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I have been an artist for as long as I can remember. Through drawing, painting, and playing music, I've found creativity to be one of the most important parts of life. Art is what makes us human, and I believe we must preserve it and encourage it. I am passionate about spreading the joy of art to future generations, and currently teach at an art studio in Ocean Beach, San Diego.
Owner and founder of Alyssa Stewart Art & Designs, I specialize in creating custom pet portraits and indoor murals for clients, while also creating deeply personal works in my studio for gallery exhibition and other display. I am pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Management & Entrepreneurship with a minor in Art at San Diego State University. Outside of work, school, and art, I enjoy spending time with my family, taking my pup to Dog Beach in OB, and roller skating on Mission Bay.
Check out my interview in SD Voyager Magazine!
Today we’d like to introduce you to Alyssa Stewart.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Alyssa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When I was growing up, my family used to move around a lot. To say we had a chaotic life would be accurate, but one constant source of comfort for me was art – specifically music and painting. I used to paint for fun all the time, but by the time I began college in Texas, I had still never thought to pursue a career in the creative world. I thought that my artistic talent would be reserved for a hobby outside of the real job I would have someday.
This mentality led me to pursue a degree in biochemistry when I first enrolled in college, but I quickly realized that I was too social to spend the rest of my life isolated in a laboratory. Perhaps something which required more interpersonal skills would be a better fit for me – after all, navigating life with five siblings had left me with quite the affinity for communication and negotiation. But before I jumped into another undergraduate program, I decided to take some time off from school.
As an artist my style derives from the deep feelings we experience as part of the human condition: love, nostalgia, pain, excitement, frustration. I tend to explore subjects ranging from family dynamics and childhood memories to human rights, racial equality, and the collective memories held by our society. For example, one day I’ll paint a portrait using endearing candid photographs of my five siblings and my parents, and the next day I’ll create a piece which scrutinizes police brutality and the flaws of current societal structures. Grief has seeped into my work quite a bit as well. I’ve painted many works about my mother who passed away when I was 14. These paintings have helped me to memorialize her while I process my life experiences.
A lot of my inspiration comes from a feeling about something I see. It’s almost magnetic-- I’ll see a photograph and feel an immediate calling to paint it. It’s as if the photograph wants me to paint it. The main driver of creating paintings for me is the actual feeling of applying paint on canvas, and seeing the painting transform from random brushstrokes into a living, breathing person, object, or scene on the canvas. I paint for that moment when I cross a threshold and burst out, “Wow! Yes, this looks exactly like what I’m going for already.”
Though I find inspiration in the world around me, my style of artwork doesn’t always align with a lot of the conceptual and installation-driven art that is popular today. I love to paint portraits of people, animals, and whatever is in front of me – whether it’s nature or the inside of my apartment. Most of the time the subjects of those portraits are my family, friends, or day-to-day household objects.
My art encapsulates my own human experience – it aims to bring joy to others, to capture life’s most precious moments, and to find justice for marginalized people.