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For Max Fishman, Art and Technology Are a Perfect Match

For Max Fishman, Art and Technology Are a Perfect Match

It’s clear that Max Fishman has an eye on the future. 

As a Technology Interaction and Design student from the Herb Alpert School of Music, Fishman, who hails from Sierra Madre, CA, clearly enjoys straddling the blurry line between technology and the arts. 

“I’ve had the opportunity to work on building tools for artists to harness the power of new technology like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality,” he says. These are skills that Fishman believes artists, with their creative minds and fresh perspectives, are uniquely qualified to do. 

Fishman’s experience with CalArts began before he came to the Institute as a student.

“I was a CSSSA (California State Summer School for the Arts) camper and was attracted to the music program at CalArts from an early age. Being in the program gave me confidence that I could be a part of this community of artists. It made me feel like CalArts was the right place for me.”  

Fishman’s aunt, Deborah Lavine, who at the time served as an administrator and faculty member in the school of Film/Video, encouraged him to apply to the Institute when the time came. 

A dedicated percussionist, Fishman appreciated the ability to interact with all of the other specializations within the Herb Alpert School of Music. Not to mention, other artists across the Institute. A recipient of the Michael Eisner Scholarship, the support enabled Fishman to focus more closely on his unique experience at CalArts.

When the pandemic struck in 2020, Fishman used his skill as a web designer to help develop the first Calarts Virtual Expo. “We built a 3D Unity-based video game where users could explore the CalArts campus—similar to how one might explore Expo on campus—from the comfort of their home.”

In addition to his work on Expo, Fishman has managed several websites and servers for CalArts, as well helping to build the infrastructure for the next generation of Calartians to maintain, update, and care for these various digital projects going forward.

He has also focused closely on creating digital tools that artists can use. His BFA thesis focuses on building a data labeling tool for artists in order to develop machine learning algorithms and models. It’s work that closely walks the line between art and technology. But it’s a space where Fishman is more than comfortable, and uniquely prepared to traverse.  

“The skills I’ve learned at Calarts span beyond just art,” Fishman says. “Working with Ajay Kapur and Madeline Falcone I’ve developed the skills to work in a variety of industries and have gained the knowledge to manage my business as a creative technologist and artist.”