National Portfolio Day

Be sure to sign up for the next session of the workshop!

During the second meeting this semester, we discussed National Portfolio Day, which will be held for undergraduates soon:

Sunday, Nov 13 in New York, New York
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 West 34th Street, Exhibit Hall 1A  |  New York, NY 10001
Hosted by: Fashion Institute of Technology
Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm

The National Portfolio Day Association (NPDA) was created in 1978, solely for the organization and planning of National Portfolio Days. The Association consists of representatives from regionally accredited US colleges and universities that are accredited institutional members of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and Canadian colleges and universities that are members of Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) or that hold NASAD Substantial Equivalency status.  NPDA is the only organization of its kind and the membership represent the highest standard of visual arts education available in the United States and Canada.

All Portfolio Day events are free, open to the public and do not require pre-registration.

Now, this is a great opportunity to talk to people and get some feedback outside of every known circle you have. It is also in New York City and I think you could go there and test out your portfolio, see how it flies.

First Session: Notes and a Mission!

We had a first session this last Thursday at the Art Center, and although it was a very small crowd of one phenomenal student and myself, the discussion was intense and far-ranging.

Topics included
(and soon to be written up as entries)

  • Methods of researching ideas well beyond Pinterest
  • The Design Cycle and how it applies to art making
  • Printmaking (where to begin)
  • Cloud storage for your personal portfolio and raw data
  • What different schools actually offer and what you are actually looking for
  • What your art teacher at school hasn’t told you and why (hint: s/he has to teach you art, so no need to expect them to tell you all this other stuff)
  • Consider the source: I tried to make sure I admitted my perspective and bias as I am only one resource

two suggested tasks For next week

  • Using Google Drive, put together a spreadsheet of your schools and how they rank by the pros, cons, or actual characteristics you really care about
  • Send me images of some of your work that YOU like and maybe tell me why

What’s in a name?

I named this workshop after the much-read and loved comic by Daniel Clowes from 1991. It came out when I was just starting my art school days in undergrad and I read it over and over, obsessively looking for clues to help me become the total badass I longed to be–authentic, chic, talented beyond reproach…

It didn’t much help, but his little ditty* became part of the mid-90s art school canon. It was bitter, biting, funny** and honestly seemed true to life once I made it through college and headed into grad school.

Now that I have *gasp* sold out entirely and become an art teacher and administrator, I want to come back and look over all I know now. Art school was the most infuriating and important phase of my formal education. It is based on the occasionally subjective and ego-laden worlds of fine art and high design, but it also connects to the heights of human potential and universal truths.

For all I went through, I come away knowing solidly that it was worth it. Art school was one of the most important and ultimately positive turns in my life and I know so many want to experience it as well. I am using this class as a forum to develop a clear approach for developing artists and designers see how and if they want to go to an undergraduate or graduate level program, and if they do, how they can do it without going insane. I will put all my notes, resources, and materials here for you all to use – let me know if it’s helpful.


* Clowes said in later interviews that he quickly drew it to fill pages that were due for a pending Eightball.

** There was also a perfectly forgettable movie made based on it in 2006.


This rolling drop-in workshop is for anyone seeking to enter the wild world of art or design school. I am a veteran instructor and administrator who has worked at institutions such as Parsons, CUNY, FIT and NYU.

Art School Confidential is an in-depth look at what you may never have learned in art classes. Your teachers cannot cover everything–I cannot cover every process, either, but I can give you every tip and tool I have learned thus far. When I was entering art school, I had no idea how to really go about it. If you have some key criteria and some guidance, you could navigate your path with so much more ease.

Register today!

I will be posting materials, articles, and other items here for you–consider this site a resource for you to use for years to come!

Tell your friends! Tell your kids!

I have created a drop-in workshop for the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey in Summit that is geared to any and all people interested in going to art or design school for college. I happen to be the Director of the Studio School there, and I am bent on helping as many people as I can find their way to what they most want to do–pursue specialized training as visual culture producers, be it in college or out!

Here is a handy handout for you to use to spread the word!