Where Are they now?

During the past ten years or so I have been particularly fortunate to have been happily surprised by so many spontaneous visits from my former students. Some were back in Marlboro to visit family and friends, others were on school break from various universities and colleges across the country. Many others were just finally able to squeeze in a visit to give hugs and thanks, causing mutual tears of happiness while telling me their stories. Each time I am overwhelmed with joy to realize how much their experiences here meant to them, their fondness and memories of me and my wonderful, nurturing staff. We are often quite shocked because they didn’t show their appreciation in the younger years. I realize how fortunate I am to be able to stay in contact with them as adults, many of whom have started their own families and amazing careers. The younger group are still immersed in school or in the early phase of exploring different opportunities to use their creativity and talents.

Their stories are quite diverse as are their personalities, skills, and interests. The common thread was their appreciation of an escape from academic studies, or a hunger for more skills, knowledge and techniques. Many of my students already had a sense of direction that they would follow: medical, technical, scientific, fashion, marketing and visual arts. Some followed their paths, others experienced many curves and corners that changed their direction.

Here are their stories, which they have enthusiastically submitted to inspire upcoming young "Artisans." I have so much love and gratitude for this beautiful collective sharing of their lives. They have not been edited as I want their messages to be genuine. Some have included photos, and others are photos that we have collected over the years which they would also like to share with you. The entries will keep growing as each submission is received. I hope you enjoy reading their stories!

Love, hugs, and warm wishes,

Marlene Bohnyak


Kristen Roszkowski

To my fellow artists,

Hello, my name is Kristen Roszkowski and I am a freelance hand letterer and graphic designer at PaperCut Lettering.

From the ages of six to seventeen (1996 - 2007) I attended classes at Artisan Studio. My mom was referred to Marlene by a friend and it honestly has been a lifelong relationship ever since. From the early days where classes were held at Marlene’s house, I have fond memories of Saturday mornings in her sun filled studio learning various techniques, expressing my own creativity as well as being included in a group of fellow peers that were interested in the same things as me.

I come from an artistic family on both sides and have always been interested in expanding that voice. Luckily enough my parents always encouraged that and Marlene was always there to take that encouragement and run with it.

After high school I was accepted in to my DREAM school, The School of Visual Arts where I studied Illustration. From there I have gone on to work my way up the corporate ladder as a graphic designer. For the last 5 years I worked as a production manager for a local magazine. But after years of learning my craft and expanding my online presence and name I have decided to take a shot at freelance.

I currently now am the owner of PaperCut Lettering where I take on various projects for various different clients!

I would recommend anyone with a child with a creative bug to attend Artisan Studio where they would learn from an extremely warm hearted, dedicated and passionate teacher.

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Christian L.

From as early as I can remember, I always had a knack for drawing. I was always looking for a piece of paper to draw on. My parents saw how much I loved to draw and decided to sign me up for art classes to enrich my knowledge. I first started taking the Drawing & Painting class on Saturday mornings when I was 12 years old. I loved it so much that I took it again, and again, and again! Many students did the same as well. It was very enjoyable and fun because everyone in class just simply loved to be there, making art. In every session we would learn something new, whether it was experimenting with a new medium such as pastels and watercolors, or learning to draw different things outside of what we usually do.

One of my favorite and most memorable projects I did was a cityscape perspective, which was a three-point perspective. I had never done a three-point perspective before, and this project certainly strengthened my depth perception, technique, and overall concentration. It also helped me think in 3D, all of which helped me develop my comprehension in technical drawing. And this is a skill I still use every single day.

Currently, I work on the Special Projects team for NYC Ferry and Hornblower Cruises, in charge of managing the design, construction, and delivery of new vessels. We review, approve, and reference over a hundred drawings...per boat! These drawings form the step-by-step IKEA guide to building vessels like a 350-passenger ferry boat destined to transport commuters to and from work, tourists from around the world, and provide a vital transportation link for the greatest city in the world. These drawings show every little nut and bolt on the boat, ranging from restroom piping details to structural frame arrangements to the Captain's helm console. Now this is where the magic happens: translating what's printed on a piece of paper to building the real thing. After construction is finished, our team inspects every inch of the boat to make sure everything is as it should be, always referring back to the drawings. The ability to read and comprehend these drawings requires the fundamental skills I learned and developed years ago on those Saturday mornings.

Although architects and engineers rely on computers nowadays to develop drawings and plans, we still sketch out our ideas and concepts on paper.

My advice to young creative thinkers: Find your passion and follow it. There's a saying out there that goes, "If you love what you do, you'll never have to work a day in your life."

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Kristi B.

