Student Spotlight: Tristen Baca

The junior sells her portraits online, finding art therapeutic

Renee Elefante, Asst. News Editor

For Diamond Bar High School junior Tristen Baca, artistic talent runs in her family. With both her grandmothers and mother as artists, Baca is following in their footsteps, selling paintings and sketches on Etsy and Instagram.

Baca’s first selling opportunity took place  at a friend’s art show, where she sold high-quality reprints of her work. After gaining a following, Baca developed an Etsy account, as well as an Instagram page. She takes requests via direct messaging on Instagram, requiring a payment of $10 to $20, depending on the cost of creating and printing the paintings. So far, she has sold several of her prints.

“[The overall experience] can be very frustrating,” Baca said. “A lot of people don’t understand how much effort and money goes into it. As much as it is a hobby and therapeutic for me, it’s also work.”

While some artists create their best work when spirits are low, Baca said that she can’t draw when she is upset, as it negatively affects her drawing. Instead, her inspiration stems from people, fantasy elements like witches and fairies and personal emotions, which, according to Baca, help to make regular portraits more interesting. One of Baca’s favorite pieces includes a series of portraits related to horse ghosts.

“I look at other artists’ work and try and use that style and make it my own,” Baca said.

Baca focuses on line work, a form of stylistic art that uses pens and ink, but she is also familiar with watercolor, acrylic and oil painting. Despite her artistic versatility, Baca paints exclusively in portrait.

“I do more portraits than landscapes because I hate landscapes,” Baca said.

Baca takes after her mother, a freelance artist who focuses on abstract artwork but is not limited to that style. Baca said that her mother can create images from her imagination and emotions, but while Baca hopes to eventually develop this skill, she currently needs visual inspiration

Both of Baca’s grandmothers paint on canvases and ceramic bowls as a hobby, while one of the women also does geometrical paintings.

In the future, Baca hopes to go to farmer’s markets for more selling opportunities and also hopes to attend Ontario College of Art and Design University, a public art school in Toronto.

“I don’t really know what direction I’m headed in, whether it’s graphic design or freelance or anything, because I have a lot of options and I like all the arts,” Baca said. “I have a lot of diversity in those subjects [theatre and music]. I just mostly want to go to an art school so I can find what I want to do.”