Art with a Focus

AP Art Students share their current profile ideas.

This year, as another class of AP art students begin to work on their portfolios, ideas for their art work begin to take shape. AP art is the most advanced level of art Sandpoint High School has to offer. To get into AP art students must first take numerous art classes including,  Art 1, 2, and 3, and Pre-AP art.  Once in the advanced art class the students not only receive the freedom to truly express themselves as artists, but it allows students to create a portfolio of their work and send it to colleges to receive a grade and potentially college credit. 

AP Art consists of two parts. First the students have to complete a  personal investigation project which will help the artists choose a focus. The focus is an idea or theme that inspires 11-15 pieces of art. Themes can be anything ranging from a study of portraits to global warming. Ezra Stafford, Sandpoint Highschools AP art teacher says the only requirement he tells his students is that the “topic of your choosing interests you and could drive 15 pieces.” Stafford includes that these pieces can come from your Pre-AP class, homework over the summer, class time, or any previous works of art the students had. The second section consists of the students’ best works. These 5 pieces will then be mounted and readied to be sent to the AP college board for grading. The other 15 pieces of art they have are also looked at by the same board yet are viewed digitally. 

With all the different types of people in the class, and the artistic freedom, there is a wide range of focuses students have chosen for their portfolio. Students pick what interests them, which could range anywhere from political issues to studies of light and shadow. Many students this year have chosen relevant, and interesting topics to build their art portfolios around. 

Elli Warren, a senior at Sandpoint Highschool will be focusing on ways of coping with life, and how people escape reality for her portfolio. Elli was inspired by her “fascination with how people’s minds work and how everyone is different”.

Warren’s first art piece in her portfolio is a large almost abstract acrylic painting of a woman in her car. The painting done in complementary purple colors, represents just one way people cope with life. Driving alone in your car could give someone a way of “escaping reality”. These pieces take anywhere from 3 days to a week to finish depending on the medium and size. 

During the two week planning time at the beginning of the year, artists will present multiple plans for focuses and then narrow it down to one. One of Warren’s other ideas was the effects of social grouping, and the effects on people. Warren was inspired by this subject because she wanted to bring a light on how bad social grouping truly is.

Appl, another student in AP art and senior, has chosen to focus on native cultures. Appl describes her portfolio as being centered aroundNative culture and how I can honor and recognize their traditions but use my privilege as a white person to bring light to injustices without appropriation of indigenous people.” 

Izzy Appl creating her next wood burning piece
(Maren Davidson)

Her first piece is an intertwined snake, skull and feather burned on wood. Appl states that all items in the piece are symbols. The wood burning/ engraving is the history of injustice that has been “burnt” into native families’ memories. The snake is the white people coming in and stealing native land. The skull symbolizes the death of native culture, and the feather represents indigenous people. All three items are symbols of native culture but overtime have been adopted by western styles. Appl  will continue to work on her pieces until May, when she will submit them to AP graders.

Like many other students in the AP art course, Appl plans to continue with art past this class. Though she doesn’t want art to be her profession, she always “wants art in her life”. Warren shares Appl’s sentiments, as many people in the AP art class do, and says, she “will continue to grow with art”.