The Best Primary Source – Talk to the Artist!

Research into art The Comparative Study and the Process Portfolio both involve some level of research into and review of artworks. Inevitably, for many students a lot of this research is ‘second-hand’, e.g. looking for information on the Internet. There is nothing wrong with this (providing everything is correctly referenced and all sources are acknowledged!). Better still is to actually see the real thing, for example, by visiting an art gallery. The horse's mouse However, for information gathering and the answers to specific questions ...

I Know about Assessment…But What’s ‘Best Fit’?

Assessment At the time of writing this, I’m moderating some work uploaded for the IA (visual arts exhibition) component for the November examination session, which means spending a lot of time scrutinizing artworks on multiple large screen monitors and also scrutinizing the words of the visual arts assessment descriptors (which I probably know by heart by now). Sometimes I very quickly come to a decision about the most appropriate mark, but quite often I see a range of achievement in different ...

The Visual Arts Exhibition: Is Contemporary Art Penalized?

Conceptual Qualities? I was recently in conversation with the DP Visual Arts Chief Examiner, Subject Manager and Principal Examiner for Exhibition SL. The Subject Manager was interested in particular in our interpretation of the 'Conceptual Qualities' Exhibition criterion. A teacher had suggested that students who focused on styles and formats of contemporary art in their final art exhibition may not do as well as students who worked in more traditional forms (e.g. painting and drawing); in effect the suggestion was that contemporary art ...

Life Drawing: Is Nudity a Problem?

Does your school offer life-drawing? By this I mean do you, as a visual arts student, have the opportunity to spend time drawing and/or painting a naked human being who is posing so that you can make these artworks while he/she stands (or sits etc) in front of you? This opportunity seems not to be offered in many schools. Would you like to have this opportunity? In a recent IB workshop that I facilitated, a teacher asked the question “is nudity a problem?” He was ...

Six Comparative Study Questions from Students (with Answers)

I have received some questions about the Comparative Study from visual arts students. I can obviously answer them individually, but it might be more useful to others if I share the questions – and my answers – more publicly, in this blog… 1 What does function and purpose mean? Is it the purpose of the artist or the artwork? The focus of the Comparative Study is the ARTWORK. However, having said that, since the artist makes the artwork there will be overlaps, so ...

Academic Honesty: Acknowledge Everything!

I’m a visual arts examiner, so recently I have had the pleasure of looking at and assessing a wide range of uploaded visual arts work. It is one of the best parts of the job, and I really enjoy seeing the fantastic work submitted by creative and productive students from all over the world! "Reworking" Images As an examiner I regularly encounter "reworked" images that have either been directly copied from images found on the internet or are an adjusted/modified version of the ...

‘My work looks like a child did it compared to all the other students in my class with experience’

This month my post is a reply to a heartfelt comment written by a student. As you may know, its possible to leave comments after a blog post, and on 1st April a student made a comment in response to a post titled 'EXHIBITION ISSUES (part 3)' from August 2016. The comment did not refer directly to issues discussed in this particular blog (the ‘theme’, the curatorial rationale, optional supporting photographs etc.) but he was clearly venting! I have included the whole comment at ...

Process Portfolio Questions from Students: Part 2

Last month I answered some questions that students had asked me about the Process Portfolio. I have had a few more questions since then, so here are answers to the most recent PP questions. MORE questions — and answers — about the Process Portfolio 1 'I like painting, so most of my intentions are just to create paintings, but my teacher says this intention is "not enough". Why not?' In terms of media, you cannot just focus on one medium/technique in the Process Portfolio. ...

Process Portfolio Questions from Students: Part 1

Hi all, If you are a student in the second year of your Diploma and in a ‘May session’ school, your final examinations are fast approaching. And if you are a visual arts student, next month—March 2018—is likely to be a busy one! The focus of this blog is the Process Portfolio component. Last month I posted the Process Portfolio checklist for HL and SL. This month I’m clarifying some points based on questions I’ve been asked by students about the Process Portfolio.  Questions—and ...

Process Portfolio Checklist

HAPPY 2018! It’s the New Year! If you are in your second year as a DP visual arts student, and are in a ‘May session’ school in the Northern Hemisphere, now would be a great time to review your progress to date: it’s time to check on what you have, and have not, done in relation to all three components (Comparative Study, Process Portfolio and Exhibition). As I hope you know, in around three months’ time you will be submitting all of this ...