• “Willow,” by Ariana Pacino
  • Ariana Pacino

Ariana Pacino, 2020 Cover Contest Winner

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“Willow,” by Ariana Pacino, was named our 2020 Creative Outlook Cover Contest winner.

Pacino is a student at ArtCenter College of Design whose favorite art mediums are dip pens, brushes and acrylic ink.

She was always a creative child, often being recruited in elementary school to make the illustrations and hand-lettering for posters. Around age 11, her mom put her in traditional art lessons, where she learned oil paint, watercolor and classical drawing. And she continued to study art in high school.

“My life up until my high school graduation was so immersed in the arts that I could hardly imagine myself pursuing anything else,” Pacino said.

Pacino is “honored and grateful” to be on the cover of Creative Outlook and hopes her work will inspire others.


What draws you to art?

This is such a difficult feeling to describe. When I create, I work based off of intuition. For example, when I find the perfect combination of size, shape, color and composition, there is an indescribable, instinctual feeling that just… feels right. I am always chasing this moment of satisfaction, although it doesn’t come with every piece. The idea of creating something from nothing is so exciting to me and my favorite pieces are usually the ones that surprise me, the ones that are different from anything I’ve ever seen or made before.

What was your inspiration for ‘Willow’?

This is a portrait of the stunning singer, songwriter and actress Willow Smith. It is a digital painting collaged with imported hand-painted textures. I was trained to work traditionally and have always loved the textures that can only happen from painting by hand. But since I have started freelancing and creating animations, working digitally is more time effective and efficient for my workflow. Although a lot of my new work is digital, I don’t want my paintings to look so obviously digital. This piece was actually originally an animation!

For this portrait in particular, I had a lot of fun experimenting with her makeup, hair, accessories and the patterns on her clothes and in the background. I am passionate about fashion and beauty and in my spare time I am always searching through Pinterest or WGSN creating collections of the things I love.

Follow Alexia Lang:

Alexia Lang holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. Lang has worked in newspapers, magazines, radio and blogs, producing award-winning content centered around community and the arts.

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