99 Concentration Topics (AP Studio Art)

Selecting a concentration topic is of paramount importance when it comes to developing the AP Studio Art Portfolio–students must select something that offers enough engagement and interest to complete 12 works all based upon the same subjects. Here are 99 topics to get you started thinking creatively, and each of the 99 has been used to receive a passing score on the AP Exam.

For some students, deciding on a concentration can be the starting point of something spectacular–they find a topic that they are passionate about, they begin creating immediately, and they develop the concentration part of their portfolio almost effortlessly. For others, however, making a final decision brings their work to a screeching halt. They cannot find enough angles or approaches to the topic that interest them, they struggle to engage, and procrastination becomes worse than ever. For those students, this list can be used to start the preliminary process of creative thought, conceptual development, and brainstorming. A final topic doesn’t need to be a forced decision, but it never too early to begin the process of its development. This is a good place to get you started.


  1. Cliques and Social Groups
  2. Accidents or Chance Encounters
  3. People’s Interaction with Music
  4. A Family Through Any Number of Years
  5. Encountering a New Person, Place, or Experience
  6. The Clash of Two Enemies
  7. How We Avoid Encounters We Do Not Want
  8. How People Meet, Talk, and Act Online
  9. A Party (Kid’s Birthday, Retirement, Weekend House Party, etc.)
  10. When Disparate Cultures Come Into Contact
  11. Between Human and Animal

Technical Concerns

  1. Light and Shadow
  2. Reflections on a Variety of Surfaces
  3. Folds and Fabrics with Pattern
  4. Creating Depth through Use of Line
  5. Illustrating a Single Story Using a Specific Artistic Style
  6. Hands in Various Poses, Done with Various Media
  7. Landscapes (or other subjects) Painted in Varying Color Schemes
  8. Drawing with Nontraditional Materials/Drawing on Nontraditional Surfaces
  9. Positive and Negative Space
  10. Closeups that Show Texture
  11. Water and Refraction

Combinations and Juxtapositions

  1. Plants and Organic Material with Buildings
  2. Transportation Through Natural Areas
  3. Urban v. Rural Life
  4. Technology with Old/Antique/Vintage Items
  5. Size Distortions that Equalize or Enhance Everyday Objects
  6. Indigenous People in Modern Life
  7. Uniting Against and Enemy
  8. Twins and Their Lives
  9. Animals and the Food They Become
  10. Instruments and People Playing Them
  11. Disparate Objects Placed Together in Still Lifes

Society and Human Interaction

  1. Society’s Greatest Advances Come at What Cost?
  2. Costumes and Clothing from Different Parts of the World
  3. Settings and Costumes from Various Time Periods
  4. Consumers and Consuming
  5. Dichotomy Between Rich and Poor
  6. Bad Choices Teenagers Make
  7. Beauty in an Impoverished Environment
  8. Lifestyles of the Homeless
  9. Social Issues
  10. Work Based on Crime
  11. Document Your Community

Environment and Human Effects

  1. Using Nature as a Basis for Design
  2. Architecture and its Surrounding Environment
  3. Landscapes Over the Course of Multiple Years
  4. Fences and the Divisions they Create
  5. Site Specific Artworks
  6. Nature Taking Over a Decrepit City or Abandoned Buildings
  7. Impermanence/Ephemerality
  8. How Can a Solitary Figure Alter an Environment?
  9. The Destruction of Natural Disasters
  10. Flowers as a Representation of Human Emotion
  11. Development Encroaching on Habitats


  1. The Journey of an Animal (Salmon Swimming Upstream, Birds Flying South, etc.)
  2. The Slow Disintegration of an Object or Group of Objects
  3. From Young to Old
  4. Through the Seasons of the Year
  5. The Evolution of an Illness
  6. Metamorphosis
  7. Working Through Fears, Pain, or Illness
  8. Life Cycles
  9. Time Travel
  10. The Life of an Athlete, Musician on Tour, Circus Performer
  11. Documentation of a Road Trip

Feelings or Emotions

  1. Abandonment
  2. Vulnerability
  3. Anxiety
  4. Depression
  5. Phobias and Fears
  6. Obsession
  7. Humiliation
  8. Joy
  9. Repulsion
  10. Courage
  11. Empathy

People’s Unique Qualities

  1. What Will People Do to Be Different?
  2. What Lengths Will People Go To in Order to Be Extraordinary?
  3. Idiosyncrasies of Peers as Captured in Portraits
  4. Fashion Choices and Accessories
  5. Tattoos
  6. Portraits Focused on Hair
  7. Showing the Work that Goes Into Developing Talent
  8. Goals and Future Plans
  9. Habits
  10. Unusual Life Experiences
  11. Images of Beauty Throughout the World

Single Object or Single Events that Represent Something More

  1. Masks
  2. Shoes
  3. Childhood Toys
  4. Biographies Through Personal Effects
  5. Quinceanera
  6. Sporting Events
  7. Souvenirs from a Family Vacation
  8. The Best Meal You’ve Ever Eaten
  9. First Paycheck
  10. An Important Sporting Event
  11. A Move Across the Country
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