【What do you do in Art School?】Portfolio & 5 Years of Work

【What do you do in Art School?】Portfolio & 5 Years of Work


I’ve been studying art since 2012 and have
amassed a lot of artwork I did specifically for university. Let me show you a good amount so you can get
an insight into the development I had parallel to the art I produced for myself. These are the first pieces of art I did in
high school. With these I had some portfolio guidance in
which I was told to stick to a specific topic, so that my work would be more consistent and
easier to read what my goal was, rather than looking like a bunch of different people had
done it. From the comments on my previous videos I’ve
gathered that it’s a popular believe, that the teacher’s motivation is to push you
out of some comfort zone. But I’ve made the experience, that you’re
going to have a hard time as an artist, if you switch motives, media and style with every
painting. For example, why should they take you seriously
for gluing forks and spoons to a museum wall, when all you’ve done before was landscape
painting. So I started a sketchbook as I was recommended
to gather ideas by drawing and collecting illustrations and doing obligatory sketches
on the train. I finally found a topic that I was interested
in for that portfolio: Owls, which admittedly isn’t really innovative but apparently that
didn’t matter. Animals are a great topic for art projects
in general, because when people ask you what you are working on, you can always say you
are studying the feathers, their structure, fur and texture or that you are interested
in the formal elements that make the pattern. That makes it pretty easy to legitimize your
work compared to other topics like climate change, political activism and similar topics,
which all require you to demonstrate deeper involvement to explain your concept. But still, I am not used to working on one
topic so I had some other projects as well. One of the girls in the portfolio guidance
was recommended to collect dead birds and roadkill and to present it in vacuum bags,
which was weird. But because I thought that was a thing, it
influenced me somewhat in just drawing a dead opossum that would merge out of lines and
dissolve. I also had done a series of sketches that
were very linear. The portfolio guidance told us that as artists,
every line we do is done on purpose so why would we use an eraser? That would just mean we admitted a mistake,
which would decrease our credibility as artists. In that case I thought sketches done with
a continuous line are more convincing than accurate depictions of my motif. I also did a bunch of still lifes, because
I thought those shouldn’t be left out when applying for art. I used a book for portfolios for help, but
in the final presentation they didn’t really matter. Next are some analogue photographs that I
did in my first seminar, where I discovered photography for myself. We got some DSLRs and made a camera obscura
to work with. The professor was nice and questions like
“What makes photography art?” or if there were originals in photography really interested
me. Needless to say, a lot of the seminars I visited
were photography seminars. But at the same time I also visited a graphic
seminar that was about self portraits. I started with bringing a collage and an etching
I did in high school, but during the seminar I got inspired by the accuracy of Käthe Kollwitz’s
self portrait. It made me want to try that style as well. But the feedback I got directed me to become
more abstract. My hair was red at that time, so I used that
as a distinctive feature and mainly used red ink or blue for contrast. The more abstract and sketchy I worked, the
more accepting they became and after different approaches – even with pencils and fineliner
– I ended up using watercolor in a very rough manner. Next drawings are from nude painting lessons. While I have trashed the paintings after passing
the seminar, I have a few drawings left. We had 5 to 15 minutes for each pose, which
after a few tries made it obvious, that it wasn’t about naturalistically drawing or
painting the body. Rather it was about getting something down
on paper, focussing on composition and other aspects. That lead to weird situations like when after
15 minutes, one of the students had only drawn about three lines on the paper. She said, she couldn’t find the courage
to draw – or even attempt – the hand. This lead to the professor praising the non-attempt,
claiming that “It still works”. She gathered the students around the three
lines, trying to sell them as ‘done on purpose’, while the student was just unsatisfied with
their own performance. The next works are a linocut and two etchings. As you can see, I didn’t want to deny my
manga background completely. As I worked on the Kingdom Hearts linocut,
a fellow student recognized the game and was reminiscing about her past. Apparently her fear, that her interest in
manga would in some way become a disadvantage, caused her to give all her manga books and
everything related away. So she wouldn’t even consider consuming
them in private anymore? So I tried mixing manga motifs with a medium,
that today is only used for artistic expression. I also did an etching out of one of my digital
motifs that I worked on at that time, trying my best to get the hang of it. Out of admiration I then fully etched a manga
page from D.gray-man, to show that actual manga consists of more than big eyes and hentai. I wanted to make the contrast visible between
a manga page being a tiny part of a mass printed product and focussing on it being a delicate
and carefully handmade work of art. If you took every panel by itself, it probably
