Tracy Lynn Pristas

"Break-Up" May Be Artist's Big Break

Jun. 2, 2006
Pittsburgh Tribune Revies
Candy Williams
"Break-Up" May Be Artist's Big Break By Candy Williams Friday, June 2, 2006 Janet and Philip Pristas, of Unity Township, Westmoreland County, will be watching closely when they attend an opening weekend screening of the new Jennifer Aniston-Vince Vaughn romantic comedy, "The Break-Up." They're hoping to catch a glimpse of artwork by their daughter, Tracy Lynn Pristas, and -- if her role as an extra survives the final director's cut -- maybe even Tracy herself in the background of a scene shot at a Chicago artists' market. Tracy's abstract landscapes were among pieces of artwork chosen to represent a collection of paintings owned by art dealer Brooke (Aniston) in the movie. Two of her oil paintings, "Natural Magic" and "Voice of the Land," hang on the walls of the character's apartment, and a red triptych called "Crossing Over" is displayed in a prominent place in the art gallery where Aniston's character works. Pristas, a graduate of Latrobe High School and Miami University of Ohio, moved to Chicago after college to pursue a career as an artist. She has a studio there and her works have been featured at several Chicago area galleries, including Lydon Fine Art and The Rice Gallery of Fine Art, and on her Web site, She says at the same time "The Break Up" was being filmed in Chicago last summer, one of the movie's set designers, Dan Clancy, happened to spot an image of one of her large-scale paintings, "Majestic Whispers" on a stack of postcards at a coffeehouse on Chicago's North Side. "As part of my business strategy, I've always put my business cards in places such as restaurants, coffeehouses and on public bulletin boards," she says. "He contacted me and visited my studio and told me he would like ... my work to use for the set of the movie. He told me he was drawn to the texture of the painting he saw, just from the postcard." While they were talking, Tracy says he also asked her about appearing as an extra in the film, since one of the scenes was a re-creation of an art fair that features artists selling their works. She agreed to do the extra work and says she enjoyed the two days she spent filming her scene. "Everybody was really nice. We were treated very well on the set," she says. Aniston and Vaughn also were on location at Buckingham Fountain in downtown Chicago, where the scene was shot, but she says she wasn't able to meet the actors due to tight security. "Of course, I was very tempted to go over and see Vince Vaughn," she says. Since her first art show in 1989, Pristas has displayed her works in solo and group exhibitions at venues around the country. She was one of a handful of artists chosen as a featured artist in the 2005 edition of "The Artful Home," a source book for architects and interior designers. She was named one of Chicago's best emerging visual artists in 2003 by Chicago Artists' News. Her work also includes woodcuts, etchings, pastels and watercolors. She says she is working on a new series of paintings for a local gallery, but she currently is enjoying the attention that goes along with her artwork being featured in a major motion picture. "It's always good exposure," she says. Her mother, Janet Pristas, says she and her husband look forward to seeing "The Break Up" this weekend, and they have been trying to catch a glimpse of their daughter on the movie trailers promoting its opening. For both Tracy and her parents, "It's been quite a thrill," Janet says.