I was a student of Marlene's for ten years (!), from ages 8 to 18, starting way before it was Artisan Studio, in the studio addition on her own house. I can still fondly remember the sun through the skylights, the stacks of students' gigantic sketchpads, and the graffiti-style work tables we sat around. I think when I started it was one of many youthful trials, but unlike soccer, school newspaper, and the saxophone, I never tired of it. I learned the skills of drawing and painting there, but more so the eye for it, and the love of it. There were plenty of laughs and collaborations, students helping each other out or just gabbing throughout lessons; there were also times of peaceful shared quiet, with everyone absorbed in their work. It was always like a haven, where the stress of school or the angst of growing up fell away. I most loved the simple exercise we began every year with: drawing a human face. Through this repetition you could trace and tangibly see your progress, and I remember the excitement and pride I felt at improving each year. Those are the feelings I still get when I create. I stopped drawing as much over the years, which made me realize how important it is to carve time out for the things that nourish you; now I sketch a bit here and there, or go to drink-and-draw nights with friends, and I always feel more energized when I do.

michelle l.

I was Marlene’s student for most of my childhood. I just remember drawing and perfecting the Tweety bird cartoon with colored pencils at her home on Gordon’s Corner Road. My mother actually signed me up for classes since I needed to cultivate a hobby as a child. I thoroughly grew to enjoy art classes with Marlene as my instructor. Over the years, she refined my artistic skills and was very patient as well as encouraging. One of the many lifetime lessons I learned at Artisan Studio is that mistakes happen, but don’t give up because you will eventually reach a masterpiece upon completion of a piece. Motivation and passion is key to artistic expression. My fondest memory was actually not my own project, it was Marlene’s elusive painting of this mystical path towards a vintage castle with gorgeous purples, grays, and greens. Her one art piece inspired me to achieve Marlene’s level of emotional intelligence in her art. I felt the magic in every stroke she painted and could hear Celtic music in the background when I glanced at her amazing painting. Fast forward to present day, I’m an assistant designer at Macy’s. I now design printed bedding, embellished pillows, and intricate quilts for Hotel Collection, a Macy’s private brand. Thus, I have a lot of gratitude for Marlene and Artisan Studio for igniting my passion for art and design. Any aspiring artist’s journey is different, so learn to go at your own pace and style in lighting your artistic path. Do not be afraid to express yourself with art so you have your voice heard in this vast world.

Alex C.

I was so fortunate enough to be able to work with Marlene as both her student and as a fellow teacher. I started my mini career at Artisan Studio when I was fifteen years old. I’ve always had a love for art and expression through drawing ever since I was little but have never made it into a studio, making Artisan my first one. I originally signed up for classes because I wanted to improve, expand and learn new skills. This quickly turned into the creation of a personal portfolio with the professional guidance of Marlene. My goals became bigger and I was soon planning for my future with each project. I am glad to say my art career didn’t come to a halt when I entered college. When I was accepted into Montclair State University where I studied Psychology, I took enough art classes to consider it a second major. I spent my first summers working at Artisan’s Studio as a camp counselor where I then progressed into teaching my own Saturday morning class. I loved it! The life lessons I have learned at the studio I have taken with me everywhere. Much like working on a piece of art work, you can’t dictate how your life will turn out and you may end up taking a totally different path then planned. I originally thought I would go to school to study Art Therapy and then move on to work as an Art Therapist. What really ended up happening was I finished my college career with two degrees and neither of them had to do with art. I am now the holder of a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Montclair State University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. So, you can say I took a few turns! Funny how that works. When I look back on my time spent at Artisan Studio, my fondest memories come from the summer camp. The kids are too precious. I can laugh for hours when I think about the words that come from these kids but at the same time am in awe about their ability to create. Advice I have for them is to never stop growing their own little portfolios. Whether it’s big or small, it is awesome to be able to look back and see how far you’ve come and how gifted and talented you all really are. You’ll see and use art every day, no matter what I promise! I am so grateful for the relationships I have made throughout the year and will always keep Marlene as a friend and a true mentor. Thanks for everything Artisan Studio!

Jen B.

I started classes at Artisan Studio when I was 12 years old and took classes all the way through high school. I was always artistic as a child, so my mom thought it would be a great idea to enroll me in classes to help improve my skills. I loved being able to do art whenever I could, so this was the perfect outlet. I was very shy as a child, and going to Artisan Studio for classes really helped me come out of my shell. After spending so many years with Marlene, we developed a close relationship and joked that she was like my second mom. To this day I love to surprise her at the studio when I'm in town and we pick up right where we left off.

From drawing, painting, sewing and papier mache, I really did it all at Artisan Studio. In high school I began assisting during classes and some general help around the studio. Then in college I worked at the summer art camp as an instructor and helped out whenever I was home on breaks.

Working with Marlene for college prep, she helped me build a fantastic portfolio that allowed me get into the art school at the University of Maryland where I majored in Fine Art and minored in Art History. After college, I moved to NYC and got a job with a fine art logistics company and have been working in that niche ever since. Currently, I work for a larger company that handles logistics for major galleries, museums, and auctions houses all over the world.

Victoria H.

I had been a student at Artisan Studio for about 8-9 years, so when I ultimately had to leave to pursue my college career as an aspiring speech-language pathologist with a minor in Deaf Studies, it was especially bittersweet. At the time, I was not only graduating high school, but Artisan Studio as well.

