Artist spotlight: Alyssa Pasternak

Chalk pastel by Alyssa Pasternak (12).

Classical music plays in the art room as Alyssa Pasternak (12) sits at a table, meticulously stroking her brush against a painting of a water buffalo. A feeling of euphoria washes over her. Over two hours have passed, and finally, she has finished the piece.

“From the very beginning, I’ve always loved art,” said Pasternak.

Pasternak has been drawing and painting for as long as she can remember. The media she focuses on are drawing and painting, with drawing being the stronger of the two. She gets her inspiration from the people around her, fellow artists’ technique and their media, along with artists’ Instagrams.

She really pulls herself into her work,” said Andreana Tangonan (12), Pasternak’s friend since third grade. “When you see her work, you can really tell that she is passionate in what she does because she creates amazing work.” Throwing herself into this passion she is able to produce a lot of artwork.

With the amount of artwork being produced, artists’ typically have favorite pieces, whether it be based on the topic or end result. “My favorite piece that I’ve done would probably be a piece that I did of my sister and I in graphite,” said Pasternak, “or the summer project I did in chalk pastel of a girl looking a fireflies.” Tangonan’s favorite piece of hers is an oil pastel of polar bears.

Her most challenging piece was a painting about homelessness, because painting or any wet media usually takes her a lot longer than drawing. Typically she’ll spend two hours on pieces done with chalk pastels, while painting with watercolors will take her much longer. For this reason, she tends to favor drawing over painting.

Most artists try to convey a message through their artwork, and Pasternak tries this as well.

“I’ve been trying to get more messages out through my pieces,” Pasternak said. “Recently, I did a piece with a little girl holding an iPhone and she’s away camping with her family, and so my message in that piece was about how consumed we are with our phones and technology.”

Her overall goals as an artist include furthering her technique and continuing to develop messages through her art. While she doesn’t have any artists in particular that influence her work, she does enjoy the work of grunge painter Lora Zombie. Her artwork inspires Pasternak more than it does influence it because they have differing styles.

After high school, Pasternak plans on continuing her artwork at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD). After college, she hopes to further her art career by becoming a teacher, either high school or college level, and selling her art on the side.

If she is not pursuing her artwork in her future, I can still see her showing her love for art, because a talent like her’s can’t go to waste,” said Tangonan.