Artist Spotlight: Tessa Catalano (I)


(Source: Regina Chiem (I))

By Maddie Murphy (I) and Harrison Tran (II)

If you plan on walking down the hallway of Boston Latin School’s art wing anytime soon, be sure to look out for Tessa Catalano’s (I) pieces pinned to the wall. As an editor for the BLS literary magazine The Register and a current AP Studio Art Drawing student, Catalano has been active in the school’s artistic community for years. She also practices art outside of school with help from her family.

In her AP Art class, Catalano has chosen the topic of time as her concentration. She explains her decision, saying, “I chose to concentrate on time because it was always something that scared me as a kid; I never wanted to grow up or let a moment pass.” Catalano, however, now feels that she has gained a more mature perspective on time from her five-month-long exploration into the subject. She also believes that the journey has been therapeutic and rewarding. Her first and favorite piece in AP Art was a colored pencil drawing, depicting the head of a baby melting into a skull. For her, the piece represents the cycle of life.

Catalano seems to draw much inspiration from her childhood. She began drawing at a young age because art was a tradition passed down in her family. Her grandfather and father often critiqued her work and included her on their own artistic projects, which inspired some of her artworks.

For Catalano, art has always been a way to connect with her family. She remembers a favorite memory when she had finished the first drawing that she was truly proud of. She had shown it to her entire family, thinking she was the “next da Vinci.” Catalano admits, “Now, looking back at the drawing, I can see that that was not the case, but it was still nice to be truly proud of something I created.”

Beyond being a visual artist, Catalano is also a dancer. She plans to incorporate her love of dance into her future AP Art pieces. Catalano’s dance background recently influenced her current fascination with the idea of movement in relation to the passage of time. She shares her recent revelation: “I discovered that for a clock in movement, time moves more than for a stationary clock.” Catalano hopes to explore this connection between time and movement in her next concentration pieces.

For beginners, Catalano admits that art can be intimidating because everyone is afraid of making mistakes. She says, however, “Breaking past that fear and just making whatever it is you want is the first step to exploring art.”

For seasoned artists, artist’s block is a whole other monster. Catalano confirms that she too, struggles from this debilitating hindrance. To overcome this challenge, she recommends one remedy: trying new mediums. Right now, her favorite is pastel pencils because it feels most natural to her, but paints intimidate her because translating what she sees into art is harder when using them. Catalano says that if she could try any new medium, she would try depicting with oil pastels since she thinks that they will allow her to step out of her comfort zone.

As of right now, Catalano has no plans to pursue an art degree in college. She does, however, hope to continue taking art classes. She wants to find a career in which she can utilize her artistic talent, but she still sees art mainly as a hobby. For Catalano, art is something that has always been a part of her life. It is something that is therapeutic for her and has been passed down for generations. Her inspirations are evident in her artwork through intricate diligence that one can see in every fine line.