Hello world! My name is Stef Masciandaro and I just came here to drink coffee and pet dogs, and I'm all out of coffee. I'm 23 years old and graduate of the School of Visual Arts Class of 2015, born, raised, and still marinating on Long Island, NY. Currently starring in a one-woman production I like to call freelance illustration! Acts include commuting to Brooklyn to assist in a silkscreen studio, commuting to Manhattan to work in my own silkscreen studio (aka "SVA facilities"), and commuting from my bed to my desk chair and spending a long day with Photoshop and my Wacom. After I graduated and got "play every single Kingdom Hearts game you missed" out of my system I slowly began to pick up work as a cover artist, and so many doors have opened since. Look around, look around! (you know the words.)
I listened to Hamilton for the first time in October and was hooked instantly...harassed everyone I knew into giving it a try. That very same week my grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and the next few months of my life were a tailspin, but the Hamilton soundtrack was always there to ground me. My best friend and I picked out a rainy December day to try the lotto for the first time in our lives, and against all odds, we won. In all that sadness I was able to pick myself up by saying "Hey, we saw Hamilton!" I knew I needed to do something to thank the cast and crew. So I did what I knew I could and made a poster, and silkscreened a hundred of them and dropped them off at the theater. My grandmother passed away only a few days later, and it felt like someone hit the pause button on my life for a while...But when Lin-Manuel reached out to thank me for the posters I knew she was watching out for me, and everything that followed is all the proof I need.
While Hamilton was my first encounter with Lin's work, I got to spend all this time catching up on everything else! In the Heights particularly resonated with me for reasons listed above, but my other personal favorite is one of his SadSadConversation videos. "We must face the day! In the concrete jungle! Where dreams are made of...something!" Quotes like that have served as the inspiration for my designs. Lin always has kind words to say, and I know they brighten up many people's day. To be able to create artwork based on them for others to wear and share is a wonderful experience!
I've been able to engage in one cool project after another since getting involved with Lin-Manuel's work. From creating cool posters and shirt designs to taking part in collaborative projects like Arielle Jovellanos' Ham4Pamphlet, I know I've found a wonderful community of artists I hope to continue to grow with.
If you got a cool job or idea in mind you think might be up my alley, feel free to email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.