The Life of a 2D AP Art Student


  At first it almost seems silent. The soft scratching of pencils or the swish of a paintbrush are the only sounds that can be heard. There is a sort of settled peace about the place. It is both enjoyable and serious, heavy with intent focus. The room’s dynamic is just as unique as the one between Mr. Bied, the 2-D AP arts teacher, and his students– he keeps a fun, dry sense of humour while maintaining a rigorous pace; a sort of personality that enraptures his students.

  Being an AP art student is no easy task, as it requires a recommendation and 3 years of prior classes–  Foundations in Studio Art, Drawing I or Painting I, one year of an

intermediate level 2D, and although not required, Portfolio Development Honors is highly recommended. AP art is also a huge time commitment, with at least 5 hours of work

expected outside of class per week. Many students work even more than this, especially upon approaching due dates. Each student has a unique view on art, with different motivations and interests. AP focuses on further developing a students’ talent, while giving them even more creative freedom.

2-D AP art is structured such that students must submit two different groups of art;

concentration and breadth. Twelve breadth pieces are required, and past pieces may be used; they are meant to show off the student’s versatility and an interesting array of mediums. Ten concentration pieces are also required, and must be created around a specific theme chosen by the student. Each piece is meant to evolve in complexity while carrying on the same theme.


Do you have a favorite piece you’ve created?


Nithya Badarinath: I have one picture I took a couple of years ago of a dandelion. It’s really funny. I always tell people this story. I was just kind of squatting on the ground to take this picture. And this random lady was walking by and said, “You know that’s just a weed, right?” And I was like yeah, okay, whatever. And the picture turned out really nice. So I was like, it may just be a weed, but it was a really cool picture.

Alex Hastings: I’d like to think that if the piece I’m working on is not my favorite piece, then I’m doing it wrong.

Tyler Wang: At the beginning, I didn’t like anything that I finished. But the more pieces I’ve finished, the more pieces I like. So it’s hard to say. I think the first one, which really encouraged me, was the one I finished in Drawing that was mixed media, because before that, I kind of forgot how to do art because I stopped for so long.


How much time do you work on your art outside of school?


Serena Scalcione: Ok, so it all depends on if it’s like, the first week of working on a project, I may only working like a couple hours outside. But as it gets closer to the deadline, I work on it way more. I always cram it and there have been times where I’ve pulled all nighters and worked like hours and hours. It just depends on what I have going on.

Cindy Fallon: Yeah, it does. But i still love it. It takes up most of my time, but it’s still awesome.

Hastings:  I work a lot on weekends. That’s really the time when I get everything done. You know, spend a Sunday morning or Saturday morning, just bring out the computer, sit down, start grinding on a couple of projects or whatever I want to get done. You mess around, it’s you. It’s, you know, ‘try and make some things.’

Wang: A couple of weeks ago I spent 18 hours in a week, because I take two arts classes, and I had to turn in two pieces at the same time. But usually 6 to 8 hours outside of class.


What is your concentration’s theme? What inspires you?


Scalcione: So I knew that I wanted to do a drawing when I went into it,  just because I like the more technical aspect of it. I like being able to look at an image and know what i’m drawing. I really like nature and combining different aspects of life, the natural world with the inanimate world. Things that combine together to make something interesting.

Hastings: I did a project last year that included a lot of optical illusions and designs and stuff. I really wanted to take that and make it into something a little more concrete, but at the same time, abstract. My uncle is really into architecture, and he got me into architecture. I took a class sophomore year at SCAD, and I learned how to do graphic design in Photoshop. So it speeds up the process, makes everything more precise; I could take exact angle measurements of certain lines and dimensions, and it just makes everything a lot more accurate than doing it by hand.

Wang: No one in my life really does any type of art, and I’m the only person who does it in my family, and all my friends. But I think, when I came here, I was trying to find some places I could do well [Wang boards at Bolles]. I can do pretty good in math and science, but I don’t like them. And art is the thing I can both like and do well on.


Is there anything you would like to say about your experience in AP art?


Hastings: It’s freedom for your mind; I don’t think I would be as happy as I am at school if I didn’t have a heart and that creative outlet.

Scalcione: Just like, okay, so it gets really stressful sometimes. And a lot of people don’t understand that art is probably one of the hardest AP classes. I would say, especially, because we have to work on it so much and we all put so much effort and time into it. And it’s, like, it’s not just a class to goof of in. You know, we are here. We all are passionate about it. You can’t do it if you don’t enjoy it somewhat. And it’s nice to have an outlet, you know?

Wang: It’s really different from past art classes. It’s really time consuming. And you can’t really just expect a really good grade, especially in AP. You can put in the same amount of time in one work as before, but you wouldn’t get the same grade as you’d probably get a couple years ago, because Mr. Bied’s really strict on anything we have done. But it’s pretty interesting to see how he grades differently; otherwise you can’t see your own issues in your own art.


It’s different from other subjects. In English or Math if you spend five hours studying in a night, you can probably get an A+ on the following day’s test. But in AP Art, no matter how much time you spend, you’ll probably get a B+, and you should expect that.

Patience and passion are probably the only things which support us to

continue the art.