Photos: Courtesy of Lisa Pasternak
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Lisa Pasternak and I live in Fair Lawn, New Jersey with my Husband Adam and 2 kids. I lived in many places as a kid, ping ponging across the US. I went to 9 schools in 9 years. Considering how much moving around I did, I am a considerably grounded person. It took me a long time to find my place in the art world. I didn’t feel like I was an artist in the literal sense. I could draw, sort of. I could paint, sort of. I didn’t feel like I could ever call myself an “artist”. So I don’t! I am a creator. I have an eye for design and have many different artistic skills. I’m a DIYer. If crafting had been a major in college, that’s what I would have done. Graphic design was a close second. Graphic design was where I found that once I learned the tools of a program, my creativity was endless. I love creating Judaica. I love joining my love for design with my love for Jewish practices and traditions.
What inspired you to become an artist?
I have been crafting and doodling since I was a kid. I used to use my sister’s old notebooks and try to recreate her doodles. Teachers knew that if they let me draw in class, I wouldn’t be so talkative. It was a win win. In addition to creating Judaica, I am a motion graphics designer and animator. New leaf Judaica was born after I lost my job of 7 years during Covid and needed an outlet for my creativity. I started with a simanim card that I had created for my family and friends, printed more, and posted it on instagram. I sold 400! That showed me that maybe I could really do this! I am not always one for silver linings, but I was able to turn over a new leaf.
What is your specialty?
My specialty is digital and graphic design. With those skills I create print designs.
Where do you take your inspiration from? Are you pursuing any themes?
A lot of times I take my inspiration from interior design. Home goods and tapestries, greeting cards and wallpaper, floral and abstract. I take pictures of anything I see that gives me inspiration. My artwork doesn’t always follow a theme because then I feel stuck to constantly create within the constraints I built for myself. I create for myself and others, and I allow myself to venture into different design aesthetics depending on the moment. Not everyone is going to love my designs, but I have to love it.
Do you take on commissions and create bespoke designs?
I don’t normally take on commissions, rather I tailor something I already have to work more personally with what a client is looking for. Everything I sell can be personalized.
Which project have you enjoyed working on the most so far?
My favorite project would have to be my Parsha Cards. I saw something similar at a friend’s house with a very outdated look and not so useful. But I loved the concept of interacting with the parsha each week. I try to create Judaica that is useful rather than just a statement piece to look at. At first, the Parsha cards had the name of the Parsha, the sefer and a short blurb on each card. After getting quite a bit of feedback that I should have questions on the cards as well, I finally conceded and the new and improved cards now have questions and answers on every parsha. I am immensely proud of this product and knowing that it brings families together to engage in conversations on the weekly Parsha, brings me so much joy and value.
What do you want to achieve with your work and what are your wishes for the future?
My hope is that my art and my products bring more meaning and value into your Jewish home. My products are meant to be beautiful and practical. Kiddush is in the bencher, but when you can hold a kiddush card in your hand and read the Hebrew clearly, not fumbling with pages, it makes that experience easier and more meaningful. My goal is to pinpoint moments in life and design for those moments. I have a long list of ideas and my goal is to continue to carve out time in my life to create more and more pieces that bring value and meaning to our everyday Jewish practices.
Where can we find your work?
Photos: Courtesy of Lisa Pasternak
Videos: Courtesy of Lisa Pasternak