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Portfolio Day, worth it or not?

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Hi everyone! This is my first year applying for my MFA and doing the whole rodeo, and as a non-art world person (B.S in Chemistry '13, been working for the FED in the meantime) I am a tad confused on portfolio day, and would appreciate any input on the topic. 

I checked the portfolio day website (portfolio.net), and since there are only 3 Graduate portfolio days, I'm wondering if its something I should do. I work primarily in ceramics and mixed media, both of which would be much too large to transport. SO the big question is really, is it worth it to go? Or should I just stick with school visits?

Thanks so much!

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Hey 09, so, I'm also a non-art-world person and I went last year to the portfolio day -- a whole year early -- on the theory that more information's better than less, and I wanted to hear some people critique my work (and see how they would respond to my unusual background). My work has since drastically changed but I still think it was a very worthwhile experience. Getting a sense for how subjective the process was one key benefit, seeing which schools or which types of schools really respond to your work is another, as are making some connections, getting feedback on how to improve your portfolio and refine your concept, and checking out some new schools you might not have considered before. I will most likely go again this year with my actual portfolio.

One other thing to consider: Each school varies to what extent they'll look at your portfolio when you come for a visit. A friend of mine said a number of schools she's interested in do NOT want you bring your work when you visit (I suppose they want to make sure the decisions they make in the admissions committee are unbiased?). Some schools don't even really do visits. Others only have an open house and it seems that they don't do the individual meet-and-greets and portfolio reviews there. So I wouldn't necessarily rely on visits alone since each school seems to do things a bit differently in that regard. 

If you do decide to go to the portfolio day, one piece of advice that I learned the hard way: show the reviewers POLISHED documentation of your work. No half-assed studio shots or works in progress. But you do not need to bring original art; showing them photos/videos on a laptop or tablet is totally fine. Some people also had color reproductions in a binder. 

 

Edited by Relm

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Worth it to go and meet people face to face. During a visit you will likely be nowhere near anyone with anything to do with admissions i.e. the Professors and you will likely get no individual feedback on your work. It was fascinating to be able to see their responses to my work. 

I recommend bringing 8x10 printed photos, people feel real joy being able to hold something in the real world in their hands vs a digital interface. I did this in another context and it worked great. I printed them out on HP premium photo photo paper at home. 

If you have a top school find reasons to write and meet the top Professor. Personal interactions have great impact, especially if you and them connect over something they will remember and want you around.

Good luck! 

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Hey 09, so, I'm also a non-art-world person and I went last year to the portfolio day -- a whole year early -- on the theory that more information's better than less, and I wanted to hear some people critique my work (and see how they would respond to my unusual background). My work has since drastically changed but I still think it was a very worthwhile experience. Getting a sense for how subjective the process was one key benefit, seeing which schools or which types of schools really respond to your work is another, as are making some connections, getting feedback on how to improve your portfolio and refine your concept, and checking out some new schools you might not have considered before. I will most likely go again this year with my actual portfolio.

One other thing to consider: Each school varies to what extent they'll look at your portfolio when you come for a visit. A friend of mine said a number of schools she's interested in do NOT want you bring your work when you visit (I suppose they want to make sure the decisions they make in the admissions committee are unbiased?). Some schools don't even really do visits. Others only have an open house and it seems that they don't do the individual meet-and-greets and portfolio reviews there. So I wouldn't necessarily rely on visits alone since each school seems to do things a bit differently in that regard. 

If you do decide to go to the portfolio day, one piece of advice that I learned the hard way: show the reviewers POLISHED documentation of your work. No half-assed studio shots or works in progress. But you do not need to bring original art; showing them photos/videos on a laptop or tablet is totally fine. Some people also had color reproductions in a binder. 

 

Thank you so much for the advice, I guess I'll be making the trip over to NYC come fall. May I ask what your background is in? Did you find that people responded well to the fact that you have a varied background? I always fear the question," Why are you deciding to go for art now?"

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I don't want to hijack this thread, but I thought I might pose a relevant question.  Has anyone ever tried an online portfolio review (any recommended websites/orgs)?  I am interested to know if that has been helpful, especially as something that might be in lieu of a face-to-face review.  Thanks!

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