Painting Her World: Emily Gagliostro

“Ever since I was little, art was the thing that stuck,” says VHS junior Emily Gagliostro who claims she has always found her passion in art.  Emily says she can even recall a time when she was a child and would draw in the pews at church and that would keep her entertained during the service.

“Art is like an escape and it’s fun!” Emily says as she laughs with a sparkle in her dark brown eyes while tucking her pin straight dark brown locks behind her ears.

The painting that Emily is most fond of is her illustration of a black and white painting that she did in eighth grade. The way the colors blended together captured the essences of the picture, which is why it’s her favorite. Emily says she has a sixth sense when it comes to art. She can tell if the picture will turn out to her satisfaction while she is drawing.

Emily perks up when she talks about her favorite artist Chuck Close, whose paintings are featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She also shares a smile when she talks about her mentors, who have influenced her in so many ways. In a more somber tone, Emily discusses the death of her art teacher and mentor, Herb Schwartz. She independently studied with Mr. Schwartz for seven years prior to his death. He helped her take art “to the next level,” she says, and take on new challenges. After his death, she refused to draw for several months, because she was depressed that she lost not only a mentor, but a friend. After several dark months, Emily was enlightened to pursue art as a career because she realized Mr. Schwartz would not have wanted to see her talent go to waste. Emily says she may not have considered a career in art if Mr. Schwartz had not passed on.

In honor of Mr. Schwartz, she is organizing a memorial.  His colorful world inspired her to create paintings to honor the colorful life he lived. Her new mentor, Chris Gangten, another artist for whom she is currently interning, is helping her with this endeavor. Mr. Gangten is the owner of a graphic design studio and has bountiful knowledge of the art world.

“[Art] is extremely competitive,” says Emily. Her proudest moment in art was when she attended an elite art camp at the Fashion Institute of Technology and she kept up with all the artists who attended.

Emily prefers to draw with pencils and pastels. She says that her inspiration doesn’t come from her mood, but as soon as she picks up a pastel or pencil she can create an escape through her art work.

If a crystal ball could predict Emily’s future, art would be in it. She wants to attend art school, but if she doesn’t she would want to study art therapy in college.

“If I could do anything I would go into art, and I always have to enjoy it!” says Emily.