wouldn’t even look like manga on the first view. So I invested weeks of work carving line after
line in the foil, but of course it got roasted. That destroyed the idea of convincing people
who only stick to their own values. Me and my brother did a bunch of paintings
of faces. He studies design, but depending on the seminar,
design and art don’t really differ in my experience. Because designers also know, there is no better
way to sell your design than labeling it as contemporary art, which adds a touch of culture
to it. Anyway, the idea of this project was to deconstruct
what makes recognisable facial features, which isn’t really innovative, but was good enough
to use up some paints that otherwise would have dried out. And even though they had no other purpose
than being done for university, it was a lot fun to work on them freely, not caring about
proportions, wasting material or anything like that. I showed those to my professor and he really
hated them. But two weeks later I brought them with me
again and the exact same professor apparently didn’t remember his judgement from earlier,
praising it as a some kind of second Baselitz. I changed back to graphic and tried some new
things, like constructing room with lines or negative space. But that didn’t last long. Since manga wasn’t allowed, but in my free
time I also loved to do fanarts of musicians, I thought I could include that in a series
of nitro frottages. For that I used the watercolor paintings I
did and printed them on paper that you would use for an actual newspaper. With nailpolish remover I rubbed it on watercolor
paper the way you would do with an adhesive tattoo you got out of a gumball machine. Then I would use a wash of watercolor to add
another layer to it. Honestly, I hadn’t really had any idea where
I was going with that project, so I called it an experiment. Another project of that kind was a book named
after a colleague of mine, Melissa. It is a self-made book that was a group work
of her, Echolox and me and it contains pages filled with numbers. Those are the hex color codes of every single
pixel of a photo of Melissa. If you were to input them back into a computer,
they would recreate that photograph. At least we presented it that way. But in reality the picture we used for the
process was a fanart of Link and Dark Link from The Legend of Zelda we found on tumblr,
because we couldn’t be bothered to actually take a picture of Melissa. We knew the difference wouldn’t matter. We got highly praised for the book because
it seemed so intellectual for those who wanted to believe, but if you ask anyone with a little
knowledge of digital images, the whole thing turns out to be very trivial. Next project dealt with photography again. We were supposed to make a little booklet,
that gives an introduction to the basics of photography. So we were divided into groups to write a
text about the assigned topic. After that, the text as a whole was given
to everyone in order for us to illustrate the book in our own way. Usually you would use photographs to illustrate
the different aspects, but I was really interested in that whole Russian constructivism thing
so I wanted to try a different approach, using only schematic geometric shapes and a simplistic
color scheme. The aperture for example would be illustrated
by hexagons shaped out of surrounding triangles. After that I visited more photography seminars
again and another project dealt with the bio chemical department of our uni. The photos you see were done in those buildings
and laboratories. Photography in general was my favourite, because
I didn’t need to justify myself in a way I had to regarding my drawings and paintings. It was really all about what interests you
and there really was no limit. You even could use you cell phone if it supports
your concept. But after all, my passion still is drawing
and watercolor. So one day I brought another self portrait
among others that I received good feedback on. My other work was trashed but since that self
portrait apparently had conveyed something personal I was requested to keep working in
that direction. I did a series of portraits of myself and
my brother, which were criticized on a technical level. The sketch underneath the color would limit
me to only color in lines, so I should leave them out. This brought me to the series of Alice Glass
paintings which I talked about in the previous video regarding that topic. Since I wanted to do portraits for my exam,
I also needed to be influenced by something, because otherwise what would we talk about
in that oral exam? So they showed me Marlene Duma and Jenny Saville
and after watching some interviews of Marlene Dumas I found her quite sympathetic. I handled it the way I did in nude painting:
No sketches, painting something on paper that was initiated by photos of Alice Glass in
less than 2 to 5 minutes, not giving a damn about the accuracy, because as far as I knew,
that would only get me into trouble explaining myself. When I was asked in that exam what I did before
and after showing them my manga work, I knew studying art in my case is not about leaving
comfort zones, but knowing your audience. They just want to see work that is consistent
and would be accepted by those in the contemporary art scene. Please don’t understand this as me complaining. I just want to make you aware of how studying
art can be, before you apply for something you expect to be totally different. As I hope to make clear with this video I
accepted the situation and adapted to it, even though their methods often seem logically
inconsistent to me. For more on that, watch my previous video
“Why isn’t illustration art”.

