Ladue senior hopes to pursue art career


Anna Fiacco

One of Anna Fiacco's drawings

“You have to keep working on your piece until you hate it.” – A strange thing to hear from someone who draws for many hours everyday and plans on making it their profession. Anna Fiacco is a senior at Ladue High School who is currently working on completing applications to study art in college. 

“It really started when I was really young. My grandparents are art collectors to some aspect, so I’ve always been exposed to art as a little kid. I had a little journal and I was always drawing. In middle school I stopped, I didn’t draw at all, because I thought it was kinda weird. And then freshman year they messed up my schedule, instead of putting me in PE they put me in Drawing One and I fell back in love and I’ve been taking that class ever since,” Fiacco said.

To her, the most important thing is not becoming good at drawing, as there are so many different forms of art, but being able to use it as a way of expression.

“I think it’s an essential skill because it’s a great way to express yourself,” Fiacco said. “I know when I was younger I didn’t have a lot of outlets, because I’m not a person that talks about feelings a lot, I just draw. I work in realism, so technique and practice is really important, but a lot of the stuff you can’t teach as a conceptual level.”

What Fiacco works on everyday for hours are mostly hands and faces. She takes commissions and does life-size portraits of her friends which she posts on her Instagram account @fiacco_art.

“I think people are very interesting and I really like to study human anatomy, especially faces,” Fiacco said. “I did a portrait of Elena, she was a German exchange student last year. It probably was one of the first pieces I did with Copic markers. It was just a really tight study, where everything came together and it looked like a face. I think technique-wise that was a pivotal point in what I wanted to do with portraiture and study in realism.”

To make sure every feature gets represented accurately and the way she wants it to, Fiacco usually uses more than one tool, which she decides on as her piece evolves.

“A lot of my stuff is mixed media, so I use a lot of different things around my work,” Fiacco said. “Usually I have a base-layer of Copic marker or paint or just pencil and then I go over with colored pencils to get nit picky with details and then my final thing I use is light ink to get highlights.

Looking at highlights in her art career, there have been a few notable achievements. Freshman year, one of her pieces was accepted into an art show at Meramec Community College and it’s the second year in a row that she has a piece submitted into an exhibition at the St. Louis Art Museum.

“The Young Artists Exhibition has a different theme each year. The last year’s exhibition was ‘See the Future’ and my piece was a watercolor portrait called ‘A Future Blink’. It’s really about what the future means to me. It’s a portrait of me and I have all these hands around me, they’re all pointing up towards the right-hand corner which is supposed to symbolize my future and my goals in life. But it’s blank because I don’t really know what college I’m gonna go to, I don’t really know what I’m gonna do with my life,” Fiacco said. “I know I love art and that’s all I know, but it’s still kinda undetermined. And all these hands are either pulling my face or forcing or guiding me towards this unknown future.”

Even though she isn’t certain yet, there are many fields Fiacco can picture herself working in. Classes she might take are Studio Art, Graphic Design or something related to Art Education.

“[My biggest achievement] would be to actually make a living as an artist. I won’t make a lot of money, and that’s ok, but I want to be able to support myself,” Fiacco said. “I think it’s really hard for artists, especially at Ladue, because there is such a really big push for STEM. Which is great, because the world needs doctors, the world needs engineers. […] But I always get the ‘Oh, you’re going to art school!’-jokes. […] I wish there would be a more supportive environment here for people who pursue art, because it’s not a joke, it’s what people want to do!”