Moanalua High freshman Arianne Javier with her illustration, Creator.
During the second quarter of this school year, teacher Jeffrey Fujimoto gave his fine arts students at Moanalua High an assignment: a self portrait.
As she mulled over the assignment, freshman Arianne Javier was contemplating her ability to bring alternate worlds to life when her pencils touch paper. Fleshing the images out, these worlds seem more brilliant and enchanting than the one we all occupy.
“I just get immersed in these worlds I’m creating,” she said.
Her surrealist and whimsical illustration,
Creator, earned her the prestigious American Visions nomination in the 2018 Hawaii Regional Scholastic Art Awards. This year, more than 1,500 student artworks were submitted for consideration and 233 were selected for the awards program and an exhibit at the Hawaii State Art Museum to run Feb. 16 to April 13. Nominated works are eligible for national recognition and scholarships to be awarded in the spring.
Only five artworks in Hawai‘i are nominated for the American Visions award, meant to reflect the “best in show” of the selected works. The school’s last nomination was in 2013. Arianne said she was astonished to learn of the honor.
“I couldn’t breathe right,” she said. “My parents were really excited about it.”
This generation of Javiers is something of an artistic dynasty: her two older sisters are also accomplished artists and one has earned a degree in graphics design. The best artistry tip they ever gave their little sister? “Don’t be lazy,” Arianne said.
Having that work ethic is as important as root talent when it comes to professional level artistry, Fujimoto agreed, which is what he sees in Arianne’s work.
“It’s pretty rare to see this level of skill in a freshman,” Fujimoto said. “But she really put in the time and energy. You get out what you put into it.”
Arianne’s vision and technique remind him of a former student, Sylvia Lee. (Her illustration Festering Life earned a Gold Key in last year’s regional awards program; she had eight works in total nominated.)
Watching them work, “it’s almost like having a window into the future,” he said.
Arianne also won a statewide Youth Art Month flag design contest and will have her work (pictured above) exhibited at the National Art Education Association convention in Seattle, WA in March. She received $1,000 and Fujimoto received $1,500 in art supplies for the classroom.
Arianne said she’s benefitted from Fujimoto’s encouragement to keep mining her works to greater depth.
“I’m always telling the students, ‘It’s up to you how far you want to go. I can show you the way but you have to have the desire. You can get there. It’s a lot of discipline.’”
About the Awards
The Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards is the longest-running, largest and most prestigious student recognition program in the United States. Teens in grades 7 through 12 can apply in 29 categories of art and writing for their chance to earn scholarships and have their works exhibited and published. The Hawaii Regional event determines which works will be considered at the national level for exhibits and scholarships.