Ever since I was a kid, I always had a good eye for art. While I didn’t know the parts of the body, I had a basic understanding that arms came out sideways of the body while legs vertically. The first people I drew were circles colored orange with sticks branching from the appropriate sides. I attended art classes to expand my knowledge and skills in art and found everything I was looking for at Artisan Studio, which I soon considered my second home. I started off by attending the art camp at Artisan and eventually enrolled in classes there.

Everything I continue to use in my art has been sewn into the fabric of my practice by attending Artisan Studio. I drew cartoons more often than realistic, and while that still holds true, my skills in drawing realistic subjects—such as portraits—has improved tremendously. I recently drew a portrait of Selena Gomez for my sister and I am incredibly proud of it!

I did not pursue a major in art, however that has not stopped me from continuing my passion as a hobby.

I have so many memories from this school, including commenting on the “hippos” stomping on the floor below us when Marlene’s studio was on the top floor. However, in 2012 I made a drawing of a bald eagle for my Poppy, who served as a veteran in the Korean War. I had to color each individual feather and it drove me absolutely crazy, yet Marlene refused to let me give up. I don’t remember the exact words she told me, but she encouraged me to keep working on it. To this day whenever I visit my Poppy, he emphasizes how much he loves his eagle which he’s hung in his living room right across from where his chair is facing the TV. There are so many art projects that I think “If I redid this now, I’m sure it’d come out better,” however no matter what, I can’t convince myself that the eagle’s head, and the way I shaded it, could improve.

I live a very creative life and genuinely don’t want to know what my life would be like had art not become such a strong pillar of mine. I’ve made countless pieces for friends and family, both for fun as well as a few commissions, and just as much as they all love to receive my work, I love giving everyone a piece of my soul. In 2016, I drew a picture for my best friend, and I put every part of myself into it—it was a drawing based on an anime, Japanese cartoon, she and I loved and held dear since middle school. Today, in addition to continuing art, I’ve started to make my own costumes and props and I don’t see myself stopping my passions anytime soon. “If you can dream it, you can do it!” –Walt Disney. Don’t set limitations for yourself, because there’s no one who can set that limitation but you. Don’t think you can’t, because you can always learn.

Jared B.

I have been with Marlene since I was 7 years old. I stayed with her as a student until my senior year of high school, when she helped me expand my college portfolio. For three summers, I also worked as a teacher assistant at Art Camp. I originally signed up for art class to broaden my horizons. Until that point, I was exclusively a cartoonist; but my parents and I believed I should step out of my comfort zone and gain experience with various art forms. I learned many lifelong lessons at Artisan Studio, such as how to sketch a human face (start with an upside-down egg, lightly make a vertical line down the center, etc.) and how to work with pastels. With Marlene’s help, I was able to build my college portfolio, and I was accepted into the University of Delaware’s art program. I am on track to graduate this Spring. My fondest project at Artisan Studio was in 7th grade, when I built Wile E. Coyote out of papier-mâché. I remember being fascinated with the materials and the process in making such a sculpture, and I still have the finished piece in my bedroom. Next to television, art is my life. Even when I played sports and participated in other extracurricular activities, I knew art was my true calling. Hopefully, I’ll be able to combine both of my passions by creating an animated program. If there is one piece of advice I can give to young aspiring artists or creative thinkers, it would be to keep working with the talents you have, but to work on your weaker areas too. That way, you will become well-rounded, and that much closer to achieving your dreams. If I never took art classes, and only drew cartoons, there is no way I would have been accepted into UD’s art program, nor would I have a well-balanced portfolio to present to ad agencies and animation studios.


I started classes with Marlene when I was around 10 years old, back when she held her classes at her house. I had always loved to draw and do crafts at school, so my parents enrolled me in Marlene’s art class as a way to keep me entertained on Saturday mornings. I enjoyed the classes and learned so much that I kept coming back every year and attended summer camps at Artisan Studio, first as a camper and then as a counselor, until my senior year of high school. Over a near decade of art classes with Marlene, I learned practical lessons, like how to sew a button back onto a shirt and draw a room using three points of perspective. The most important lessons I learned, however, were ones I still use to this day. Studying and honoring different artists’ styles and techniques, from Keith Haring to Georgia O’Keefe, inspired me to minor in Art History. Lessons about shade, value, and hue prove invaluable in my profession as a dentist, whether I am matching a crown to my patients’ teeth or rebuilding a chipped incisor. Most importantly, through Marlene’s classes, I learned the importance of patience and effort to achieve excellence. I still remember spending 3 full classes meticulously filling my pastel sketch of a kitten with thousands of white, black and brown strokes to create full, realistic fur. Though it was tedious and time consuming, I happily put in the work because I wanted to create perfection. (I can pinpoint my love of cats to that art project-I now have two adorable cats). Art class was the first time I experienced the thrill of achieving something I am proud of, even through the process was long and difficult, and I have chased that thrill to strive to become a better daughter, sister, friend and dentist. Though I am no longer taking an art class every week, I have tried to keep cultivating that creativity and desire for perfection through the art of dentistry, and by making gifts, cards and cakes for family and friends. My advice to young creative thinkers would be to find the artistry in everything you do, and hold yourself to the high standards you have for your art in all parts of life.