I have another talent to share in my Artist Spotlight Series.

This creatives’ works are a mesmerizing snapshot of pop culture. 

Enjoy getting to know

Aliza Stone Howard

New York City, New York

What is your training? 

I majored in Visual and Environmental Studies (Harvard’s title for the Visual Art department) as an undergraduate. Although I’ve always been drawn to art, I didn’t enter college knowing that I would pursue it so seriously. Taking a drawing class in my first semester of freshman year led me to take several more studio classes, and my senior thesis was a series of large oil paintings. 

What inspires you and your designs?

I’m usually inspired by pop culture imagery – both of people and objects- that either define the mood of a moment or that generate nostalgia. My subject matter is pretty varied, but I’m almost always engaging with the relationship between the temporal qualities of my content and my chosen medium, oil paint. I like the inherent humor of depicting zeitgeisty imagery in a medium known for its seriousness and permanence.  

What is your favorite piece? 

This is a hard question! A few years ago, I made a pair of small portraits of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman – one of her in the bad wig on and one of her in the bath listening to Prince on her walkman. I don’t typically work in such small dimensions, but I liked how the size of this pair of portraits created a kind of intimacy, and how, together, they form a narrative about self-presentation. They’re actually two of the few unsold works in my studio at the moment. 

How has the your area influenced your work?

I think that the nods to fashion and style in my work, coupled with a signature acerbic flair, make it sort of visible that I’m based in New York City. 

What is your favorite restaurant in NYC?

Still love L’Artusi

What is your favorite cocktail?

I prefer (lots of) wine rather than cocktails.  

How do you balance personal life and work?

Not always well! I have two young kids, so the key to my ability to balance at all is that we have the most incredible nanny who stands in for me as a second mom during the week. I ultimately have a more defined schedule than I think most artists probably have, and I try to spend most of the work day on Monday-Friday in my studio, and then spend evenings and weekends with my children and husband. I was actually out of my studio for the early months of COVID and mainly taking care of my kids while my husband worked. Being away from art-making and feeling unable to grow my business for all that time made me realize that I am a much better mother when I feel professionally fulfilled.   

Dream trip?

Marrakech at some point, but the trip I’m really craving right now is one that allows me to sit on a very quiet, child-free beach with some good music, good food and no schedule. 

Dream commission?

I’ve been lucky enough to have made some really fun commissioned paintings in the last year, including one of a joyful bouquet of rainbow-colored mylar balloons for a nursery,

a portrait of a sequin-clad Cher intended to bring some feminine energy into the living room of a boy-mom’s apartment,

and a portrait of Dionne from Clueless to accompany a painting my collector had already bought of Cher Horowitz. Truthfully, anytime someone specifically seeks to fill their wall space with my work, it is a dream.  

Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?

Jonathan Adler candles or my homemade zucchini muffins.

Who is your style icon?

I don’t dress like her myself, but I think Zendaya has great style

Your favorite up and coming artist?

I actually came across Rebecca Ness on Instagram, who painted all of these home-life pandemic scenes that definitely capture a moment. In one of her paintings, a laptop with an open Zoom call sits on a kitchen counter, surrounded by a cooking project and open soda cans. It’s pretty great. And while she’s not up and coming because she has definitely already arrived, I admire Ashley Longshore very much. Her aesthetic is a lot of fun, she bangs out new work so quickly and with so much confidence, and she is a model for artists who also view themselves as businesses. 

What is your most treasured possession?

A candelabra that my grandmother gifted to me, which belonged to my great-grandmother, who fled Nazi Germany during the war. I use it to light Shabbat candles with my kids every Friday night.

 

What are you reading?

My son has become obsessed with The Berenstain Bears books, so truthfully, that’s what I’m reading most often. I just bought Priest Daddy on a strong recommendation and am excited about it. 

What are you listening to?

My taste in music is eclectic, but Fleetwood Mac and Florence + the Machine are on most playlists of mine. 

What are your favorite blogs / publications?

The Atlantic, NYT Cooking and all the crappy tabloids. 

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Take a look at Aliza’s work on her website and Instagram
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