How do we define art? This is a time-old question usually followed by heated arguments and a display of very different answers. There are several approaches to this problem. We could go the way of the internet: “Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts, expressing the author’s imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power (as Wikipedia puts it).” Or we could dive into the life of a famous artist, and learn how she understands art through her experience and passion. Claudia La Bianca, a well-known Miami artist with an impressive portfolio, gave our writers the honor of sharing her story.
Claudia’s past is fascinating, and her art is eye catching. Always at work, she has displayed talent in an entire palette of mediums. Not only has she directed and produced national commercials, two feature films, and a PBS television show, but is now world-renowned for her street art, and is venturing into the world of sculpting. But all of this wouldn’t have been possible without her unique childhood and message.
Claudia was born as the last of four children in a small town in Sicily. Entering the world to a family of artists and creatives, all of her siblings dabbled in art of some kind – one sister was a runway model, her brother a filmmaker, and other sister a lingerie designer. This environment enabled Claudia to dive into her calling: street art. Growing up, she made it her goal to bring beauty and art to the walls of Sicily, but it wasn’t until she experienced extensive bullying in high school that she found her true purpose. After being tormented for her weight, Claudia’s art began to take on new meaning. She told writers, “I started to spend more time creating strong, confident, and beautiful superhero-like murals that portrayed female empowerment. In times like these, we need to support each other, not tear each other down.”
After moving to Miami, Claudia’s life changed dramatically, and her interests shifted from street art to filmmaking. Within one decade, she had nationally known video work that drew attention from Oprah, executives at DreamWorks, and even Steven Spielberg.
But in 2014, she was brought back to her roots in painting. After a call from a friend who owned a Wynwood gallery – a subsect of the Wynwood Walls of the Miami Art and Design District – Claudia agreed to paint a mural on a building in Miami, now one of her most famous works.
And in a few years, Claudia’s life changed drastically, again. Her painted pieces, now featured across Italy, in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and other major cities, sell for thousands of dollars. In addition, she’s racked up quite the public profile, with over 18,000 followers on Instagram alone, @claudialabianca. For Claudia, art isn’t a hobby, and it never stops: “I create constantly. I never take a break; art is my blood, and without it my heart won’t beat.” She has also recently begun to sculpt, to add to her already awe-striking portfolio.
But in one of her most meaningful endeavors yet, Claudia has paid tribute to a select number of those who she feels need to be shown more appreciation, titling a recent mural, “Our Heroes.” And who are these heroes? They’re the health care workers of the COVID-19 outbreak: the nurses, doctors, and public health professionals on the front lines of this battle against the Coronavirus. In her usual fashion, Claudia has set on a mission to paint huge murals of these health care workers in female warrior mode, decked out in masks and capes. She is looking to partner with more hospitals and cities to spread this message of appreciation, and is ready to make an impact in a new way.
Claudia La Bianca, an artist always at work, shows us the meaning of art through her own perseverance, pieces and example. While for her job she paints iconic female superheroes, for her life, she lives as one.