Max Fujimori

Portraits and Patterns

The Scholar: Max Fujimori

The Project: Portraits and Patterns

The Essential Question: “It was really exploratory. I had some experience with pencil and charcoal a long time ago, but I didn’t do art for a long time—I think it was maybe four or five years. Then I saw that there was Williston Scholars and I was like, why not? I wanted to get back into art. The first thing that came to mind was just doing portraits, because I had a little bit of experience with that—like drawing hands, faces, and figure work. I actually started trying to do figures, but it was really, really hard to start out with and having a lot of practice. So then I got into some basic faces, and I kind of funneled my way towards the portraits and the patterns.”

Surprising Discovery: “Definitely—there’s just shapes in everything. That’s kind of a basic artist thing, but, definitely with hands and faces, there’s shapes behind everything. And then I think a really cool thing was also looking at people differently—looking at the shapes behind their face.”

Biggest Challenge: “There are a lot of challenges, especially with the charcoal—the smudging was really bad. So definitely struggled with the smudging, because every time I would do edits, I would erase a little bit, but my hand would leave smudge marks, I’d erase that and it would leave more.”

Tip for Future Scholars: “Just pick something you really like. I think if you force yourself to do something you’re not interested in, you’re going to lose steam throughout the couple of months.”

Did you learn any new technique(s) from the project that you’ll use in your art going forward? “Actually, yes, two days ago, right before we pretty much finished everything. One of my fellow students, he gave me the idea of using the negative space. My first charcoal was just a black face on white paper, but then the second one I actually covered the entire paper in the dark charcoal, and then I erased to create the drawing, which I thought was really cool. I didn’t even know that was a thing.”