An artist’s portfolio is a collection of an artist’s creative works either in soft or hard copies. It is an edited collection of their best artwork intended to showcase an artist’s style or method of work. A portfolio is used by artists to show employers their versatility by showing different samples of current work.
Typically, the work reflects an artist’s best work or a depth in one specific area of work. When presenting a portfolio, not only the artists work is being judged, the artist is also being judged. Questions like; ‘Is this artist serious? Will he or she succeed in the art world? Are they worthy of being represented?’ are mostly asked when an artist’ portfolio is being evaluated.
Historically, Portfolios were printed out and placed into a book. With the increased use of the internet and email however, there are now websites that host portfolios uploaded online that are available to a wider audience.
There are basically two ways of producing portfolios for the creative works of an artist. These are soft copy portfolio and hard copy portfolio. To obtain soft copies of the portfolio, creative works are snapped or shot using cameras (such as a digital camera etc.). They are then written on a compact disc (CD), DVD (Digital Versatile Disk), EVD (Enhanced Versatile Disk), VCD (Video Compact Disk) as a soft copy of the artist portfolio. Usually, such soft copies of works include a short biography of the artist- his educational background as well as the media he employs for his works, the theme/subjects, techniques or styles that he uses in his works. The creative works shown in the soft copy may also have their relative sizes and prices indicated on them.
On the other hand, the hard copies of the portfolio refer to the actual works on large papers and boards. A fairly large folio or case made of a strong hard material such as a hard paper, fabric or leather is used for the safe keeping of the artist’s creative works. Hard copies of the works either real or pictures of them are preserved in Files, Envelopes, Folders, albums etc.
An artist’s portfolio has several benefits. It serves as a source of reference to the artist. It is a storehouse of the artist’s best works where he can reliably turn when making any reference to his style, technique etc. It can also assist him to critically know areas of his former works that needed to be corrected so as to avoid committing the same mistakes in his future executions.
Also, it is a requirement for employment, business promotion, bidding for contract or occupational training or apprenticeship. It can open several doors or opportunities for an artist. For instance, in seeking for an employment, the portfolio presents the technical expertise, craftsmanship and skills in an easier manner to the employer. It speaks for the artist.
Moreover, it helps in gaining contracts. In bidding for contracts for the artist, it is his portfolio that does all the conviction so as to win contracts. This is because the committee sees in practical terms the same models the artist has done before.
In addition, it assists the artist in getting promotion in his business and in an interview for further studies. It increases the chances of the artist in his quest to pursue further studies in his area of study.
Finally, it serves as an evidence of practical experience, skill, knowledge, creative ability, technical proficiency and academic achievement. It is a true witness of the artist’s makeup. It sums up the total personality of the artist, making his identity easy in familiarization with people especially tourists who usually tour the country.
Due to the great value of portfolios, young and experienced artists must endeavor to make it their prime aim of building their own portfolios that will serve as a visual proof of their entire makeup, skills, expertise and achievements.