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RISD Drawings


I also applied to The Rhode Island School of Design, which required three drawings in addition to the portfolio. I have about a month until I’ll know if I’m accepted or not (I kind of think of RISD as a long shot anyway), so in the mean time, and while riding the high of getting into Parsons, here are my three RISD drawings.

From the school website:

Three drawing samples are required of all candidates. The first drawing must represent a bicycle. The second drawing must utilize both sides of the sheet of drawing paper. For the third sample, your visualization must combine image and text.


RISD Bicycle: “Creature in the Snow”

Graphite on paper; 16 x 20 in.

I don’t think I have ever spent as long on a graphite drawing as I did on this one. This bike is locked onto a parking meter a couple of blocks from my apartment. The tire is based off a European adder, which is often found in snowy climates. I liked the idea that in the Venn diagram of things not expected to be found in deep snow and things with a textured black surface, the bike and the snake are sort of buddies.

RISD Both Sides of a Piece of Paper: “New Friend”

Graphite on paper; 16 x 20 in.

There’s a little kid on one side, and an imaginary creature on the other. I got the completed image by holding the paper up to the light and taking advantage of the paper’s transparency.

RISD Text: “Bai Ren Kan Bu Dong”

Acrylic on paper; 16 x 20 in.

I used a photo a friend took of me in college popping out of a giant box of packing peanuts (trufax) and the text from a parody T-shirt that translates to “white people can’t read this” or “white people can’t understand this.” I have some racial identity issues, and my self-therapy includes liberal use of Hello Kitty. I don’t know how RISD will receive this one, but it felt like a big risk for me to leave most of the paper blank and trust in the balance between the image and the negative space.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    08/08/2011 8:29 pm

    did u get in? just curious! I hope u did:)

    • Sharon permalink*
      08/08/2011 8:35 pm

      Nope. And I can’t even feel bad about it. I saw some portfolios of people who were accepted and they were AMAZING, and I just had to laugh and say “wow, I’m going to get rejected hardcore.” I guess some of my pieces were comparable quality, but I think my portfolio overall wasn’t cohesive enough. I’m starting at Parsons in a few weeks majoring in Design and Technology, and I already took a summer class there that was really great. So I’m excited to be staying in NYC and diving into a field I know nearly nothing about and have a lot to learn.

      • kate permalink
        11/05/2012 4:06 am

        hi, how did you get to see the portfolios of people who were accepted? did you find them online? i am applying this year and it would be awesome to see what i am up against thanks 🙂 i hope you like parsons

      • Sharon permalink*
        11/05/2012 9:04 am

        Hi Kate,

        I can’t remember exactly where I saw them, but it was after the Early Decision results came out, and then after the regular application decisions also as people who had been accepted were sharing their portfolios. It was definitely on RISD’s application/advising Facebook page, though I don’t know if you can still find them all the way back a year or two years ago. In any case, their advisors are very helpful and patient with all us poor neurotic applicants (better than any other school I’ve ever dealt with actually), so I recommend keeping in touch with them with questions. Best of luck!

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