Sustained Investigation Writing

Sustained Investigation Questions

You will formulate an artist statement about your Concentration by answering these 2 questions.

  1. Clearly and simply state the central idea of your concentration. (500 characters with no spaces.)
  2. Explain how your work will demonstrate your intent and the sustained investigation of your idea. (1,300 characters with no spaces.)
  • Expand on the meaning of the concept:
  • Why your theme intrigues you or is of particular interest to you:
  • The media and materials you are using:
  • Why are you using them?
  • How does it tie into your theme?
  • Describe what you principles and elements of design (or metaphor or symbol) you are working with and how it ties in to the theme and concept:
  • Describe the compositional tools that you are experimenting with and how it ties in to the theme and concept:
  • List the artists or schools of art that are influencing you.  Describe how they are influencing you.



The integration of my work with in my sustained investigation is demonstrated by___________

My work relates to one another through_______

The intention of my work is _______

My work has evolved in the following ways_________________

The process of investigation, discovery and decision-making are seen in__________________

Transformation and growth are demonstrated through/by_____________

I transformed appropriate imagery of/by__________

Originality and innovation are shown through/in__________________

My skills using media and materials are displayed through/in__________________

I referred to resources/processes/artists research  that allowed me to document_____________________

My process of thinking and creating involves____________________

Questions to Help you Formulate Ideas for Writing

The questions below were created to encourage reflection on art making and artistic thought processes.

They help organize and express ideas and can be used to inspire the creation of a Student Commentary.

  • Would you like to share your ideas about the specific work(s) of art that were selected for display?
  • Would you like to comment specifically on the Quality, Concentration, and/or Breadth section of your portfolio?
  • What were your inspirations for creating art?
  • Which media, techniques and work processes did you use, and why did you make those choices?
  • What do you intend for audiences to see, experience, and think about when viewing your work?
  • Which are the most successful aspects of your work?
  • What was your inspiration for creating this artwork?
  • What were some of the decisions you faced in creating your artwork?
  • Did you encounter any difficulties when creating your artwork? How did you work through them?
  • Is there anything about your work that you now think you should have done differently? If so, please explain what and why.
  • Did your work involve research? What kinds of investigations and discoveries were involved?
  • How do your works of art relate to each other in terms of visual and conceptual content?
  • How does your work relate to an assignment given by your teacher?
  • How do you describe your artistic style/perspective?
  • How do you define success as an artist?
  • What do you find most rewarding about being an artist?
  • What are some of the most important skills you draw upon to create your work?
  • What are some of the most significant things you’ve learned through art-making?
  • What is one of the best compliments you’ve received about your work?
  • What advice would you give to other artists?
  • What are your future artistic plans?
  • Did you experience personal artistic growth as a result of creating the AP portfolio? If so, has that growth affected other aspects of your life?

Helpful Words To Use

  • focus
  • relfection, reflected
  • experience
  • intent, intended
  • reference
  • leading
  • following
  • stands for
  • revolve
  • purposeful, purposefully
  • technique
  • vital
  • portray
  • center, centered
  • hone
  • represent, representation
  • harmonize
  • variation
  • contrast, contrasting
  • viewer, view
  • construct


Student Sample Writings


  1. What is the central idea of your concentration? (500 characters maximum)
  2. How does the work in your concentration demonstrate the exploration of your idea? You may refer to specific images as examples. When referencing specific images, please indicate the image numbers. (1350 characters maximum)


  1. The central idea of my concentration aims to reproduce mental glitches that cause both auditory and visual hallucinations that are associated with Schizophrenia.
  2. According to research, a person who is schizophrenic suffers various hallucinations which can be caused by Genetic disorders, which affect Chromosome 22, and chemical imbalances in the brain. For example, a person who hears voices has a defective Auditory Thalamus. These people perceive reality differently, because of dysfunctional communication within the brain. These miscommunications caused by Chemicals, such as Dopamine and Glutamine imbalances, lead schizophrenics to mistake everyday noises for voices in their heads. This malfunction in the brain, is very similar to a glitch in a computer code.  The imagery I created mimics the malfunction to create new images from the progression of the disease. I have manipulated the photo’s coding, the same way that the genetic disorders manipulate this person’s perception. The first pieces have minor glitches, easy to overlook, such as the first symptoms. As my pieces advance, the glitches become more disorienting and make the original composition hard to distinguish. Eventually, I coded several pictures together, which resembles a person’s inability to decipher what is real.



