Loli Vaccaro is a Freshman at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) studying graphic design. She is one of the 10 recipients for the 2019-2020 AIGA DC Design Continuum Fund Scholarship. Born in Argentina and raised in Miami, Loli grew up around a creative family and plans to use her design education to build an inclusive art and design community in Miami.
What made you want to become a designer?
I was born in Argentina and moved to the United States with my family when I was four. We moved to Miami. I have always been interested in art and drawing.When I got to high school, I started doing design because I went to a magnet school specifically for design. Things took off from there. I started doing a lot of graphic design work and working as a designer my junior year through internships and summer program.
I have a lot of influence from my family because both of my parents are designers. We had a lot of design books in the house. My parents were in their 20s in the 1990s [when] magazines [and] grunge culture was popular. About four years ago [back in Argentina], I found these boxes in the basement of these magazines with crazy themes. I would spend hours looking at them [and] that made me want to become a designer [inspired by] grungy skate culture and music.
Does skate culture, zines, and art influence your work?
In skate culture, graphic design, and zines, it’s all handmade. I really like to combine that with aspects of design that are rigid. I like to add something natural to my digital design work that makes it looks like a person put their hands on it.
How does it feel to be a recipient of the Design Continuum Fund?
I was so happy! I applied for the scholarship and I didn’t think I got it. But then I got the email and I was ecstatic. I got a scholarship from MICA to come here. But it’s very hard on my parents.
We don’t have any savings because in Argentina college is free. They don’t get the culture of saving up for college. [My parents] didn’t know that until I got into high school and by then it was a bit too late. We don’t have a lot of money saved up and we’re depending on scholarships every year. Coming [to MICA] is such a privilege and the Design Continuum Fund Scholarship is helping with that.
You’re a freshman at MICA right now. How has it been?
[Coming from] Miami, it’s been a culture shock.
But in terms of school, I’m so happy here. The classes and everything I’m learning is way more than I expected. I’m growing so much as in an artist in less than two months. It’s been a great experience. I’m really getting into printmaking which I always wanted to do but in my high school we didn’t have printmaking materials.
So I’m really excited to be doing that. I have access to so many more things and I can do whatever I want.
Tell us a bit about the projects you have been working on at MICA.
First of all, I’ve been doing a lot of painting. Which I have done all through my life, but now I’m making large scale paintings. A few months ago, my family found these photos my uncle took in the 70s. They’re amazing. I’m working on a project where I’m taking those photographs and integrating them with my own drawing and designs. Most of those photos are based on family, travel, and nature. I spent all my summers going to Argentina as a kid. Right now I’m making a book on those things and drawing a connection.
What about projects outside of school?
Currently, not really. But I’m looking for freelance work as a designer because that’s important.
What do you envision yourself doing after graduating from MICA? Will it include a social impact component?
I want to go back to Miami and make the art and design community more integrated with the local community. I don’t want to stay up north because I feel like I can give back to Miami. Places like Art Basel are not [very] inclusive of people who live in [the local community] and are more for people that can afford a million dollar painting. I would love to do community based art projects and work with YoungArts Miami.
Anything else you would like to say to the Design Continuum Fund community?
Thank you! I’m really grateful for the scholarship. It means a lot to me and my parents.
Interested in learning more about Loli? Visit her website.