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Crafting an Art Portfolio: Eva Beals

How Eva Beals views the art portfolio process and what steps are necessary in creating one.

Eva Beals has always been encouraged to cultivate a creative and artistic mind. With both of her parents being artists, her earliest memories are filled with tools and supplies.

“I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t love art,” Beals said. “It’s always been a big part of my life, so it felt like a no-brainer to go to art school.”

For Beals, art has become a vital outlet of expression.

“Art is really beautiful to me because I get to create and add something beautiful to this world,” said Beals. “The things you create belong to you in a way, and it’s something that you can be proud of.”

Beals does not have any clear plans after college, but going into a creative field is a must. She sees college as a way to explore her artistic passions and uncover the right path. Being able to solely focus on art and find a community of artists with similar interests are some things she is looking forward to in college.

But first, applying to art school comes with the time-consuming task of creating a portfolio. Beals says the number of pieces colleges require to submit can vary from five to 20, and depending on the busyness of her schedule, she can spend anywhere from six to 20 hours a week working on projects. Although she is using some art pieces from years past, many new projects are needed to fill requirements.

“It’s definitely stressful, and there’s a lot of pressure because once the deadline comes closer, you feel like you can’t make art just for fun,” Beals said. “Everything has to be amazing so that you can put it in your portfolio, so it takes away the carefreeness of making art just to make art.”

Despite this, Beals is still glad she can showcase her work to schools, and she likes that adding a portfolio can help her application stand out.

“Most colleges don’t have a lot of requirements in their portfolios, so it’s just: What are you really proud of?” said Beals. “A portfolio is supposed to represent your life’s work in a way and so you want to show people what you’re proud of.”

Beals has been focusing on creating a diverse portfolio by including drawings, sketches, paintings, and sculptures. She feels that including multiple different mediums shows artistic range.

“I’m just trying to stand out and be unique by doing things in a non-traditional way,” Beals said. “I’m trying to use less-used mediums like printmaking, sewing and crocheting.”

One piece Beals is most proud of is a close-up portrait of her face she made at the beginning of her junior year. She is wearing a flower crown in the portrait which is an homage to Frida Kahlo, one of Beals’s inspirations. After she finished the project, Beals realized creating self-portraits was almost therapeutic for her, and so self-portraits became her staple.

“I wanted to get familiar with my face because up to that point, I’d been uncomfortable with drawing it,” Beals said. “And then I realized that I needed to accept this part of me because it’s with me for my entire life.”

Something that Beals is looking for in an art school is an interdisciplinary approach. Beals has found that many art schools require students to choose a structured or narrow major that puts them in a specific branch of art.

“I love so many different kinds of art, and I don’t feel like I could choose just one,” Beals said. “So being able to have a broader major and being able to explore the things I want to explore and take the classes I want to take is important to me.”

Advice Beals would give to someone who wants to start creating a portfolio is to be honest with your art, because it should be a representation of who you are and what you’re passionate about.

“Especially at the beginning [of the portfolio process], just make what you want to make because colleges want to see you, they don’t want you to make what you think they want,” Beals said. “You need to do a few of the requirements, but I would say just do what makes you happy, show your interest and passion for your art.”

A portfolio is something Beals feels she can be proud of and can show to the world. It allows her to present herself through something she truly enjoys.

“A portfolio is proof of the mark I’ve left,” Beals said.

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About the Contributor
Bridgette Kelly
Bridgette Kelly, Feature Editor
Bridgette Kelly is a senior continuing her second year on staff. She enjoys playing tennis, eating good food and taking walks.

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