Her subjects span from the intensely personal to the universal and iconic. She has worked with countless young students and adults teaching them how to make their own pottery and tiles and to beautify their homes, schools and lives. Her ceramic pieces populate her mosaics all over Austin, Texas.
Her work as a functional potter adds a richness and depth to the large scale mosaics she creates. Handcrafted tiles speak volumes within the mix of recycled mirror and floor and bathroom tiles. The story is told through her art both from a distance and up close where roses, 3-dimensional candle holders, words and a wide range of imagery draw in the viewer. Her pieces are influenced by rock and roll, spirituality, and community.
She has worked with Philadelphia mosaic guru Isaiah Zagar. He continues to be a strong influence in her life. Other influences are her sister, Madi Distefano, a life-long theater artist whose creativity and guts encourage those around her to be more of themselves. David Jewell, poet and visual artist extraordinaire, with his dedication to life as art has also strongly influenced her world and life as an artist.
Stefanie was awarded a Beautification Award by the City of Austin for her piece at the Phoenix House on Live Oak Street. This wall was made and mounted with the students of the Phoenix Academy who created their own tiles about recovery from drug addiction and the power of the Phoenix rising from the ashes.
Her many public pieces in Austin are both soulful and playful. Zilker Science and Nature Center displays four mosaics that celebrate the beauty and playful nature of Austin’s diverse insects and animals. A two-story marbled salamander climbs the wall of the building where the near endangered Barton Salamander is researched. A bridge on El Paso Street depicts two koi swimming above the creek. Below them, a Dia de Los Muertos mural pays tribute to those on the other side. Torchy’s Restaurant, Active LIfe Wellness Center and many other pieces around town are instantly recognizable and represent their communities.
Stefanie Distefano believes in a world where art and beauty should be an integral part of the daily lives of everyone. She enriches communities with the power of personal expression.