100 thoughts on “【What do you do in Art School?】Portfolio & 5 Years of Work

  1. Seems art schools really differs from country to country. In my country I actually graduated as Illustrator! I did painting in expressionism, but my friend for example did book illustrations.We were allowed to choose what we like. One girl recently graduated with manga like comics.
    So,yeah, Your art school experience really surprises me. 🙂

  2. Glad I didn't go in art school. I love drawing but based on what you've said, art school isn't for me. I do not like abstract. Some I can enjoy looking at but rarely. Let alone doing it myself. Realistic scenery are great. I like precise line drawings, accurate and realistic representation. I love to see beautiful execution of something from reality. I just don't like stuff I can;t tell what it is… Maybe that's why I'm going engineering instead.

    But I can enjoy stuff not even from reality, something creative from fiction, anime or even mandala. Mandalas are pretty abstract right? I also enjoy just black and white art too. They aren't exactly realistic but I can appreciate it. Just not blurred randomly colored buildings and disfigured faces or random pieces of rocks strewn about.

    I guess that's because I like proper execution rather than conceptual creativity and expressiveness. Whatever that supposed to mean. I guess the artist have some sort of intention, but what's the point if I can't process what his thoughts were? The "viewer's interpretation" explanation is just stupid IMO.
    I'm fine with complex colorful random shapes. I think that require nice line work. In other words I can appreciate it for its execution. But expressiveness? If it is MY INTERPRETATION, then it doesn't express what the artist wants.
    I drew a still image of a busy Hong Kong street. Seems to lack "expressiveness" and what some would say "drawn for the masses" except it's not, I drew it because I enjoy the time I spent there and I'm born there. More over, I enjoy line drawings.

    Get out of my comfort zone also gets old. Getting out of my comfort zone would be painting. I'm not good at painting. Abstract to be is not out of my comfort zone since I don't feel it is "difficult" it just lacks proper execution. I just simply don't enjoy it. I like it nice and proper.

  3. This is why I never wanted to study art in Germany. It disgusts me and right on pisses me off that the art profs discredit you for your talent/skills, because they themselves have zero of that. At least that's what it looks like to me. And thus, we are faced with hordes of art graduates who were made to believe that art is only considered art if it is ugly and that you can even call yourself an artist without actually having any skill in the trade. And only such people then become art teachers. Why? I seriously don't know. What's so great about modern/post-modern art, where even a paper with a line on it could be considered art? Or like the teacher who praises a student for not even trying to draw a hand. This is wrong on so many levels.

  4. Stop, say no more…. the moment you said D.Gray Man I knew. All people have to say is that title.. and I'm in. Dude, thumbs up

  5. It used to be that no amount of exposure to art could ever be too much for an artist (good art, bad art, children's art, old art, old art, new art), but maybe we've reached some kind of threshold just by the gross volumes so easily available all around us. With the incredible variation from around the World available with a touch of a button, all blurring into one grey sameness. Especially without any significant movements in last 70 years or so – with singular vision, purpose/own manifestos etc. So just more fragmentation in society and getting lost in crowds of individualists. All trying to get noticed over the colorful clutter and static maybe. Does cultivating independent minds in society lead to alienation and intense loneliness? And is that a deliberate or unwanted consequence of mass media and mass consumption I wonder. At least Friends is still on TV.

  6. I think all of these is quite impresive but for some reason i cant help but think a big portion of what u showed is absolutly pointless .
    For example the melissa book, yes it took u time and effort to make it, yes the idea and the meaning behind it maybe well thought out, but damn
    at the end it's just an ureadable book

  7. This was a great video. You really challenge the concept of art and have created some phenomenal pieces. And that Melissa book concept? Absolutely beautiful.

