Artist of the Issue: Ella Pascucci ’23

By Katya Agrawal

—If you attended the AP Studio Art exhibition last spring, you probably remember viewing Ella Pascucci’s gorgeous images filled with giraffe heads, zebra bodies, and cell-like shapes. In her AP portfolio, Pascucci worked mostly digitally to create colorful, patterned pieces. Beginning with oil painting, she started producing art when she was in the fourth grade at the Acorn School of Art in Marblehead, Massachusetts. She has continued her passion throughout high school; at Winsor, she has taken countless visual arts courses including Advanced Drawing and Painting, Advanced Portfolio Development, and, of course, AP Studio Art. Outside of class, Pascucci is a clubhead for the Students Association of Fine Arts (SAFA) and the Boston Fine Arts Club as well as one of the Graphics Editors for our very own newspaper. The Banner recently had the chance to speak with Pascucci about her interest in art.

How would you describe your work? What are your primary goals?

In my work, I play around with color, composition, and 2D versus 3D dimensions. Most of my works also include some kind of pattern. My AP Art portfolio especially worked with pattern as I explored nature through abstraction and the Fibonacci sequence. There, I mixed drawing with photoshop. I even took pictures of cells using a microscope to then distort. 

What is the story behind your piece Herd Mentality?

I love zebras and their pattern because I can’t believe they exist. Zebras and dalmations seem like they would be in a fairytale, not in the real world. No one, not even scientists, know why zebras have their stripes, as I learned while completing an SAT reading passage. So, in my piece Herd Mentality, I focused on the pattern of zebras by layering them over each other and contrasting them with a red background. I drew the zebras by hand in pencil and then used photoshop to finalize the piece. Once I layered the zebras, the piece became like an optical illusion and each zebra was hidden in the herd. 

Who are some of your favorite artists?

I have a wide range of favorite artists. I really like Edward Hopper. Nighthawks was the first painting I ever knew, and its mood really resonated with me. I like surrealists Dali and Dorothea Tanning. I also especially like abstract artists like Rothko and Barnett Newman, who use large colorful rectangles in their work. I love their paintings because they make people mad. Often people will say, “I could do that,” or “My toddler could do that.” I think that art is great when it can evoke anger and strong emotions. To take a line from Big Eyes, everyone “wants to see the sappy paintings that made grown men fight.” 

Do you hope to study art or art history after Winsor? If so, why?

I plan to major in Art History in college. I think there is stigma against the major because it is seen as irrelevant and unuseful [compared] to traditional career paths. However, I believe it is great to hone critical thinking skills as well as to understand history and personal psyches in ways unattainable through language.

Do you have any advice for Winsor students interested in studio art?

Take advantage of the opportunity to make your own portfolio and make sure you have a focused subject that you are interested in. Also, continue to create the way you want because you will begin to develop a personal style and that is of more value than any other skill. Lastly, my art teacher always said to “keep the scribble” as to say you shouldn’t try to copy images perfectly or even ideas – think outside of the box. Art does not have to be an 8 x 12 painting and most successful artists have become successful because they redefined standards of art at the time. 

The Banner is excited to see what Ella will create next!

Responses edited for brevity

Selections of Ella’s pieces

Herd Mentality