College of Architecture + The Arts

Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts

Modesto A. Maidique Campus
Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture Building
11200 SW 8th Street Miami, Florida 33199

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Exceptional Alumni: Gianna DiBartolomeo (BFA ’07 MFA ’19)

Blossoming artist and Art+Art History alumna, Gianna DiBartolomeo really shined during her time at FIU and that’s no exception for her today. DiBartolomeo is a mixed-media artist who, during her time as a student, was a Ratcliffe Art + Design Incubator Fellow, and a participating artist for Vizcaya Museum and Gardens CAP Lab. Her colorful and distinct art pieces have been showcased locally at major events such as Art Basel, and nationally in cities like New York and Chicago.

How has FIU Helped you get to where you are today in your career?
During undergrad at FIU, I discovered art was not a hobby for me, but a career. After earning my BFA, I further invested in myself—making a statement that I’m committed to my career by obtaining my terminal MFA degree at FIU. Throughout my education, I met amazing mentors who helped me hone and refine my work — individuals who I still talk with today.

What path did you take to attain your current career?
I knew I wanted to earn my MFA. However, after earning my BFA, I first wanted to gain real-world experience. I participated in local and national shows and sold work through galleries and independently. I also received commissions for work. When I felt the time was right, I applied and earned my MFA through FIU. I just graduated this past year and am excited for the next chapter of my career.

What’s been the coolest thing about your job so far?
Traveling. I am lucky to show my work to the world. I love experiencing different places and meeting new people.

What does a typical day for you look like?
That’s the beauty of this career — every day brings something new. It keeps things exciting! Like today, I’m going on-site for a logistics walk-through before for an upcoming mural project. On another day, I’m busy working in my studio on a piece for a show. Other days, I can be found filming and editing a video, meeting new clients, or on my computer preparing a project proposal package. I never get bored!

How does your job connect back to your coursework?
Essentially, the coursework at FIU challenges students to find creative solutions to problems, think outside the box, and most importantly, think for themselves. I find that in my career (and in life in general) I am constantly being challenged to do just those things.

Were there any classes or professors that influenced where you are today?
Absolutely! But, I don’t think this interview is long enough to give each one the credit they truly deserve. One of the things I most appreciate about my education at FIU is the passion and dedication of my professors (which was a main factor in my decision to return to FIU to earn my MFA). Even though I graduated, I find myself re-reading some of my course materials because it’s relevant to what I’m doing. I even reach out to some of my professors for advice.

What advice do you have for students interested in a career in the Arts?
First, be authentic. Avoid the temptation to make artwork that aligns with trends because you think it might get you some exposure or sales. Your individual voice is priceless (even if it takes people time to appreciate it). Second, remember this career is a marathon, not a sprint. If you love making art, find a way that provides you with creative freedom. It might mean teaching, freelancing, or having an office day-job. Third, grow your network. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true: it’s all about who you know. To be honest, this is the toughest thing for me. If someone has figured it out, please let me know!

To learn more about DiBartolomeo and her recent work see the below video:

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