Illinois artist of the month: Rossana ReformadoAward-winning Chicago-based photographer Rossana Reformado specializes in Polaroid SX-70 manipulations and digital infrared photography. Reformado’s images can be made into prints of various sizes, coasters, wood blocks, magnets, ornaments or pendants upon request.





Galena MagnetsILI: How long have you been an artist or when did you start? Was there a single incident or moment when you realized this was your passion and if so, tell us about it.

Reformado: I took the long route in becoming an artist. I loved photography as a child but always felt like I needed a “backup” career before I could pursue my passion. I come from a family of engineers, so naturally I followed that path and graduated with a B.S. in chemical engineering.

After college, I started experimenting with slide film. In 2002, these slides are what led me to sign up for a workshop that used a Daylab unit to project slide images onto Polaroid film. The possibilities with Polaroid were endless, and working with the film brought out my artistic abilities. After that workshop, I knew I could distinguish myself from other photographers.

ILI: Were you born in Illinois? If so, where? If not, what brought you here and when?

Polaroid CoastersReformado: I was born in the Philippines and moved to Chicago when I was 5 years old. My parents immigrated to the U.S. in search of a better life.

ILI: Illinois has been factored into your work in the past. What does being able to live and work in Illinois mean to you?

Reformado: Living and working in Illinois has given me the opportunity to work in an industry that allows me to travel. At the same time, I’m constantly expanding my portfolio with iconic landmarks around Chicago and its surrounding neighborhoods.


ILI: What opportunities does Illinois present to local Illinois artists?

Reformado: There are so many art shows and festivals throughout Illinois. I feel that local artists are supported by their communities with numerous events that showcase their artwork and talents.

Chicago Infrared SkylineILI: What do you like about Illinois?

Reformado: Illinois has been the “Land of Opportunity” for me and my family. I lived here most of my life and my parents succeeded as workers and as small business owners. Furthermore, Illinois is diverse and has an area for every taste. I love the arts and culture in Chicago, but I also enjoy visiting the charm of small towns and area suburbs.

ILI: What is your favorite medium to work in?

Reformado: My early work was focused on Polaroid film when it was around. However, working in digital format is more efficient in creating functional art in the form of handmade coasters.

ILI: Where can people view or purchase your work?

Lincoln CoasterReformado: My artwork can be viewed on my website

My products can be purchased through my ETSY sites: (coasters and magnets) and (prints).

In the Chicago area, I have booths in the Andersonville and Edgebrook neighborhoods: Andersonville Galleria – 5247 N. Clark St, Chicago, IL and Local Goods Chicago – 5354 W. Devon (just north of Central Ave.), Chicago, IL.

ILI: What artist inspires you and why?

Reformado: The photographs of Ansel Adams inspired me to photograph and travel to national parks throughout the U.S. Later on, photographer Mark Southard, who was also a Polaroid consultant, introduced me to various Polaroid film and photographic techniques. His encouragement and support helped me find a niche, which ultimately helped in building the business that I have today.