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AP Drawing
Berthoud High School|Berthoud, Colorado
Kiera
Robb
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Dimensions: 15”x 30”|Material(s): Acrylic paint, ebony black charcoal and white charcoal, graphite, watercolor paper|Process(es): Tests mediums in sketchbook paint background gray, sketch in graphite, go in with darks, then lights|Curatorial Note: The unique perspective of the bedroom explores loneliness and quite chaos. The visual narrative explores an adventure with monochromatic blues to create a mysterious mood in the artwork.

Student statement


"The Guilty Man" depicts regret and catalyzes a closed-off personality; however this heavy imagery and narrative comes from my Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) home game. For about a year and a half, I both ran and played in games of D&D, and I have never derived more inspiration from a concept quite like I did for the made-up world of seven teenagers in a basement.
I initially chose my inquiry based on what I thought would make the most personal, emotionally complex pieces, and I started on a portfolio based on my sexual identity. However, halfway through the year, when I got bored of such a concept, I turned to my biggest passion project: my D&D game. I’ve always been interested in creating fantastical worlds and narratives and making art for them. D&D was no different, and I was extremely excited to show my players what I envisioned after I wove the story together with just words. I wanted them to feel like their character was appreciated and their story was told. Thus, my inquiry became a collection of the pivotal moments in each character’s lifetime. The palpable emotions were what I wanted to best replicate in my works, and so with the piece featured, I tried to convey a feeling of emptiness.
The artwork was intended to capture the aftermath of a character sharing information he shouldn’t have with a person he thought he could trust. It resulted in their religious organization raiding the home where he and his partner lived and the capture and killing of the partner. Thus, in his overall story, the character had difficulty trusting anyone again, sharing very little about their life in case it risked loss.
Initially, my inquiry was supposed to be about the moments and little things that were meaningful to me in the broader story, but I changed my questions to be more precise about emotions and character arcs. Precise language was of the utmost importance, so I spent a lot of time brewing over the best vocabulary. Not only did my language evolve, but my use of media and the environmental storytelling of a piece grew more concise. I added more extensive backgrounds and subtle narrative hints tossed around, such as the religious symbol of the character in "The Guilty Man" hidden in the corner of the room. I became more intentional in the media I chose and soon sought to better capture the character in my materials. The scene's essence was the emotion on their face, the colors chosen, and the lighting. In several works, I used elements of desaturation and an extreme cast shadow to imply a dreary tone.
With pieces about the same characters, I tried to keep a consistent material between them. Using charcoal for the featured artwork was due to the dark values you can achieve with this material and the similarly dark aspects of the character’s life. They had little to be happy about, so dramatizing the image was necessary. I didn’t have an artmaking inspiration in most pieces, but I did have some influence from the older, 2nd edition D&D art, with their semi-realistic style and interesting penwork.
When it came down to deciding between AP 2-D and AP Drawing, my art teacher, Mrs. Quick, was extremely helpful. She highlighted the differences, and while creating my portfolio, she helped guide me in making decisions and using new materials. When it came to me and my other classmates being indecisive about our inquiry questions, she was patient. She helped get us back on track to completing everything by the end of the year, and it never felt like I didn’t have enough art due to her consistent schedule. If I have any advice for AP Art and Design students, pick an inquiry question you already visually daydream about and are passionate about. It seems obvious: pick something you have a very palpable connection to, but I think it’s easy to pick something personal from which you don’t have that much creative inspiration. Sure, it should take some brainstorming for pieces, but you don’t want your well of ideas to run dry. And one essential thing: do not procrastinate. Since I changed my portfolio halfway through the year, I was left making up half the pieces, but I put those off longer than I should’ve and was stuck drawing into the late hours of the night to complete my last couple of pieces. Please don’t do that; save yourself some stress, space it out better than I did, and have fun.
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Sustained lnvestigation, Materials: Graphite, EBONY black charcoal, acrylic paint, sketchbook paper|Process(es): Establish idea, sketch poses & outfits, figure out how the character would look younger, test medium.
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How can I express specific emotions and a sense of storytelling that occurs with important moments in my D&D campaigns? I designed who I would focus on, then strung pieces between each character's past and climatic present. I wanted each piece to be a player’s unique origin and the emotions with it until all are connected in the final pieces.

TEacher statement

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Jennifer Quick
After being invited to write a teacher statement, I struggled for several days to find the right words to describe Kiera Robb, her art, and the time we spent together in the classroom. I think it comes down to one word: courageous. I think Coco Chanel said, “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” Kiera was courageous in her art every day. She was never afraid to “fight the good fight” and say what needed to be said regardless of the subject matter and political correctness. She rarely spoke aloud in class, but instead spoke in loud, lengthy volumes through her art and visual imagery. Whether verbal or visual, Kiera spoke with an elegance and sophistication beyond her years. I always appreciated how she thought for herself and communicated her unique view of the world, both the real one around us and the imagined one developed in her art pieces.
Our AP Art and Design class strives to bring out the individualism of our students while building technical skills. We focus on the creative process and push each student to find their unique artistic voice. We are a small school in a small town that, with the help of a great community, reaches for something bigger than ourselves.
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Kiera Robb