from photos is usually a big no no, however, I believe this in this painting, the creativity and self expression trump the fact that it was done from a photograph.  The artist “art directed” the photo with the intention of communicating  something about herself. There is a  poetic and dreamy feel to this piece. I love the composition and the way she created the flowing texture in the hair, and the beautiful pattern on the pillow.


Daniella is applying to Art school for animation.  She has a graphic sensibility.  I love the quirky and out of the box interpretation that this whimsical self portrait portrays.

While this campy self portrait is a bit edgy, it sure is eye catching. Katie demonstrates a good understanding of creating form using value and color.  Her use of black and white and the tension of the strong diagonal of the rope creates a very strong composition. Katie is only in 8th grade! She is well on her way to creating a portfolio, and she has plenty of time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *