Info

Obsess Over Everything

Posts from the About me Category

As many of you may have seen, my face and my paper appeared in a commercial for Cadillac for their Dare Greatly campaign, first airing during the Oscars broadcast.  I cannot even explain how incredibly honored I feel for being chosen to be a part of this- everyone should take the time to read the stories of each person featured.  There are amazing people doing amazing things, even at such a young age.

 

I am amazed that I was able to feature my art, but am especially excited to be able to stand as a heart transplant representative.  Even with all the knowledge we have, transplants are still a rare occurrence and I am one of the oldest survivors for a single organ at this date in time.  I want to be open about my work and my personal medical experiences- if you have any questions please feel free to ask me!

Click here to view the special page about me and my work on Cadillac’s Dare Greatly website.

 

Thank you again to everyone at Cadillac!  #DareGreatly

Hey, all.  So if you know me personally, you know why I make art.  But a lot of people out there don’t know my story.  Actually, even some people who I consider close friends still don’t really understand what it means when I say that I have a heart transplant.  So I’ve added a video page to my website, where I will be posting all major video features that have been done of myself and my work.

I invite you to take a look and watch a few.  I have been living with a heart transplant for over 23 years now, and that affects my world in ways that I can’t even begin to explain.  A main reason I began making art is because I cannot truly put into words how I feel about it all.  If you watch any, feel free to send me any feedback, comments, or questions.

I am very open about my medical experiences and want to educate as many people as possible about what it is like not only to be a transplant patient, but also an artist working with a medical disability.

Click Here

or paste this link:

http://www.giannapaniagua.squarespace.com/videos/

Things this month have been absolutely amazing and absolutely busy! I am proud to announce that I am the Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 VSA Young Emerging Artist Program with the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.! This year’s theme was “The Journey,” and prompted artists to submit their work that concerned their own personal journeys living with a disability. With this award, my piece is exhibited in the Smithsonian in Washington, it is also part of a nationally traveling exhibition, and I receive a cash prize of $20,000. I have been invited, along with the other 14 winners, to attend a Congressional Reception in January so I’m already starting to plan my outfit! I am extremely honored to be receiving this award and am so excited to see what this next year holds for me.1622843_10152345255192694_5115025851877106456_n

My winning papercut sculpture, Never Stopping, deals with my experiences as a heart transplant recipient, specifically the overwhelming feelings related to my physical issues as well as the desire for healing. The entire original sculpture is about 16 ft in height and is made entirely of handcut paper. I also added screenprinted cutouts of hands, legs, oranges, and bananas. These symbolize offerings and milagros, or physical representations of intentions. The idea behind it was for the viewer to become overwhelmed with the structure, in order to mimic my own feelings. For the Kennedy Center, I brought the piece down to a smaller scale, which you can see in the photo.me

b5dbb8_0511210615d14cb48fca1a3d1513e89e.jpg_srz_p_929_718_75_22_0.50_1.20_0dsc0962

Never Stopping

Never Stopping7

My transplant is a major part of my life, and I am open to any questions readers might have. I received my heart at the age of 14 months at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. That transplant team became my family, and I am always going back every now and then to visit. They still follow up with me and my procedure results even though I have switched to the cardiology team at UPMC Children’s Hospital. Right now, I still have my original heart making my transplant one of the oldest single organ transplants in the country.

10544773_10152345255247694_7714857673756354939_n

This past week, I opened a show in Oakland, CA for First Fridays.  It was so much fun and my first exhibit on the West Coast!  I had a bit of help with some of the bigger installation, and for the first time went on scaffolding.  Since I’m a short little lady, I was terrified of being so high off the ground.  But I did it and everything turned out so perfect.  Really, I don’t think I’ve ever had an easier install and it’s all thanks to the awesome, generous people from the gallery.  There’s an espresso bar connected, so I suggest to anyone from the area to stop by!  The show is at Hat Rac Gallery up from June 6- July 25.

_DSC0896

Boys setting up the scaffolding.

_DSC0899

_DSC0909

_DSC0913

 

Gold and black cutouts going up on the wall.  Yes, they’re all handcut!

_DSC0914

_DSC0977

_DSC0016

 

_DSC0979

 

 

_DSC0962

Me

 

 

Never Stopping7

Never Stopping

_DSC0023

_DSC0032

_DSC0039

_DSC0981

Makeshift Body3

Growth in the

Growth in the Most 1

Is there an ending?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m still not sure how I feel about this piece.  It’s love hate…  I love the layers, the burning, the shadows created by the turmeric.  But I don’t know why I didn’t keep it as just a circle.  It was meant to look like it was breaking apart or breaking out… but this is just kind of funky.  I will most likely redo this and make one with just a circle…  _DSC0651 _DSC0652

I threw these photos in for fun.  These are my little triangle cutouts burned, dyed, and covered in wax.  So much process…. I also picked these pieces of sage and wheat-looking guys and covered them in wax, too.  So awesome…_DSC0653 _DSC0657 _DSC0660 _DSC0662 copy _DSC0663 _DSC0666I figured there aren’t many photos of me working.  Just of my work working itself.  So here it is… I was particularly proud of this skater-ish outfit I was sporting last night.  I’ve never been more comfortable.  Here I’m pondering what in the world I’m doing with my life…

 

 

It’s that time of the year where I begin wearing long sleeves and all black again.  That’s right: Fall is almost here!  I was shocked when I stepped outside.  Here was my outfit for the occasion.

