Featured Artist

Samantha Loiacono

What is your work about?

Sam:  These works engage with topics of disability and creating awareness around mental illness.  I have struggled with Bipolar Disorder and have family members dealing with similar challenges.  These experiences have directly informed my work.  Specifically, the juxtaposition generated by imagery of organic and geometric shapes creates an inner vibration and dissonance that reflects the anxiety I am regularly overwhelmed by.

What does ToBeReal mean to you?

Sam:  When I think of what it means ToBeReal I am reminded of how my mom always encouraged me to openly talk about the challenges I was dealing with.  It means that not only is it okay to have a mental illness but it should be embraced.  Keeping it locked away inside creates a silence that reinforces stereotypes and stigmas.  It also makes it more difficult to accept who you are. It we could recognize that these are human issues it is likely that many will suffer less. 

Bio:  Samantha Loiacono is a Brooklyn based Illustrator and children's designer from Upstate, NY.  She will be graduating from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Communication Design. The stylized realism portrayed in her work features intricate designs depicting current social issues and personal experiences.  Find out more about Samantha at www.samanthaloiacono.com, www.redbubble.com/people/loiaconos and on twitter @Samxnyc.