Artist to Remember: Mary DiBiasio

May. 14, 2009
Google plus Linkedin Pinterest

Mary DiBiasio traveled to Milwaukee to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design with a scholarship in hand. Along the way, when she reached the age of 22, DiBiasio discovered she faced a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis, a dramatic event that changed her life forever. Now on medication for symptom relief and prevention of any further joint damage, her left wrist remains limited in motion, with occasional pain and swelling⎯usually aggravated by some artistic processes. But an opportunity presented itself this spring allowing DiBiasio to explore and actually live in The Big Apple. She's off June 3rd for New York, leaving behind Milwaukee or as she says, "that wonderful place to make work."

AGE: 26

HOMETOWN: Chicago, Illinois

Studied printmaking with Rina Yoon at MIAD, earining her BFA, and has taught
at Pius High School, MIAD and The Art Institute of Chicago. .

The Armoury, December 2009

FAVORITE ART MEDIUM: Printmaking was the first process I fell in love with, but I'm really interested in a lot of mediums at the minute.even fashion design or photo styling. I love costumes. I want to make sample pieces. I need to get involved and focus to develop my concepts, working where the outlets for these concepts are already in place.

CURRENT PROJECT: I'm taking pictures of tabletops that I combine with pictures of windows that are taken from the inside of a house. They are collaged with other photographs I take from the insideto build little bungalows. The photos are like a vehicle for me to collage with but I need a nice digital camera and they are only on the computer right now. I need to discover how to bring them out of the virtual world and yet keep their magic. (

FAVORITE INSPIRATION: The older I get the less I want. Because I like the fact that an idea lingers, that it doesn't take up space. Residual things [the stuff we buy] all take up space, make progressing hard, like dead weight I'd really rather be without. And at this point I'm really influenced by people who are identifying what they want to do and actively pursuing it, not just talking about it.

I'm hanging out with my loved ones and spending time with people I won't see much anymore even though I've seen their faces every day. It's very intense. You travel three hours by plane and now you'll see a completely different set of faces. I'm also getting rid of things and giving things away. I only have a bicycle, which I'll ship later. So I'm taking a purse, a carry on, and two checked bags on the plane and buying a one-way ticket.

I was unsure about continuing in printmaking because of my wrists. I love it, the community, the process and the results. But it does affect me in a bad way. So, I just don't think I should continue in this process, unless I can afford to have someone do the printing for me. But I also started working for Anthropologie because of their health insurance, and they transfer people easily from city to city. So this friend of mine has been a powerful figure for me, like a big sister figure, she's also an inspiring person, and asked me to come to live with her in New York. She has one small floor in a brownstone with two bedrooms and two small studios. We also have a living room and roof access. I have health insurance, a job and place to live. We had always talked about doing a show together and now I'll be there for her thesis exhibition. A bunch of doors just opened for me and I decided to walk through them.

FUTURE GOALS: I'm tied to my job security because of my medication, my arthritis. So
it's very scary to leave that even for graduate school, which I though I would like to do. at Columbia with Kara WalkerBut insurance is absolutely number one. Without your health, without your functionality, there is nothing else. Generally people my age have difficulty understanding that or confronting that. But it's the core of everything. Yet, I wanted a really big change. I don't know what it will be like. I've never been in New York, so I'll experience it and access it when I'm there. And then see what it holds.

Before I move to New York, on June 3rd, I need to sell my art. I've sold all my "Long Life Series." I've kept a portfolio for myself, but you can only check two bags on the plane.  But I'd like to sell my figurative work, which is larger scale artwork. Anyone can buy it, or look at it on or reach me at


Would white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan pose the same threat they do now if a mainstream Republican were president instead of Donald Trump?

Getting poll results. Please wait...