Mentoring success story – GSA

Glasgow School of Art

Mentoring success story – GSA

Our first mentee has a great future mapped out for him as he’s had great news over the weekend that he has been successful in his application to Glasgow School of Art to study Sculpture and Environmental Art course. In just 9 months he’s gone from having no portfolio to being offered an unconditional place at one of the country’s most prestigious art colleges that have produced many of the nominated artists for arguably the world’s most recognized and prestigious award for contemporary art, the Turner Prize.

In June 2012 Lachlan contacted Portfolio Oomph to help him on the right track to going on to study at art college – the only problem is he hadn’t studied art past the age of 15 therefore he didn’t meet the minimum entry requirements for most further education colleges that feed the university and art college courses.

Glasgow School of Art

Lachlan had originally been accepted for a degree course in Sociology and Social Policy in 2011, but had a sudden change of heart and declined his place. He wanted to go to art college – Glasgow School of Art specifically but had no Higher Art, no portfolio, and very little experience or contacts that could help him to achieve his ambitions.

Lachlan said: I had applied for a few courses earlier this year (2012) for art portfolio preparation and photography, but I was not having much luck. I found it difficult to understand what courses I should apply for and what a portfolio should actually consist of, as I had not done Higher Art.”

We worked hard on defining what the creative process is, how his work and ideas fitted into the creative process, and creating the evidence that shows he is working through this process.

Much of our first discussions were around all the components of our eBook ‘Creating a sensational portfolio’. We also focussed on the vital element of any art college portfolio, that of drawing. Drawing exercises, that are available in our first eCourse ‘Drawing skills; exploration’, were followed and a small but strong portfolio developed.

Lachlan had a late opportunity in August (the equivalent of clearing at the universities) to present his work for an interview for the HNC Art and Design (Portfolio Preparation) course at the City of Glasgow College. His question to me was ‘Should I go – do I have enough work to show?’ My advice was to attend as essentially he is there to demonstrate his potential as much as his past work.

So at very short notice (3 days) we edited, mounted, and ordered his work following the advice we give in our ebook ‘How to present and mount your work’. I have to say, his portfolio looked cracking and would rival any portfolio done from a student who has done Higher Art. I felt confident that he would get offered a place based on his ideas, passion for art, and with the guidance, we’d offered he stood in a really strong position.

His interview was at 9.30 am and by 10.30 am I’d had an email saying he’d been accepted on the spot – result! I was so pleased for him as I could see his talent, commitment, and potential, but we needed to make sure his interviewers saw it too. This really is an outstanding result of our focussed, aim driven plan; that of getting into art college.

Following this, he studied for 5 months on this HNC Art and Design (Portfolio Preparation) and worked with Portfolio Oomph about once a month to create a really strong portfolio for his application to Glasgow School of Art. Together we documented his work for the digital portfolio that so many of the art colleges require now. Having been invited to interview following his digital portfolio submission we also spent time mounting the work that he had produced since his interview for the City of Glasgow College and working on his interview skills following our ebook ‘How to blow them away at interview’.

Neither I or Lachlan really could have expected a better result. This is exactly why we have established Portfolio Oomph; to help really talented people get to where they want to be in life – in a creative environment where they can explore what makes them tick. We’re hoping we have many, many more success stories like this and we will ensure that they’re posted on this blog.

Finally, the last thing was we had a great email from the tutor at the City of Glasgow College who interviewed him saying just how impressed they were with his ability to talk about his work and how well his portfolio was presented. That is very satisfying and I wish him all the best for his creative future.

Read his parent’s story here.

Lachlan McFeely-Bolt
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