ANDY BELLOMO’s artistic expression is deeply rooted in exploring, observing, listening and learning. As a self-taught artist, Andy began her creative interest as a young teen studying the color, light, shapes, and lines of traditional stained glass in churches. After feeling a great disconnect between the spaces in these churches and her ever-evolving experience within the LGBTQ community, she moved away from studying stained glass and instead merged its use of line, pattern, and design into her own practice, using what inspired her to propel her forward into a long-lasting art career. She developed her own unique style, creating movement and rhythm through line, and evolved her artwork into a fresh flow that now extends beyond the medium of glasswork into abstract pieces and large-scale murals. She has taken her inspiration from church glassworks and transformed it into meditative, visual explosions of color that empower and guide the work, re-imagining the meaning behind the glass. Always innovating, always learning, and always hustling, Bellomo is a dynamic member of the arts and LGBTQ communities in Chicago and a strong activist and advocate for social change and human rights.
Her current work includes the development of the Queer Mural Series with the mural, “The Love I Vibrate,” being the first mural collaboration in this series, and “Rebirth” being the second. This series of murals highlights the hard work and art activism of the LGBTQ community in Chicago. Each mural features a painted portrait of an artist/activist who has been using art to create social change and demand social justice, while supporting and bringing our community together. Bellomo’s goal is to create a series of murals that feature larger-than-life figures of these artists surrounded by a sea of color and movement to demonstrate the large impact they have on all our lives here in Chicago and beyond. These portraits not only give recognition to these activists, but are also meant to spark action and inspire future activists to make their voices heard.
Bellomo’s most recent collaborative mural, “The Love I Vibrate,” is depicted on the cover of the book, Art in Chicago Neighborhoods: Year of Public Art, a public art catalogue created by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events in 2018. In addition, she has been awarded public art grants by The Field Museum, DCASE, Chicago Park District, and the City of Chicago. She has also most recently been named one of Chicago's top 50 public artists in the "City of Chicago Public Art Pre-qualified List of 2020." The artist also holds a Master’s Degree in Education and has been an educator for over 15 years.
I strive to create work that means something to me and to my community. I’m interested in paying attention to the work being done in my community and highlighting the folks doing this work through visual art and murals. By creating larger-than-life artworks of artists and activists in the LGBTQ community, I am giving them the spotlight, I am lifting them up so that they may be recognized and seen by the larger world so that others will understand the impact these artists are making on all our lives. I need the essence of their work to be amplified so that it reaches masses of people. The work they are doing matters and it is changing our world piece by piece.
Each time I create a piece of work, my aim is to find a way to create a design that directs the viewer to not only think of something specific, but also to feel something emotional. My artwork, whether it be murals, glassworks, or studio work, blends together my design sensibilities and the influence of queer culture, figuratively and abstractly highlighting the impact my community is making. It is within my designs that I am directly influenced by and rooted in my original connection (and disconnection) to stained glass in church spaces. I’ve spent time pushing my style, transforming my design and art-making process into symbols that now hold space in both the queer community as well as the public sphere. As collaboration and community-building are important aspects of my practice, I often work with other artists on these murals and studio works. I am inspired and driven by the emotional impact other artists have on me and channel that directly into my Queer Mural Series, which highlights the work of artists and activists in the Chicago LGBTQ community through portraiture. The collaborative aspect of my work aims to decenter myself in art making and join forces, merge ideas, and blend skills to enhance the mission of the piece we are working on and in turn give this energy to the larger community. My goal is to make work that lifts up and pays close attention to the living art heroes in our queer community in Chicago.