It wasn’t until after his great uncle’s death that Steven Kaplan Pistiner ’13 learned the teal meaning behind the rose tattoo on his great uncle’s arm—it covered up the tattoos he received while in a Nazi concentration camp. That was the inspiration behind Pistiner’s piece titled “And Snow Would Never Reach That Limit”. “It’s a symbol of beauty covering a dark past,” he said. “Stamped on the rose petals and leaves is an alpha-numeric code of Dante’s ‘Paradiso,’ which describes the kingdom of heaven as a white rose. It was an opportunity to make an heirloom for the side of my family that had our heirlooms taken away from us.
Pistiner, a 2017 fine arts graduate of UW-Madison, was named a Windgate Fellow by The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design. The $15,000 award is given nationally to 10 graduating college seniors with exemplary skill in their craft. In addition, he was one of five speakers chosen to represent UW-Madison at the annual Research in the Rotunda, where outstanding undergraduate student researchers from across the University of Wisconsin System shared their research findings with legislators, state leaders, UW alumni, and other supporters.
He will use the aware to travel to Europe to explore his heritage and further his research. He credits his USM education in part with encouraging his love of art. “Through [Upper School Art Teacher] Mrs. [Jessica] Michels, I was encouraged to think about the meaning behind the work. Basically my USM education taught me to always challenge what was expected, and push myself as hard as I could.”