I remember back in college we had a class called Professional Practices where we were taught to take the best of our classwork and throw it all together in a portfolio to present to the world in hopes of getting work. For years, I presented my portfolio this way, meeting rejection every time. Little did I know, this strategy of throwing in everything is exactly what I wasn’t supposed to do.
As an art director, Jon Schindehette teaches us in his blog series on portfolio building that a portfolio should be a unique statement made especially to speak to the one you’re presenting it to. It makes a simple sort of sense realizing that companies would want to see work they’d want to hire you for, rather than ‘that thing you painted that was pretty cool that has nothing to do with their brand’. Why it took me so long to realize this, I’ll never know.
I’ve decided to write about my experiences with Jon’s portfolio building class series here in a little series of my own exploring my journey with his prompts.
What is a Portfolio?
In the end, I’m left with only FIVE total pieces. Of these five, only three of them are even remotely in the area of book covers and art card work. The verdict? I need more work…and badly! And not only more in quantity, but more thematically in my areas of interest.
Admittedly, I cheated leaving Lotus Dancer in since she was from my Fake Art Cards list, but I don’t find this list necessarily destructive, as it is specifically targeted to the art card market. We’ll see if the later exercises in this series convince me I was correct in letting her stay!
I also disagree that no old pieces should go in a portfolio, especially if those pieces continue to show a relevant level of technical expertise and your area of pursuant interest. However, for the purposes of this exercise, anything that was over 3 years old was crossed out.
So more than half my portfolio is shot! Onwards to discover what exactly I can do about this disturbing predicament!