This article features the bold fruit and vegetable drawings of Sucha Chantaprasopsuk, completed as part of her AP Studio Art Drawing qualification at Reavis High School, Burbank, Illinois, United States. The drawings were submitted for Sucha’s Concentration project (awarded full marks – 6/6) and were featured on the AP Central Collegeboard website, as a learning exemplar for others. The examiners commented:
The work goes far beyond copied or standard images and creates a prominent student voice.
After purchasing fruit and vegetables from a local grocery store, Sucha arranged and photographed these, producing intricate, photorealistic compositions. At a magnified scale, she forces the viewer to study everyday objects with fresh eyes. Sections of fruit become a vehicle for exploring creative mark-making, texture, light and colour; enlarged scenes brought to life on the page.
We were lucky enough to interview Sucha about her drawing project. Her responses are below.
Your project consists of vibrant drawings and paintings of fruits and vegetables. What drew you to this topic?
Sucha: I actually was not drawn to this topic until I had created my first piece (finger-painting of corn with tempera paint) as an assignment for a different art class, which was a painting class taught by Ms. Kalus. Everything about it just intrigued me to want to learn more about creating layer upon layers of various colors, developing a piece that seemed to have no entity, into something that came alive on paper. I decided to choose this topic for my Concentration and began buying fruits/vegetables at a local grocery store near my home, and photographed them during AP Art class. Rather than using paint though, which was something I was familiar with, I wanted to explore using colored pencils to capture in fine detail the textures and colors.
Fruit and vegetables are a common topic among Art students and artists. How did you ensure that you approached this subject matter in an innovative and interesting way?
Sucha: I did not do any research to see if any other students have completed the same subject matter, but I was not worried because I believe that every artist has different techniques and ways of expressing themselves. No art piece will ever be exactly the same. My goal wasn’t to be different or unique in order to get a high score, but it was to reflect on my personal self and what I wanted to accomplish. My awareness of fine detail was an advantage. I wanted others to appreciate what I saw by closely capturing the fruit/vegetables. The markings I made ranged from barely putting pressure on the pencil to heavy accents to really display how valuable color and contrast can be in expression. My choices were based off of what I wanted to achieve, as well as great tips from my art teacher. The end products of my Concentration reflected the confidence I had accomplished.
You demonstrate excellent observational drawing skills, recording shape, proportion, tone and surface with accuracy. How did you develop this skill and what advice do you have for students who struggle in this area?
Sucha: I never attended art courses outside of school, but I loved to sketch as a kid. My favorite thing to do was shade (apply tone), which helped me improve the skill I needed to accomplish my Concentration. If students are struggling with this area, it can be very beneficial to practice creating gradients, maybe first beginning with a regular pencil, then growing into single colors, and then using multiple colors. This can then be transitioned to paint brushes etc. This skill will become important when creating an actual piece. I often advise to start with the lightest color throughout your artwork, and then build onto darker and darker colors. Also practicing different pressures, as well as trying different ways to hold your pencil/brush to get those variations in pressures will be beneficial. Practice is key!
What other advice do you have for other high school Art students who wish to gain excellent grades?
Sucha: The greatest advice I have ever received and want to pass on is, “be the best you – you – can be”. You will not have a great experience in the course if you do not enjoy what you do, even though you have the skill to do it. It will be effortless if you choose a topic of your interest rather choosing a topic based on “who hasn’t done it yet”. To be honest, having only skill might get you excellent grades, but I have seen those whose skills were very weak, rise as great artists (as well as attaining phenomenal grades). They kept trying, although they failed the first time around, and also had reasons to why they wanted to create art. You need to feel connected to your artwork somehow, but there doesn’t necessarily need to be a super inspiring background story for why. Maybe your work represents your family, maybe it could be events that impacted your life, or maybe it could just be that you are really into the color blue. Either way, being pushed to achieve by internal means will get you where you want to be both personally and grade-wise. Only then will you reach your full potential.
The Student Art Guide features exceptional projects from high school Art students around the world. We celebrate the achievement of students and schools, aiming to motivate and inspire others. The range of qualifications featured is constantly growing. If you found this interview helpful, please share it using the social media buttons below – as well as view our other awesome high school Art projects!
Amiria has been an Art & Design teacher and a Curriculum Co-ordinator for seven years, responsible for the course design and assessment of student work in two high-achieving Auckland schools. She has a Bachelor of Architectural Studies, Bachelor of Architecture (First Class Honours) and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. Amiria is a CIE Accredited Art & Design Coursework Assessor.