Art portfolio workshop held for students on Nov. 8

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Claire Chang

As the college application process continues, some students are creating arts portfolios in an effort to highlight their talent in the arts. In order to give advice to students who want to create a portfolio as part of their application, art teacher Brian Chow hosted an art portfolio workshop for MVHS students after school on Nov. 8.

The reason that Chow wanted to hold the workshop is simple: he wanted to help students through the process and help them showcase the work that best represented them.

“I might get personal satisfaction if you let me in, if you let me be part of the process, and talk it through with me,” Chow said. “But that’s the satisfaction I get, doing a good job. It’s really cool when people talk about their work.”

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Art teacher Brian Chow hands out informational flyers at his art portfolio workshop. A wide variety of students attended to learn from Chow’s experience in art school and to hear his advice.

Chow’s guidance and advice from his years of experience as an art teacher is one of the primary reasons that students like senior Cheri Zhou decided to come to the workshop.

“I wanted to seek advice from somebody who had been doing art for a long time and had been teaching art for a long time,” Zhou said.

The workshop also served to relieve concerns about creating an art portfolio, as Chow gave an extensive presentation outlining the importance of overcoming fear and apprehension.

“What you want to do is work past your concerns,” Chow said. “‘I don’t have enough time, I’m too old, I started late, I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that.’ You can start looking at those and call them excuses.”

One of the things that Zhou said she is most concerned about when making her portfolio is lack of time to work on it, but Chow emphasized that instead of worrying about time, students should just get started.

Along with time, students like junior Elysha Tsai are also worried about the content of their work and how their portfolio reflects themselves.

“I’m concerned that my work doesn’t reflect who I am,” Tsai said. “Because I have a lot of stuff that I did before and I don’t feel like it’s representative of me and my skills.”

Tsai’s concerns were the subject of most of Chow’s workshop. He placed emphasis on the importance of trying new things and making sure that the work in a student’s art portfolio represents the student’s personality, opinions and skills.

In the workshop, Chow taught students how to accomplish these goals primarily by presenting other successful students’ portfolios to inspire current students to experiment with their work and think outside the box. Many of the students whose portfolios he showcased attended prestigious art universities and pursued professions in art.

“An artist’s job in society is to go beyond what you know,” Chow said. “Your job in society is to explore, to experiment, and to do something different. And to fail miserably at it, and succeed gracefully at it.”

Chow’s beliefs about artists in society are similar to what motivate students to pursue art as a career. Zhou considers art as both influential on a large scale and also personal, as she uses art to learn more about herself and others. These ideas about the value of art in society and the impact that art has on students are the very concepts meant to be showcased in an art portfolio.

“A lot of people don’t think it’s very influential, but it’s very influential,” Zhou said. “It’s a really great outlet to express yourself and your creativity. Also, to find out who you are and what kind of person you are –– through art I’ve learned so many new things about myself.”