Interview: Two Creatives On Portfolio School

And now, a word from the folks who went to Portfolio School. 

Meet Jax, an Art Center graduate and a senior art director and Qiana, a third quarter (first year) art direction student at the Creative Circus. 
Q: How did you know you wanted to be a creative?
Jax Jung
 Jax: Really was born with a marker in my hand. To NOT be creative was never even an option.
Qiana: I'd always been creative I just didn't know what to do with it and that you could actually get paid to dream up cool stuff.

Q: Why did you go to portfolio school?
Jax: Graduated a few months from undergrad early [with a fine arts degree] and figured I’d kill time by taking some night classes at ArtCenter. I picked up the manual and went down the list of classes still open for enrollment. Graphic Design was my first choice but the class was full, transportation design was next on my list and it was also full. Saw Advertising Design and they had one spot opened. So I signed up. And I loved it and started going full time.

Qiana Lee
Qiana: I knew I didn't want to work in a crime lab my entire life (I'm too plaid and polka dots for such a drab career) and I knew I had to go back to school.  After looking into a lot of different whack Masters programs that totally didn't fit my personality, a friend recommended portfolio school and it totally made sense.

Q: Why that school in particular?
Jax: The school was always decorated by amazing pieces of art and design by the students. It always made me want to go there.

Qiana: I had talked to a few people at the various schools across the country and the most welcoming, caring, genuine people I found at the Circus.  Plus you had gone here and you're doing awesome and who doesn't want to be able to say "I just quit my job to join the Circus."

Q: How was/ is it?
Jax: Intense. I remember first day of school, a teacher had asked his students "Who has a boyfriend/girlfriend raise your hand." Then he said "Wow.... that's a lot of hearts that will be broken because by the end of the term, you'll all be done." Sure enough, he was right. School took over your life.

Qiana: I can't remember the last time I was this challenged.  In a good way. We work crazy long hours (15 hrs of sleep a week is a treat). I'm not the most creative person here (which I'm not used to and pushes me to do things and come up with crap I didn't know I had in me

Q: How did it help you grow?
Jax:  You lived at school so you became really close to everyone. You learned from each other. Everyone is their own photographer, art director, copywriter, designer. It really came in handy when I started to work professionally because I didn't have to depend on too many people to make things happen.

Q: Do you think you could've gotten to where you are without portfolio school?
Jax:  No. ArtCenter played an integral part of my career. The training I got in the 3 years in school really prepared me. Plus I always run into old school friends who are in the business. The networks you make are very valuable because half of advertising is who you know as well.

Q: Any advice for someone trying to decide if they should go to portfolio school?

Qiana: Surround yourself with amazingly talented people you'll be glad you did.  
Have fun bc that's when the creative gods rain down on you.  
Experience life bc every dumb random thing to do and experience will help you.  
Grind, because while you're sleeping someone is working extra hard.

See Jax's work at and look out for Qiana's in about an year. 
Here's a list of some portfolio schools you can check out if you're interested.