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Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

Students give a sneak peak into their art portfolio

AP Studio Art students progress on their collection due in May.
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Photo by Stephanie Cheng
Senior Narciso Valenzuela Alvarez takes a break from her portfolio to focus on another piece. “Most of the time I work on a piece, I portray myself and what I feel,” Valenzuela Alvarez said. “For example in that piece I wanted to portray how I see myself and express that [on the paper].”

As the first semester comes to a close, the progression of AP Studio Arts students’ artwork is evident as they compile their AP exam portfolios due early May 2024.

AP Studio Arts students complete a portfolio of 15 artwork pieces which are graded in place of a typical AP exam. Creative liberty is given to students over their portfolio theme and they may use a variety of mediums such as paint, ink, pencil and digital platforms. As part of the AP Studio Arts portfolio format given by The College Board, students utilize a process called sustained investigation which explores an idea, technique or art concept in their artwork. Influenced by types of media, societal pressures and even personal anecdotes, the students’ inspiration is reflected in their portfolios.

“The theme [of my portfolio] is what goes through the high school girl’s mind. The first [piece] I did was about an eating disorder and now I’m doing a girl that’s being burnt out,” junior Isabella Young said. “I thought that was interesting because no one really talks about it. [I like] drawing things that people just don’t notice enough [or] aren’t talked about enough. I like bringing attention to [them].”

Some students connected to their subject matter on a personal level. Senior Narciso Valenzuela Alvarez’s portfolio explores life’s metamorphosis and the growth that comes with it.     

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“My portfolio is about [physical] transformation, like leaving an old body behind [for] the continual growing person,” Valenzuela said. “The meaning of transformation is really important in my life because it [means] allowing you to grow as a person.”

Students poured hours of time into working on the completion of their pieces. Junior Yahari Araoz learned to balance the rigorous workflow on pieces alongside schoolwork.

“It’s difficult to balance time because each piece requires hours, but I separate my time in a schedule,” Araoz said. “[My portfolio] is surrounding your identity as you get older. I struggled a lot trying to find myself because of the amount of times I moved homes and places, so I thought it would be a good way to illustrate that.”

When creating pieces, students have the opportunity to explore numerous techniques, use a range of art mediums and push their artistic capabilities. Senior Jason Chen conveyed his portfolio theme using his unique art style, inspired by the media he consumes.

“My artwork is pretty dramatic, the environment has saturated colors. [My theme] is to just be different, be unique,” Chen said. “I want to try out different styles. I don’t want to lock myself into only one texture or one kind of stuff.”

Every student has their own artistic individuality along with a unique subject matter that is rooted from a deeper meaning.

“[The art] tends to be best when there’s some sort of concept behind it, not just technical things. [Students] come up with things they feel passionate or strongly about, maybe personally what they go through [or] things they are dealing with,” AP Studio Arts teacher Michelle O’Shields said. “You could have [pieces] as serious as depression or as light-hearted as loving food. Even though it’s seemingly happier, it’s more surface level. It’s not just, ‘Yay, food,’ but it’s also like how does it relate to you? Is there something special about gathering for a meal with family or friends? What do certain foods mean culturally and societally?  I always talk about it being like an iceberg where your main idea [is] the top portion, but we want to unearth the entire thing, the huge meaty part of every subject matter.”

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About the Contributor
Ava Kaleah David, Staff writer
Hi! My name is Ava Kaleah David, and I am a ninth grade staff writer for The Hoofprint. Outside of The Hoofprint, I am on the girl's frosh volleyball team. I love quality time with family and friends, Hawaii, photography, my dog Mochi, and listening to music (especially Taylor Swift)!
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