“The Wallflower,” acrylic paint with glass beads on canvas
Maybe you’ve seen Loretta Tedeschi-Cuoco’s digital art on her Instagram (@art_ltc) or at galleries around town. Perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to be invited to a gathering where she’s been featured as an event illustrator, creating quick drawings of guests. Take a long look at Tedeschi-Cuoco’s figurative drawings—the way she captures a stance, a gesture, and the way she makes clothes drape on the body—and you’ll soon realize that her talent runs deep.
“Spellbound,” acrylic paint with paper on canvas panel
A Brooklyn native, Tedeschi-Cuoco was interested in fashion and art from a young age. “My mother and grandmother were both seamstresses,” she explains, “and we always had fabric and patterns all over the house. When I was young, I copied fashion illustrations from newspapers.” The fashion illustration interest stuck, and she studied the art at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where the course studies focused on anatomy—the underpinning of clothing. After graduation, she worked as a fashion illustrator for a Brooklyn department store, then spent some three decades freelancing in the garment industry, working for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Nike and Burberry, creating illustrations that were used in-house, as well as for ads that appeared in Vogue, Glamour and Women’s Wear Daily. Tedeschi-Cuoco also taught fashion illustration and design at Parsons School of Design (Tom Ford was her student in the early ’90s).
An opportunity to be the artist-in-residence at Taliesin West brought Tedeschi-Cuoco to Scottsdale in 2014—and, by 2016, she and her husband relocated to Arizona. “Being at Taliesin West was a life-changing experience for me,” she recalls. “I fell in love with the desert.”
“Elegant Geometry,” digital art, a blend of fashion and real-life architecture that Tedeschi Cuoco calls “fash-itecture.”
Since moving here, she’s started teaching fashion classes at the Mesa Arts Center and has branched out with her art, creating those digital images in which she uses a stylus to draw a fashionably languid figure against a photo of a deeply hued sunset, perched in a saguaro or, in what she calls “fashi-tecture,” incorporating a figure onto an architectural landmark, such as ASU’s rotund music building. Tedeschi-Cuoco is also doing those event drawings, as well as oils and mixed media pieces, exhibited at spots like the Scottsdale’s Holland Gallery and ASU Gammage in Tempe.
“I have such a strong attachment to the figure and to fashion,” she says. “That’s always been my launching point. I guess I have thread in my veins.”
Photography by: loretta tedeschi-cuoco