In June 2011, a group of student artists from Deer Park High School joined in an experimental artist circle. The group, led by Tyler Schuh, wanted to learn more about portraiture and sharpen drawing skills. Members decided on an ambitious venture: drawing portraits of each senior who would graduate with Schuh, calling it the Facefolio Project.
Sixteen DPHS students, including Schuh, have spent the past 11 months working on the project. About 150 portraits have been drawn from photos found on Facebook, senior Michaela Roath said.
Freshman Tiani Vierra said she spent more time on the drawings of people she knew. “Some faces, their features were so easy to draw, and others, it was more difficult to capture their face. But I found it easier to draw people I didn’t know,” she said.
Senior Nicholas Williams said it’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s been “fun work.” He said it took him awhile to get into it, but once he started drawing, he couldn’t stop.
The project has been about more than creating artwork and helping the students hone their skills; it’s helped the artists develop friendships and given them courage to try new things and meet new people.
“It’s amazing how many people I’ve discovered, that I’ve never heard or seen. It’s amazing how far away you can be from the people in your class,” Roath said.
Vierra also said that the project, and spending time with her artist friends, has been therapeutic. “The project has been like medicine; my parents were going through a divorce, and it’s been tough at home. It was a healthy escape,” she said.
Schuh said his goal is to have the project grow to other high schools, not just in Spokane but across the country. “This project, whether in a big school, little school, rural or urban, as long as you have the right people who are passionate about it, it’ll succeed,” he said.
And it’s on its way. In the 2012-’13 academic year, the student-led project will potentially take place at Riverside High School; Deer Park Home Link, – the Deer Park homeschool program; and Lewis and Clark High School.