  1. My work examines the conflict surrounding the powerful connotations attributed to my own outward expression of race and gender. I assemble abstract forms of my parent and I to extend the idea of a “self-portrait”. By using both drawing and sculptural elements to establish physical space, I am able to invite the viewer to interact with each piece. This allows me to visually dissect layers of myself, reflecting on my experiences as a person of mixed racial background.
  2. This body of work examines the opposition that exists in the connotations attributed to my outward expression of race and gender. Through abstract self-portraiture, I explore how facial features and posture affect others perception. As someone of mixed racial background, my parents play an integral role in this work; redefining what a “self-portrait” is. I make this comment with juxtaposed imagery, using drawing principles to utilize space; cutting paper and carving/staining wood offers me line and tonal qualities. This process reflects how socialization has influenced me by visually dissecting layers of myself.
  3. My work began presented as altarpieces (Pieces 1-4) with gold embellishments. I then began experimenting with studies/additive appendages outside of the figure (Pieces 5-6). Later played with space as a tool to allow interaction with the viewer (Pieces 7-8). I pushed this concept by utilizing symbolism; placing my viewer in a submissive role. A separation of power is created by the road blockade, chair, and dinner table viewers can sit at with a podium of my father (Pieces 9-11). Finally, I utilize depth with a life size assemblage of myself (Piece 12). Behind, an interview of my parents is projected. I investigate their relationship with their racial identity/gender expression/how that influenced how they raised me.




What is the central idea of your concentration? (500 characters maximum)

Restlessness. At the core of every person’s mind is a dichotomy. One part seeks to be more productive, achieve more, experience it all, and do it all – in a word, ambition. The other part understands that we cannot achieve, experience, and do everything, and may, in excess, manifest as a sense of powerlessness. The resulting conflict of these two parts is a sort of melancholic restlessness – a grim acceptance of our own weakness paired with an ambition that burns with the fury of a sun.


How does the work in your concentration demonstrate the exploration of your idea? You may refer to specific images as examples. When referencing specific images, please indicate the image numbers. (1350 characters maximum)

The neutral, melancholic, still, and grim expressions of the isolated faces exist in stark contrast with the urban, rebellious, and energetic connotations of spray paint, unrestrained lines, and bold color choices, each piece evoking the antipodes of ambition and resignation. The motion evoked via the lines and arrows (triangles, based off the Greek letter ‘delta,’ a symbol representing change) that bisect and ‘punch through’ pieces 4, 6, 8, 9 represent a split or projectile through the body, a self-inflicted attack. The implied stillness of the facial features (representing outward expression of restlessness as melancholy) is reinforced by monolithic shadows that break down into chaos, color, and lines that defy the bounds of shapes and form. The layering of dark, still, melancholic forms (such as the gaunt face in 5 and the skull in 3) and the bold, bright, dynamic, and unrestrained detail expresses the complex experience of the internal conflict between the two parts of the self.




“Jolie Laide” is the title of my portfolio which is focused on turning the ugly into the beautiful. Through this work I am reconciling my memories and reflecting on my experiences of surviving the 2004 Southeast Indian Ocean Tsunami. The use of a variety of mixed media including collage, paint, and drawing is intended to reference the chaos of the experience.

My Portfolio is a reflection of the events and memories leading up to and following the 2004 Southeast Indian Ocean Tsunami that I lived through when I was 6 years old. My portfolio stems from the French saying “Jolie Laide” which means ” Beautiful ugly” or, to make the ugly beautiful. It stands for something that is of unconventional beauty. Jolie Laide revolves around reconciliation and transformation. The memories used for the majority of my portfolio were purposefully selected because of their grotesque and graphic nature. The technique of collage was vital to this portfolio as the majority of the images used were taken from Penang magazines released the weeks following the tsunami. For images 1, 2, & 5 I drew from my childhood memories and chose to portray the tsunami through an innocent filter much like the one I experienced the disaster through as a young american girl. Contrasting those, images 6, 7, & 8 drew from my darker memories and are centered on the death and blood that I witnessed. Through the transformation of these traumatizing memories into tangible works of art, it has given me a sense of closure with this event and has allowed me to better understand my contrail over my media and my content. I have been able to hone my seemingly haphazard use of mixed media and see beauty in my once ugly memories.

EXAMPLE 5 draft #2


  1. My concentration focuses on creating personal rules for making and looking at art.
  2. My works are primarily inspired by my research on philosophy and art history.
  3. My process involved researching philosophers and revolutionary artists like Manet which helped me expand my perception of art from something decorative to an essential behavior of intimately interacting with both my viewer and my materials.
  4. My process involved experimenting with the techniques and subjects of the figures I researched.