  8. Your teachers sound like insane stuck up on their own lil ideas sons of bitches
    I can't even try to comprehend how they think it's a good idea to teach art like that.
    It's not a coincidence that the most remembered painters were heavily critisized when they started. They were the only ones ready to go outside the boundaries set by thoses so called art teachers. The pathetic excuses of human beings that work in thoses school do nothing but perpetuate this idiotic past.

  9. Most of the time… Fine art schools are a sham. And possibly fine art itself…
    I'd recommend going into comercial art schools like Ringling, Cal Arts, SVA, Art Center, NYU, USC, or RISD. I gaurentee you'll be way more professional and skilled than most art students around the world.

  10. When I did my BFA at let's say one of the top art schools in the country. I was in my my mid 40's and I had always an interest in anime but the entry into being a fan when I was young was expensive and encumbered so when I was in the dorms I would roll by the common room and see the students watching their favor anime on the TV. Many many of the students were fans and it was influencing their work. So I started to watch anime from those subbing web sights because I knew that if I was going to teach the young art students. I needed to know what the art form was about instead of dismiss it as I have seen many times. I am I fan I watch all the new stuff that comes out. STOP DRAWING ANIME!! if you want to learn how to draw original idea from you imagination. You go to art school to learn how to communicate your ideas. All those boring fundamentals teach you how to take your ideas and communicate them. Art school is not for everyone but if get in do think those instructors are closed minded because they didn't praise your art. You got in based on your portfolio. They think you have talent and they think you can do better. They are harder on themselves in their own work then they are on the students. you have to be willing to see were you can grow.

  11. Tbf Im not very fond of contemporary art, I much prefer your nice skectched out aquarelas of faces then the new ones. But I guess this is a matter of opinion.

  12. the title should be "what you may do in Art school" because clearly I don't think that I would have survive in this kind of school even though some parts seemed quite interesting ^^' I don't know much about germany but I think some more academics cursus should exist for those who aren't much into conceptual art, or don't want to get in without learning some good basics

  13. In your talking, art school sounds very stifling, putting down many of the ideas you enjoyed for sake of their judgement. Your work is beautiful and the concepts you worked with are very innovative to be honest. To me, some of the things your art teachers said come off as sanctimonious.

  14. It's only seeing experimentation like this now with other artists anecdotes, and looking back at my own high school / college art days, that I realise that the tutors really were just trying to push me towards trying new mediums and getting out of my comfort zone so that I could improve as a whole. Back then I was so stubborn to trying new stuff but it definitely helped me out so much in the long run! A retrospective like this is a perfect example of that. Fantastic work, thoroughly enjoyed seeing your evolution as an artist!

  15. 2:10 Is it wrong to admit you made a mistake? You were there to learn right. I'm at school to learn, make mistakes and get better. If I didn't make any mistakes I'd be swimming in moeny by now.

  16. Going to art college was one of my big regrets. Full of pretentious people who think they are special.

  17. Das Video ist zwar schon älter aber vielleicht liest du das ja doch noch irgendwann. Ich frage mich, wo genau du studierst oder studiert hattest. Deine Arbeiten und ausprobierten Techniken erinnern mich so sehr an meine damalige Akademie. Hinzu kommen noch die Aussagen der Professoren. Ich für meinen Teil liebe DEINE KUNST. 😉

  18. Hi Laovaan, ich bin gerade eben auf deine Seite gestoßen und das Thema, das du ansprichst finde ich äußerst spannend. Was, wann für wen Kunst ist und welche Rolle "manual skill" oder "das Handwerk" in der zeitgenössischen Kunst spielt, interessiert mich schon längere Zeit. Kennst du die Diskussionen um "deskilling" und "reskilling" im Kunstdiskurs, z.B. John Roberts, The Intangibilities of Form – Skill and Deskilling in Art After the Readymade oder die Schriften von Benjamin Buchloh oder Rosalin Krauss im Umfeld der Zeitschrift October?

