Episode 48: Mandi Antonucci: Following Curiosity

Mandi Antonucci creates beautifully detailed and painterly drawings using colored pencils, ball point pens, and sometimes other materials. She shared how drawing was not always easy for her and she had to put in a lot of practice. She talked about dabbling in a variety of media and the rabbit holes she leaps down when a concept strikes her. It was wonderful hearing about her teaching experience and how she’s adapted to the bizarre situation of hybrid teaching. 

Like some of our other recent guests, Mandi talked about collaborating with her own children and with her students. She talked about how important discussions with her students are to her own art-making. 

Mandi also shared how a student asked her how often she thought about the fact that she’s white and it was a huge learning moment for her as a teacher. She talked about how she stopped class and gave him space to share his experiences while continuing to ask questions as a way to facilitate dialogue. 

Mandi Antonucci is a visual artist residing in Geneseo, New York.  After receiving her BFA in Printmaking and BA in Art History from Nazareth College, she continued to Rochester Institute of Technology for her MST in Art Education.  Mandi has worked as a High School Art Teacher at Batavia City Schools since 2005, where she appreciates the ability to foster a love of art with her students while she continues to work on her Pop Surrealist drawings.  

Artist Statement

I like to think of myself as a crafter of visual stories. I attempt to create drawings that provide more questions than answers, more ambiguity than certainty. My intention is to leave the viewer with an open ended narrative that allows one to fill in the blanks from their own personal experiences.

I work primarily in Colored Pencils, Watercolor, and Ballpoint Pen, exploring the theme of the contradictions and opposing forces found in everyday life. I strive to find meaning in the dual realities that push us in varying directions, and to make connections between both the pivotal and mundane moments of life with the use of symbolism and simplicity.

My drawings often include the human form in some way, whether it’s with portraits or hands. I am drawn to the automatic sense of emotion that comes with portraying the human form.  I strive to tell a somewhat ambiguous story through emotion and symbolism, leaving the details to the interpretation of the observer. My drawings attempt to show the vulnerability of my subject, their precarious and fantastical reality, the contradictions in everyday life, and the effects of space and mental stability.

My work often includes patterns as both a stylistic and symbolic choice.  Patterns can be both predictable and improbable, stable and changing.  We search for patterns to make sense of the world around us, they allow us to make familiar predictions, and interpret the connectivity between points.  Patterns can provide reassurance in unknown situations, yet they can also create confusion at their break down.  This point between familiarity and confusion is where I like my work to inhabit. 


“Falling Into Place”
“Greta Thunberg”
“In Search”
School studio