The Art major at UCSC is a very popular major. This means that there are too few spaces to accommodate all the UCSC students who wish to study art. Because of this ongoing situation, the Art Department admits junior transfers to its major by way of a portfolio review. Many students who are accepted to UCSC will not be selected by the Art Department as art majors.
In order to select its students, the Art Department appoints a rotating Portfolio Review Committee.
In general, the presented visual materials are of primary interest to the committee. The Portfolio Review committee expects these materials to be adequately documented and to be carefully and clearly presented. The committee consists of a group of experts in their fields, and their expertise includes an understanding of how to interpret visual materials. They are skilled at "reading" the visual evidence presented in the portfolio and in detecting, by looking at slides, for instance, the commitment and accomplishment of the applicant. They have an expertise in understanding how works of art come about both conceptually and in terms of skill, and they have an expertise in understanding where beginning artworks lead in terms of future developments. When disagreements and uncertainties arise in the visual materials, and the potential of the applicant in our program is uncertain, added weight is given to written materials (statement and transcripts/narratives). Thus a determination is made.
What Does the Portfolio Committee Look For?
Your portfolio of slides, photos, video or website introduces your work to the Review Committee. The Portfolio Review Committee is looking for students who demonstrate skill, personal direction, ambition, and commitment.
Students who wish to improve their prospects for acceptance often ask the following: What does the committee wish to see? What presentations make a favorable impression on the committee? What things make an unfavorable impression? The committee is looking for vitality, commitment, and skill, or signs of potential for the development of these things.
VITALITY: By "vitality" the committee means they want to see evidence that the student is excited by the work. They want to see evidence of this quality in the work itself.
COMMITMENT: By "commitment" the committee means that they want to see that students have invested themselves in certain ideas, ways of doing things, or ways of conceptualizing their creative work, and evidence of a willingness to spend time on individual projects and/or on the body of work contained in the portfolio. They also want to sense that students can exert judgment about their own work--that they can tell good from bad in their own work.
SKILL: By "skill" the committee means that the student demonstrates a level of technical ability in one or more areas and that the student does not require remedial work that cannot be provided by the department.
- Show a range of work produced in your art classes
- Focus on quality as opposed to quantity.
- Indicate time spent to achieve a strong resolution.
- Show thought given to the generation and execution of the work.
- Show attention to use of materials and processes.
- Provide evidence of exploration in form and technique.
Portfolios Should Not:
- Show work of low quality along with work of high quality.
- Include high school work unless it is truly exceptional.
Your written statement is considered an important part of the portfolio. Evaluation is based upon signs of a student's potential for joining theory and practice in his or her creative activity.
While criteria for evaluation are difficult to measure in art practices, the written statement helps provide a basis for evaluation in each area.
The Portfolio Review Committee is looking for candidates who give evidence of strong promise in the field of the Fine Arts. When evaluating your portfolio and statement, ask yourself these questions:
- Does the documentation of your work communicate its quality?
- Is your statement clear? Does it touch on all the topics requested above?
- Does your application communicate skill and commitment?
"Many students who are accepted to UCSC will not be selected by the Art Department as art majors."
Ouch. That would be so sad. And regarding the, um, exclusivity (?) of the major... it is just one of those things. In soc we studied funding of public universities, and parts of the science department are funded by research, whereas the art is funded I think by tuition and by the state, and so there is not enough art to go around. Definitely not everyone who selects this major can complete it; it is not very easy. But I find that my friends who are majoring in sciences spend an amazing amount of time studying, studying every night, even the weekends. So maybe Art is a little easier? All the same, I went to the studio at 1:30 tonight and there were 4 other people working! Usually I have the studio to myself that late, and occasionally one other person is using it.
"and they have an expertise in understanding where beginning artworks lead in terms of future developments. "
That is amazing.
"They also want to sense that students can exert judgment about their own work--that they can tell good from bad in their own work"
Oooooh nooo is the work I did today for my final project bad? I think it maybe was. I think possibly it was unbearably bad. Ooooooh noooooo. My professor told me I was on track for a B+ and with a great final piece it could be an A. She did not say what would happen if my final piece was unbearably bad. But if I get a B- I can't count this toward my major. Oooooh noooo I should start over. I have more than a day! I will try harder! She seemed to like it okay when I showed her my two in progress pieces, but I heard her suggestions for the non art majors who are likely going to struggle a bit in producing this extensive piece and she did not hint that she had a concern or a suggestion for a major change. A huge change, I mean. Not a change of major. It might be fine. I do really like my pieces, but they are so safe and so boring. And I am worried that since the subjects are very small compared to the background I have not put enough drawing into them.
" By "skill" the committee means that the student demonstrates a level of technical ability in one or more areas and that the student does not require remedial work that cannot be provided by the department."
That is quite harsh.
"Portfolios Should Not:
- Show work of low quality along with work of high quality.
- Include high school work unless it is truly exceptional."
"As we do not teach animation, design, illustration, ceramics, or crafts, we are disinclined to accept students who are clearly committed to these areas. We believe that such students would best be served by entering another program in another college or university that is geared toward these art forms."
That is harsh too. At least it calls them art forms. Also, is "illustration" a subject? Because that is what I want to do, and I had planned to learn it while at UCSC. Also, I am not saying Ceramics is a university course of study, but why don't we have Ceramics? Why did I enroll in a gigantic school with 15 thousand students if there was not going to be one little Ceramics class for me to take? Also, I have seen ceramic works in one of the two campus galleries. WHO MADE THEM? HOW DID THEY GET THERE? WHY DIDN'T I GO TO ART SCHOOL?
However, having completed 100% of my general education requirements, with only art courses and one art history course left on my plate, wishing about transferring seems silly. From here on out, I am effectively in art school.
I had not really thought of it that way. I am going to my little online course planner to see how many of our courses (wait, how am I going to learn to illustrate?) I can fit in in the next 2 years. There are probably 50 courses that I'd really like to take, and 7 that I will die of sadness without taking. I don't think I will be graduating early, not if it means missing out on Introduction to Gallery Management or Writing For Artists.