  19. 8:00 : Ah, ich wusste, dass du Deutscher bist 😛 Du hast zwar wenig Akzent, aber irgendwie kam es mir doch bekannt vor, aber cool hier auch mal eine deutsche Perspektive zu hören

  20. i really like 3:31 dude, thats cool, flip of the teachers if they think iz ugly
    i also like 6:29
    also, im absolutely no art critic but the story of the book is actually, like a real good story mate, i think it makes it even better than just photo of the girl. just take some random photo 😂😂 it stands for deception, u should have ripped out a paper maybe for extra points, but rip out the paper so its visible and kinda portrudes but dont say anything till they notice. Signifying humbleness: i kinda did that on purpose but im not gonna say it till u notice.
    So the real story of the book is u decieve everyone, but let them think ur humble 😂😂😂 thats art mann, make up some bullshit and beat around the bush but it actually makes sense… wow,

    im gonna make art: a thick book with a big hole in it, like a 4 inch diameter hole trough the whole book, lots of scuff marks on the cover and make it look used. and then besides it … a thin book no scratch on it, maybe even a brand new childrens book or somethin. i would make up a story: the thick book has been used a lot to learn and read out but has no real content, while the thin book is untouched but has a lot of meaningful content. but it gets no attention because its thin, people choose the thick book because its thick. people like thick things i would say

    also, dont make too much paintings, that way they see u did them all real quick and didn't care, if u needed 4 paintings, i would make 3 paintings in 20 mins and bring a white piece of paper. i would say the 3 speak for the 4 th, and be like really convinced, like tell ur story as if u where watching titanic

  21. being taught art by people who can't even draw. Even the modern masters knew how to draw before they decided to deconstruct. Somehow, many have understood it as "we can abstain from working on technique, just put a concept on it". One of my friends does concept art , she works on nature shapes and organicity, it happens to look beautiful (you know, beauty is kind of a natural universal language, the eye likes it) well she's having a pretty hard time, because apparently producing something that the eye likes is a no go, no matter how much depth, work, even concept , you put into it. They labeled her as "decorative artist" which basicaly means dump. I only like performances (and artists like my friend ) now in the contemporary field , because at least , the artist has to work.

  22. Mm porque no subes tus videos subtitulada? , vi en uno q lo subiste subtitulada y me gusto ya q aun soy principiante en inglés, porfa sigue subiendo videos con sub título en español

  23. Nachdem ich eine woche zu einen workshop einer angesehenen Kunst-Uni war, alle meine zeichnungen als zu analytisch bezeichnet wurden und die Professoren einen ehemaligen bewerber gepriesen haben, der seine mappe in parmaschinken eingewickelt hat und angenommen wurde, ohne dass je jemand reingeschaut hat, habe ich auch gemerkt, dass diese welt wohl erstmal nichts für mich ist.

    Es tut mir trotzdem furchtbar leid dass du so eine frustrierende erfahrung gemacht hast und ich kann und will einfach nicht glauben, dass das überall so ist. Am meisten ärgert mich doch, dass man um zu abstrahieren und bewusste künstlerische Entscheidungen zu treffen ja erstmal die grundlagen können sollte. So viele große moderne künstler haben erstmal ganz akademisch realismus gelernt, damit das endprodukt eben nicht nur zufall ist. Wieder mal wäre ein mittelweg zwischen präzision und freiheit so wichtig! Zumindest in der schule, damit man später die wahl hat, ich welche richtung man seine kunst lenken will und nicgt auf einen stil eingeschränkt ist.

  24. MANGA is NOT for Higher Standard artists, it is for those who prefer Graphic or anything like that! Like I said: Michelangelo & I , never use erazers!!!

  25. This whole series seems to me to be statement that would, of itself, be considered "High Art". Were you my student I would be encouraging your breadth of interest, undoubted talent and prolific output. Perhaps film is an area to explore? You are young and have years to develop. Don't be disheartened, I expect to hear your name uttered by the great & good in years to come!

  26. für welche Unis hast du dich denn beworben und würdest du sie empfehlen? Ich muss mich nächstes Jahr bewerben, aber ich fühle mich so unvorbereitet 🙁

  27. Ich überlege mir auch gerade ob ich kunst studieren soll aber das problem ist die joblage wen du nicht permanent arbeitslos seien willst sollte man kein kunst studieren auser man wird kustlehrer. das habe ich mir auch schon überlegt bin mir aber echt nicht sicher ;( na ja habe noch ein wenig zeit bis ich abi habe 🙂 tolles video fand es mega intressant wie es ist kunst zu studieren sry das dein professor nicht offen für deinen still war aber ich glaube er wollte dir die beste chance geben deine kunst zu verkaufen und in der westlichen kunstgeschichte war manga noch nie dominant. Trotzdem tolle projekte 🙂

  28. You went to study only to find out that your professors didn't teach you a thing 😀 It's fine to make a bunch of paintings for a limited time but where are those yearly long projects? I'd rather seek quality over quantity

  29. What university did you apply to? I'm from germany and at the moment I'm in Japan to work on my portfolios for universities. I'm doing a lot of research about portfolios so it would be interesting to know which one you applied with part of these pictures.

