WHSAD students have enjoyed many opportunities to work with mentors from Gensler architecture firm. Receiving feedback from professionals in the industry provides students with insights about keeping work organized, the process of putting together their collected works, and how to diversify in order to provide future viewers with a wide scope of the students’ interests and abilities. Thank you to the professionals from Gensler, Anne-Sophie Hall, Geoffrey Diamond, and Chasen Van Lang, for their knowledge, patience, and dedication.
Below, a few students wrote about the experience and shared some of their work.
Brandon Rosario-WHSAD Sophomore
Today I met with three mentors from Gensler. They met with several WHSAD students from various grades to discuss our portfolios. When I met with one of the instructors, I explained that I study sketching and forms of art that revolve around cartoons. This includes anatomy studies, freehand sketches, and painting. The instructor said that he liked my art and could see its progression from 2020-2022. He said that the studies were important for my future career as an animation artist.
The instructor was extremely fast to point towards the organization of my portfolio. Before the meeting, I organized my art by type, which I broke down further into years. I have a lot of art available, so to organize my photos properly, I’m happy to have had the guidance. I used Google slides to showcase my art, which led to a lot of empty space that I couldn’t fill with art. To maximize space usage, I made the highlight of each slide larger than the art pieces around it. The instructor liked this idea, however, he pointed out that the largest image on each slide wasn’t in a particular area. He recommended the largest image take up the entire slide. The instructor believed that the organization could make the viewer lost in my work and lose attention from my viewer. To view my growing portfolio, click here
The instructor then went on to tell me the next steps on my art journey. He recommended testing out Photoshop. Photoshop allows me to manipulate my art in ways that I couldn’t do by hand. For example, the instructor noticed that the sketch paper in one of my photos was on a solid white. With Photoshop, he explained that, “Photoshop can get rid of the background. Like, see how the paper has such a creamy color; in Photoshop, you can make it pure white or take it out all together.” The introduction of Photoshop gives me a vast amount of opportunity with my art. By using Photoshop, I can turn my art into mixed media, an art style which uses both traditional and digital art methods for a piece. In modern times, mixed media is essential to creating animations and/or cartoons.
Richard Hernandez, WHSAD Junior
On May 20th I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with experienced professionals from Gensler about my portfolio and how we could improve it. Going into the session, I was kind of nervous and could tell that other students were too. It’s not easy putting your work out there for others to critique. I was especially nervous since I felt that I didn’t have enough to show, but one important thing I learned from this session is that it’s not always about the quantity of your work but also about the quality.
As I sat down with Chasen Van Lang, we went through the five projects I chose to make up my portfolio. As I showcased my portfolio, I told him the story behind each project and their purpose. One great suggestion he had after I finished was to add a blurb next to each project that had all the information that I told him about. This would make it so that the work would speak for itself; meanwhile I can focus more on talking about the skills involved with each project like Rhino proficiency with my Rhino model or management qualities associated with my work on the Richmond Terrace Esplanade project.
After talking with Mr. Van Lang, I later talked with Geoffrey Diamond about my portfolio. I told him how I felt about the amount of work I had to show and how I felt like I needed to add more. Once I brought up this concern he told me that the way you present the quality of your work can make up for the lack of quantity. As an example, he told me that when presenting something like the 3D model I made in Rhino I can focus on how accurate I was able to make it based on the reference I had. Focusing on something that’s difficult to do can show how good I am at model making and that I do possess the skills to do so. While I haven’t made many 3D models, I am able to say that of the ones I have made so far they remain pretty accurate to the references I had and any future models I make will also be accurate.
The advice that these mentors gave me was really helpful and I’m glad that I was able to be a part of this event. Having this experience has made me more aware of what people will be looking for when looking through portfolios and has made me think about how I will present my work from here on. I will definitely think back to this session whenever I’m working on adding more to my portfolio and am looking forward to participating in similar events.
Matthew Zaczeniuk, WHSAD Junior
On May 20th, select students had the great opportunity to showcase their portfolios to a team of Gensler mentors. Some of my friends and I took this opportunity to receive feedback from these professionals. Students’ portfolios ranged in completion and design. Some students had already created their own websites for their portfolios and some came in with only their work. I believe that this session was very beneficial to everyone though, as we were able to talk one on one to the Gensler team about our work and our plans for the future.
In my personal experience, I had come in with only my work laid out on a simple Google Slide, and while not the most professional presentation, my main objective was to see how this work would stack up when presented to these professionals and to see which pieces would be most valuable and which would be better left out. Luckily, because I have worked with Mr. Codio over the past 3 years, I have amassed a considerable amount of projects that I was able to showcase, such as the work we have done in AutoCAD and the Staten Island Projects. I was also able to showcase some personal stuff as well, mostly consisting of my Blender work.
The feedback that I received was very positive and informative, one of the Gensler mentors really enjoyed seeing my abstract Blender animations and was impressed with the work I had done in AutoCAD. The main feedback that I received was to create a nicer presentation, possibly putting this work on a website. Overall this was a great experience, and it helped gather some ideas on how to improve my portfolio. I am already thinking about creating my own website, and not just using a third party template website but actually setting it up myself, but I’ll see how that goes.