March 19, 2010

Portfolio Reviews in San Francisco

Recently I returned from a wonderful trip to the glorious city on the bay, San Francisco. I was invited by Chuck Pyle, director school of illustration of the Academy of Art University. This is a regular stop for me. Chuck has had me out the past few years in May to review portfolios and talk with graduating students.

It entails a fifteen minute one on one with each student who elects to have his work reviewed. I try as best as I can in bringing my twenty-plus years of repping experience to the dialogue and I point out strengths and weakness in each student's presentation. This entails examining a student artist's portfolio, seeing if the images follow the credo "what problem does this solve"... no nudes, no pretty pictures, no landscapes just to show you can draw an outdoor scene, etc.

What the portfolio should contain are potential images that can show how the artist using his or her specific signature style solves a slew of problems such as editorial, advertising, books, children's books, graphic novels, etc. The portfolio of possibly 20 pieces should not look like trial and error student work, but be geared to a solution that may come up for a real job. I also try to give career advice in terms of direction and the path the artist may be strongest.

This is the first time I was invited to give a lecture to a cross section of illustration students on the who, what, when, where, and how of the rep/talent relationship. I told Chuck that it would be best if I could have a couple of my Bay area artists on stage with me so that we could have a back and forth dialogue about individual projects. The two artists I selected were John Mattos and Tyler Jacobson. At the lecture I went through my two websites, and, and John brought along a disk of a particular job that he had recently finished from Forbes Asia detailing a step by step progression from beginning to end of the job including my emails to him.

The presentation must have been a success since we were invited back. I am showing pictures that were taken by senior Akane Ogura, who I am happy to report will begin interning for me this coming summer.

On a more personal note, I went to a few killer pan-asian restaurants and was able to bring gifts for my staff at a wonderful emporium in China town and even had time to get over to Emeryville to look at cool cars at Fantasy Junction. Even the weather was on our side. Can't wait to go back in May!

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