For senior Isabella Pfeiffer, art is so much more than a simple pastime. What started as an activity to bond with her mother, who is also an artist, transformed into a passion that continuously allows her to express herself, her culture and her aspirations through painting and sculpture.
Pfeiffer’s fascination took off with a painting depicting dancers from numerous Hispanic cultures under the same sun which she presented in Ana Roa’s Spanish Speakers III class last March. All of the students and judges praised the young artist, as they could not believe that it was the work of a student.
“We all loved it. It really turned some heads,” Spanish teacher Ana Roa said.
Pfeiffer grew up with a heavy artistic presence in her household. Amidst the hardships of migrating from Guatemala to the U.S., Pfeiffer’s mother continued pursuing her art. Pfeiffer grew up admiring her mother’s work, and it became apparent when she was 4 years old that she had inherited her mother’s love for art.
“[My mother] had to get a corporate job to get adjusted to the country, so at the age of 46, she is just now starting her true art career. She really inspires me to follow my dreams at any age,” Pfeiffer said.
At 9 years old, Pfeiffer began taking classical human figure drawing classes at the Boca Raton School of Art. Most of Pfeiffer’s work contains abstract pieces, featuring classical techniques that speak to her years of experience. According to her teachers, abstract and classical forms are considered very difficult to blend.
“[My work] kind of refers to my dedication to art throughout the years, since I make sure to get my proportions right,” Pfeiffer said.
Although her work ranges from abstract sculptures to oil paintings, Pfeiffer enjoys human figure drawings the most. Not only are they her specialty, but she prefers this style as it requires precise detail and realistic components.
“It is really logical and a challenge to get the angles just right,” Pfeiffer said. “That’s what I like doing; I like making it appear just as similar [to a human] as I can.”
As her artistic abilities improve, Pfeiffer feels more liberated and less restricted in her work, as she is able to create pieces beyond her imagination. School has also affected Pfeiffer’s art, as she fuses her technical knowledge of the subject with the emotions depicted in her artwork.
“Since I have the basics done, I can focus on concepts that are more abstract. Also, with schooling you learn about different events and how they relate to your life. So, it is interesting to include those experiences,” Pfeiffer said.
In the summer before her junior year, Pfeiffer was accepted into the California College of the Arts pre-college program. Alongside students from all over the country, Pfeiffer experienced the authenticity of an art college and enhanced her portfolio. At the end of the program, Pfeiffer was allowed to show eight pieces of her art in their gallery.
“I absolutely loved it, and I learned so much,” Pfeiffer said. “It was a lot of fun being immersed in art 24/7.”
Over the past few years, Pfeiffer has submitted numerous pieces to literary art magazines and has had her works featured in several of the schools at which she has studied, including at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Boca Raton School of Art and the California College of the Arts.
Pfeiffer painted the Marjory’s Garden sign, as well as detailed decorations around the garden and has completed several murals in hallways around the school.
As an artist, Pfeiffer sees the world in a completely different context. When drawing, she views things piece by piece, instead of seeing entire objects.
“It is important to incorporate art into daily life because it fosters a sense of creativity and you start looking at things in the world more analytically. It is definitely something I will rely on for my entire life,” Pfeiffer said.
Pfeiffer uses art as an escape when times are a bit too overwhelming or stressful. She keeps art near to her heart, knowing it is always going to be there waiting for her whenever she needs it.
Pfeiffer’s artwork continues to be recognized as she builds her portfolio. Her pieces have been displayed at school, competitions and even on her social media accounts. On her Instagram @frizzy_izzybella, Pfeiffer features a variety of her pieces.
This story was originally published in the January 2019 Eagle Eye print edition.