Alex is in a painting class. He painted in Oregon this last summer. He painted last spring for an English 10 project. And now this...
Since he paints at school, I was missing out on his progress, so when this came home I was really impressed with he'd done. He is taking this, and more in a portfolio, with him today when we go to a college fair for art schools. Today is National Portfolio Day.
I find it remarkable that he draws and sketches these images, these models, and he designs them... he knows how they work... what the gears and motors would do. It is a merging of art and engineering, from his mind to the paper. What a gift.
Oh. Hello Gilbert. It's been a while. You are like one of the family Gilbert.
Thank you for the positive feedback. I try to be objective, but you know, I am the mom... I love everything they create and do!
We were warned that Portfolio Day can be brutal. In a room packed with art college representatives and hundreds of talented and eager students (high school through graduate students) a straight-shooting professional artist makes an unsentimental analysis of student's work, giving the student criticism, and hopefully advice, or suggestions about their future. There was at least one horror story about a talented student leaving in tears. yikes
So, Alex, Suki, Grant, and James took a No Dashed Dreams Vow and we agreed to take everything in stride. James and I were along to help survey the scene and act as tactical shields in the event the critics were packing too much heat. Alex said he prepared himself by imagining the representatives keep shredders under the table, that they use for any art they deem unworthy. He said it gave him courage to imagine the worst.
I am so glad we went. Initially I was glad because we could see that navigating the room took some practice, and it was easy to see a few things that will help when they return next year... things like being more familiar with each individual school, and having particular schools singled out, having real-actual portfolios. It was brilliant having friends along, to hold papers, stand in place, find things, and offer support.
After Alex visited with a few schools, I am happy to report all the feedback was positive and encouraging. He even got worried that maybe they were "nice" to everyone, but then he saw some of those "dashed dreams" kind of episodes, which made him appreciate the affirmations he was hearing.
Seeing other art there, I noticed that his advantage in technical and design art is that he is engineering. His gears work. His gears and wires are intentional and purposeful, and this distinction really singled him out from students with similar themes... in fact he began to stump the representatives who appreciated that he was going beyond envisioning technical concepts, and rendering them artistically. He has a grasp of the science and the art, and they admitted it is a unique ability.
But where to go? No school could say for sure that they had a program that would teach to his dual interests and strengths. For instance... Pasadena Art Center suggested automotive design, but then admitted that their sleek graphics and concept drawings did not represent curriculum in mechanical engineering, innovation, invention. This kind of scenario played out at several of the schools, and it helped Alex conclude that he may want to focus on the engineering, and add art to his studies, rather than the other way around.
Overall, it was simply a worthwhile experience. No dashed dreams. And next time they can go in familiarized, and even more confident. It was a useful and encouraging first look for Alex to start to conceptualize what his academic future may be. I saw Suki have some great exchanges too. She is a talented artist, with work that shows character development, and a narrative. Bright, beautiful Suki... she is a work of art. I hope Grant heard appreciative remarks. The things I have seen him create, the performances he gives with his SteamPunked accessories are riveting.
I figured there would be a lot of students that looked like artists. You know what I mean? Like they would physically have their art on... in unique clothes, or jewelry, make-up, haircuts. Alex, Suki, Grant, and James went in their typical individual, colorful garb and they stood out. It was awesome actually, because without even opening their bags, or turning the pages of their sketchbooks they were already presenting their art, their true selves was actually on their heads and sleeves. And so even what they wore and how they presented themselves made positive artistic impressions that received enthusiastic responses. Yeah, I was not surprised that they did that, that is who they are... I was surprised there wasn't more of it from other artists. It was interesting.
Next year I am going to set up a table for... maybe Bird House Art Academy, and then I can enjoy looking at all of the amazing works of those hundreds of talented people. I would advise all to carry on with their dreams, to never give up! Never surrender!