Jacket: Forever 21 DIY denim jacket

Shoes: Dr. Martens

Pants: BDG

Necklace: Nameplate gold necklace

Shirt: Michael Stars

Earrings: Forever 21

Bag: Aldo

Ring: Thrift store find

My latest obsession is the studded jacket.  Well, it isn’t the latest but it’s the one that I’ve most recently accomplished.  See, the thing is that I’ve been loving punk fashion since I was about 13 years old.  All that time in between I’ve been wanting and craving for a chance to go and wear it.  Those chances have been available for so long but now I’ve finally done it.  The other thing is: I don’t like silver.  I’m a gold kind of girl so I needed some gold studs.  That’s where the whole stud craze came in.  Since everyone is going mad about spikes, the market finally opened for gold studs.  Yay!   Ok enough talk here’s my outfit:

Jacket: Forever 21

Shoes: Cole Haan

Socks: TJ Maxx

Shirt: H&M

Necklaces: My own gold nameplate necklace and a Medic Alert Coin pendant (NOT FOR FASHION PURPOSES.  PLEASE DO NOT WEAR THIS AS AN ACCESSORY UNLESS NEEDED)

Skirt: Urban Outfitters

Earrings: Betsey Johnson

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

The other night there was about to be the most enormous rainstorm.  Since it was the first night that it wasn’t pouring rain here, I went out and walked around Rock River taking pictures.  It also just so happened to be the magic hour, and I’ve never seen light like this anywhere else.  Everything glowed this beautiful orange light.  Plus, the clouds didn’t hurt at all for photography.  I’ve got to say, I’m making it a habit now to take a walk after dinner along the tracks to go scavenging and picture taking.  It’s so different here from the city.  You hear nothing but dogs barking or maybe the sound of a boy on his dirtbike far away.

Ok, readers I’m in big need of your help!

I’m a semifinalist in the Project Style Contest 2012 at the Mall at Robinson here in Pittsburgh.  It’s Round 2 and I’m in need of as many votes as possible.  Dates to vote: June 15- June 30.

You can vote 1 time per day.  It’s easy: just create a profile and vote!

The final prize if I can get through each round is a trip to NYC Fashion Week!  So please help me out and vote!  Show some love to a blogger and stylist in need 🙂

Here’s my outfit and entry video just in case you were wondering:

Shirt: H&M, $17.95
Pants: Delia’s, $39.50
Earrings: H&M, $5.95
Necklace: H&M, $9.95
Nail Polish: H&M, $4.95
*Personal Item: My grandmother’s gold chained belt.
White Flowers: H&M, $3.95
Neon Flowers: H&M, $3.95
Golden Hair Comb: H&M, $5.95
Sunglasses: H&M, $9.95
Shoes: H&M, $17.95
Corazon Bracelet: BCBGeneration via Macy’s, $18

Oh and just so you all know, I’ve been tapping into the DIY trend lately.  I painted the bottom of my sneakers with some nail polish I bought at H&M.  Let’s me change the color as much as I want and get a good manicure, too!

Theme of my outfit:

This summer I am participating in a research program at my university.  Each week, we hear 4 presenters go up and tell us what exactly they’re researching and why we should care etc etc

The other day, the Dean gave us a little talk on how this whole program seemed to him so far.  He said this was a room of “unusual students” and I must say that we are.  No one here has overlapping projects, and that’s the most refreshing thing ever. 

At the beginning of this experience, I said that my research was different from everyone’s.  I was wrong.  Yeah, it’s different.  But that’s not what I said.  I said only I was different.  Turns out, each person has the most interesting way of figuring out whatever it is they want to learn about.  I’m not the only one doing some crazy form of “research” that’s set apart from the typical scientific method.


A few weeks ago, I decided to go ahead and draw each person while they’re presenting.  As if there isn’t pressure enough.  I guess that puts more pressure on me actually since I better get your face drawn right.

Here they are:

Callum

Dean Stricker

Samuel

Alex

Tom

Colleen

Simon

Andrew

Emmeline

Maria

Luke

For those fellows who do read this and presented before I started this little project, we are going on a retreat together soon.  That sounds like an opportunity to get a little portrait drawn if you’d like.