Art students prepare portfolios for college

by Serena Deranleau, staff

As high school comes to a close for seniors, the question ‘what do you want to do after high school?’ is no longer trivial like it was in their freshman year. Future plans are around the corner in this new year for the graduating class, and artists interested in pursuing art further begin to solidify their plans. For many, this means procuring an art portfolio.

Ada Franey, senior, is among those applying to colleges as an art student. She has been interested in art her whole life. “Middle school is when I started getting really serious about it,” she said. With a combination of her parents both working in architecture and her middle school art classes intriguing her, she found a love for it.

Inspired by her favorite artists Alphonse Mucha and Simone Rocha, she has experimented with many types of art forms such as fashion sketches as well as sewn pieces, paintings, and drawing. Her favorites include three-dimensional fashion works and portraits.

Over the summer, Franey also got into printmaking, which is essentially to make a stencil that creates the same image over and over again, called an edition. She experimented with linocut and screen printing, two different methods of procuring the pieces.

“I think it’s a form of self-expression and I’m hoping to make a career out of it,” she said. She applied to many schools pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts. “Generally speaking, I’m applying into the fashion categories. Some are fiber science, some are textiles, one is more like fashion merchandising, but it depends on the school I go to,” she said.

While Franey is very focused on her future and how her passion for art plays a role in her education, art also plays a big role in her life personally. “I want it to be a real reflection of who I am. Something I’m working on is giving my art deeper meaning and I think that’s important when you create art,” she said.

“There’s a lot of people that say it’s not worth it, but I think if somebody genuinely enjoys art that you can make a career out of pretty much anything you want,” Franey said.

She’s excited that she was admitted to the Art Institute of Chicago but won’t hear back from her top choices until March.

When thinking back on her application process, Franey said the key to pursuing art in college is starting early. “You have to start early to get ready for it, but there are definitely options for people to go into something like a merchandising degree and find their path from there,” Franey said.

Senior Darby O’Neill also applied to college as an art student. O’Neill participates in a wide range of art forms including drawing and painting, theater, playing instruments, singing, song-

writing and dancing. A passion for art sparked after O’Neill discovered a love for graphic novels. “I think in 5th grade I got a copy of Raina Telgemeier’s ‘Smile’ at the scholastic book fair and I became obsessed with her,” they said. “I started to draw way more often, and it became a bigger part of who I am.”

O’Neill applied early action to two schools, the School of Visual Arts in New York and Cornish College of the Arts here in Seattle, and was admitted to both. O’Neill applied to the colleges’ illustration departments because they aspire to make graphic novels in the future, but says “illustration is really versatile, there’s a lot of different ways you can make those skills you learn applicable.”

As application dates rolled around, it was hard for O’Neill not to second guess their art in such a critical setting, but they said “it was really validating to hear ‘you got in!!’” A cross country move is a big endeavour to take, so O’Neill hasn’t committed to a college yet, but is pleased to go to either school.

Tenzin Lodoe, senior, is similar to Franey and O’Neill in that she’s making a portfolio of her arts well.

Lodoe likes to draw and experiment with fashion, and also dances. Her interest in art developed throughout her childhood. “I grew up with my Tibetan culture, which is my religion, and we have Tibetan tapestries and they’re super colorful and vibrant. Growing up with so much color was a big part of why I wanted to begin making art.”

Currently planning on going to community college, Lodoe plans to apply to art schools as a transfer student, and is starting early. “I want to study it more, I find the subject fascinating and learning about art history. I also want to get into clothes and learn how to incorporate that into style,” she said.

She plans on including her sketches and various works in her portfolio, with her favorite style being collages. In her daily life, she often thinks about what she wants to draw, and when she sees things she wants to incorporate in her work it inspires her to “make something that would show that same thing, but expressed in my way,” she said.

For all of the artists, pursuing education as an art student is a step forward to explore their unique futures with art. Postsecondary education in the arts provides access to experienced professors and mentors, equipment and studio space, and exposure, networking and job opportunities. “If you’re interested in pursuing art as a career, I think art school is a good way to go,” O’Neill said.