Stella Anastasakis is March’s Artist of the Month

Art III member Stella Anastasakis remembers doing hands-on art in preschool and kindergarten, going outside to do natural projects. In elementary and middle school, her art studies branched out to different media. 

“We had art class every year,” Anastasakis said. “I had this one teacher, and she was so great. We had really fun projects. I remember doing a lot of painting, we drew a lot of animals, and in fifth grade we did a landscape project, too.”

As a freshman, Anastasakis entered the Art I Bridge class to enhance her art skills.

“At the beginning of freshman year, I was not used to having weekly sketchbook projects,” Anastasakis said of her experience in Jesuit’s art program. “It helped me learn a lot more technique, which was really helpful, and between my freshman year and junior year I have grown immensely in drawing realistically.”

When asked to describe her art style, Anastasakis said she was still developing one, but that she enjoys drawing realistically, and dabbles in cartooning.

“It has been a struggle [not having a specific art style], because a lot of kids have already developed a specific style,” Anastasakis said. “With cartooning, it’s a better place for me to get any ideas out of my head, whereas realism is good for me to work on the technicalities of art. One thing I’ve been working on is anatomy, which has been very challenging for me to get right”

Anastasakis said her favorite medium to work with is acrylic paint, and she gets her art inspiration from the internet and her classmates.

“We did three self portraits, which were pretty challenging to do,” Anastasakis said. “We were supposed to draw your face from a mirror, so every time you come back to the mirror, you look slightly different. It took a long time, but it had great results. We got to use any medium we wanted. I did my first one in graphite, the second one in colored pencil, and the third one was in colored pencil on brown paper.”

Currently, Anastasakis and her Art III class are working on a painting project, that combines the works of two different artists.

“I’ve chosen [Alphonse Mucha and Mary Cassatt], and taken one piece from each of them and melded them together into one unique piece of artwork,” Anastasakis said. “Normally, you don’t try to mimic other people’s work because you’re trying to be unique, but this project is more technical.”

Anastasakis said she takes part in a tutoring program called Educate to Empower, where she teaches a third grade girl how to paint. 

“It has been fun to set aside work and schoolwork and just sit down and paint with her,” Anastasakis said. “We do lessons on Zoom, so she’s painting on her side of the camera, and she holds it up to me. I have two cameras: one on my work, and the other on her work, so I can see what she is doing. I have full control over the curriculum I give. We paint animals, nature, and other stuff.”

Anastasakis said her greatest achievement as an artist is winning two Silver Key Awards in the Scholastic Art Contest, an art competition for student artists around the country. She said her biggest challenge is “artist’s block,” as she said she has trouble starting art projects.

Art teacher Sascha Manning has taught Anastasakis for two years, in Art I Bridge and now in Art III. Manning met Anastasakis when she was a freshman applying to the Art I Bridge.

“Her style is still developing, but it is rooted in very strong observational skills,” Manning said. “Her greatest strength as an artist is her willingness to take the time that’s required to improve her techniques. As a person, Stella is warm and kind, and she is a person who you can count on. She is even-keeled, and in tune with her artwork.”

Art II teacher Danielle Chi, who met Anastasakis as a sophomore in her class, commented that her work had emotion, and she used value in a realistic way, which captures the essence of what she is trying to draw.

“Her courage and her ability to try new things inspires me,” Chi said. She just jumps right in and tries her best to put herself out there in her artwork without getting held up by fear or worry. She just keeps moving forward, and her work continues to grow.”

Manning says Anastasakis inspires her to work on art projects thoroughly, and constantly strives to improve upon her skills.

“Stella inspires me by sticking with something, and working on it thouroughly, and at the end of the day having genuine reflection time to look at her work and determine if she could still have improved somewhere. She is so consistent. She is a role model for other students in her commitment to working hard.”

The big question: does Anastasakis see art in her future?

“I hope, though probably not as a profession,” Anastasakis said. “I’m leaning towards the science field for a degree, which is fun because I have completely different hobbies, art and science. I was thinking about doing art and combining it with biology research.”

For any aspiring artist, Anastasakis said it is important to focus on your personal growth and avoid comparisons.

“Try not to compare your work to other people’s work,” Anastasakis said. “The more you focus on your own technique and growth, the better you’ll become, and the less you’ll compare yourself.”

A portrait created by Anastasakis using brown paper and colored pencil. (Stella Anastasakis )
A portrait created by Anastasakis using brown paper and colored pencil. (Stella Anastasakis )
An acrylic painting of a hummingbird. (Stella Anastasakis )


An acrylic painting combining the styles of artists Alphonse Mucha and Mary Cassatt.