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Art portfolio questions

    • Thread Starter

    I'm applying to do both art foundation and BA/BFA fine art at various schools, including the Ruskin which asks for a physical as opposed to digital portfolio. I know it is 20 pieces for there, and will probably be similar elsewhere but most places now ask for digital. My question is, is it best to submit A-level work you are most proud of, or separate work? I'm not sure I have time to put together 20 pieces outside of my a-levels. And I certainly have a lot of work from my A-level stuff. Should the work link or have an underlying theme? Or is it a mixed bag? Also can anyone suggest some books to read/exhibitions/films to watch in the meantime to broaden my artistic knowledge for interviews?

    ps. please don't tell me not to apply to Ruskin without a foundation, I'm going for it anyway and if I don't get in but have the grades I'll do foundation and then reapply.

    Hi meghan.sp -

    It's worth asking the institutions that you're applying to but if it helps, we also recommend including work that you are most proud of and get excited talking about. This way, when you talk about your work, you are at your most comfortable and confidence. We also learn a lot about you based on how your curate your own work, including how creative and/or methodical you are; how you tell stories and make decisions - all of which are really important part of your practice. Some institutions have a very fixed idea of what they want to see from you, so that they can assess your skills and knowledge - so please do always check.

    Regarding things that you can do to show you off your knowledge, going to see more work, exposing yourself to different media - all of the is great work! My tip is to do stuff that you really enjoy, rather than to impress universities. Finding that niche thing that you love is more important and will inspire you, your practice and your worldview. We really promote geekiness here at NUA - that obsessive type of passion; that wanting to know more and to understand how things work and to explore, create and make. Once you find that thing - whether it's work, stories, campaigns, structures, techniques or feeling - it brings out that attitude which is really exciting and infectious. It makes it really hard for us to turn someone away who is excited and knowledgeable about work - whether it's their own or others.

    Don't forget it's a two-way process so you can learn a lot about the institution based on what they ask of you too. Good luck and if you want to find out more about our portfolio requirements/ courses, our website is

    Good luck,
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