Art and Soul Spotlight: Tina Gardiakos

local Orlando artist

With a passion for artistic creation stemming from her childhood, Tina Gardiakos knew that not pursuing this dream would be, “The one thing I’d always regret.” And with her family’s encouragement, some crayons and passion, Tina continued to craft what would become her life’s passion.

Tina Gardiakos is a local mixed media artist in Orlando, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from the University of Central Florida. She specializes in sculpting, illustrating and graphic design with a focus on discourse, diversity and mental health issues. She became acquainted with Appleton by viewing a post on our Facebook page calling for local artists to donate artwork for an upcoming Zebra Coalition event in our Appleton Awareness Gallery. As a queer woman, Tina felt the need to support the LGBT+ youth at Zebra Coalition, just as adults helped her when she was a teen. She wanted to show LGBT+ youth that, “You’re not alone.”

Tina donated three intricate interactive cardboard artworks to Appleton. Her proudest creation is the Artwork House, which took nearly 300 hours to complete. To Tina, this piece was also the most challenging because the content written on the house is based on anonymous stories of strength and struggles in the face of mental health issues, bullying and other social concerns.

As a burgeoning artist and queer woman, Tina wants young creators to know that success comes from being, “Comfortable with your own style.” She advises people to devote time to learning from the masters and to use art to make sense of their life experiences.

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