  30. Hahaha directly recognised the count-dracula-owl xD When I first saw it in a video I laughed for 20 minutes straight xD

  31. Das eine Buch war in Deutsch und du hast auch nen Akzent.
    Jetzt meine Frage:
    Gibt es Art schools in Deutschland?

  32. Either you were an art prodigy or art school worked for you while you weren't looking. You showed very little that I wouldn't be proud to hang on my wall.

  33. The art program i did for me a.s. degree was what made me not want to continue in formal art school… I learned quickly that everything had to have deep meanings and speak to te masses…. They focused on gallary type works and it made me sad to hear fellow students have those goals…. Mostly bc i saw it as learn a circle of b.s. deep meanings to get thru critic and hate what you make….

    I stood out alot bc i refused to conform to that, heavily influenced by manga and creepy illustration artists. I wanted to go into projects telling about me, not some obscure thought i didnt even agree with. On graduation day i was told by the professor who i fought with the most that i was hard headed but thwt was why i would make it and most of her students wouldnt…. She said i had a drive to create and tell stories and while many would settle for a local museum gallary at best, i wouldnt.
    At the end of the day i believe art is a luxury, but also when done in legal manner like seeing art in the hands of everyone, like manga or tshirt art. And with a view like that my goals just keep expanding over time to get art in the hands of many and not just on a gallary wall that only a few may actually stop and look at deeply

  34. I hate how a lot of places dislike anime. There are people who do make pretty good money selling anime like art work though. I think places should be guiding to help your technique more so then telling you what you can and can not do.

  35. you seem to be be an artist, despite, not at all because of … your "education". It's a sad state of education that your experience reveals to us viewers, but that you have resided and indeed grown through these struggles with art authority, is inspiring. You are so good at putting to words complex feelings and subtleties of experience that I believe it shows you to be a person with art alive inside of you. You would put art into any field you take up as a passion. It is clear you could be a writer if you chose that as your path. The establishments opposition to details of your preferences have honed you art, your voice – not hindered it. Perhaps a slightly sarcastic "thank you" to your Professors is in order after all. 🙂

  36. I'm glad you reconciled yourself to the art school process. It's wonderful for people to get some training in conceptual art and even if you're not going to work this way again, I imagine your other art will benefit from all the experimentation you've done.

    I love your etchings, by the way.

  37. Boy, I battled with most my professors none stop. They knew first and foremost I cared about illustration art, they knew I had a goal that I was working forward and yet professor after professor continued to try to push me this way or that away. I even had a professor tell me, "you're going to grow out of that stuff eventually." When you're a sequential artist going to a fine art school, you will meet some artist who just aren't your audience and you just have to power through.

  38. Hey im Sure that youre experience at a Art school isnt Universal applicable for everyone, at which Universität did you study ?

  39. Son Kunststudium wär wirklich nichts für mich. Ich würd mich so beschränkt und bevormundet fühlen… Klar kann man evtl viel von den Leuten lernen aber allein schon dass sie Mangas bei dir immer komplett abgelehnt haben, da hätt ich schon gewusst – das is nichts für mich. Erfahrung bringts halt trotzdem, von daher isses ja aber nich umsonst.

  40. kann man dein Buch ueber Fotographie irgendwo kaufen oder so? es sieht so schoen aus und mich persoenlich interessiert Fotographie auch sehr~ ^^

  41. about the hex codes… did you use a software or sth to generate the hex code of every single pixel or did you really click at every pixel and write down the hex code ;D

  42. Picasso hated art schools and the art establishment. I see nothing has changed as to the reasons why.

  43. OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    THAT MANGA WAS FROM D GRAY MAN!!!!!!!!!
    ALLEN WALKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

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