Matt Squeglia: One Little Victory
Art has always been a form of therapy for those who are struggling with difficulties in their lives. It can also be a way of expressing care and gratitude for others and a way to give back to the community. All of this has been the case for North Haven resident and Quinnipiac University senior Matt Squeglia.
Matt is currently studying graphic design at Quinnipiac with current courses including collage and branding strategies.
“How companies interact with their consumers,” through logos, color palettes, and typography, says Matt.
While Matt is unsure as to what he will do after graduation, he has mentioned working with nonprofit groups because of “the way nonprofits have impacted me.”
Matt was diagnosed with brain cancer and found support from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, whose impact influenced him to take his childhood interest in art and design even further. While he designs posters that he then donates to the foundation, a major accomplishment came when the foundation opened offices in Trumbull. Matt created the illustration of the building that was printed in mailers and advertisements to announce the grand opening of the facilities.
“It was just a great opportunity, and it felt like I was giving back to the organization. It felt like I was doing all I could to give back to the organization that gave so much to me,” says Matt.
His illness may have caused some setbacks in his higher education career, but Matt persevered and found that design allowed him to focus his energy on something greater than his own health struggles.
“It was a struggle for my parents and I together in different ways. It was a struggle for me in school, and then after we found out about the cancer, how to go on after that,” says Matt. “We all fought through it, and I couldn’t have done it without my parents. I knew I had a whole network of people that supported me, and they all helped in their own way. Even when I went to school after I was treated, everyone was really supportive of me, and I was able to help them out and become a part of the community again.”
Matt and his family adopted the quote from Walt Disney, “Keep moving forward,” which they would tell each other when he was having a bad day.
Matt’s upbeat and positive kind of design is a reflection of his can-do attitude in overcoming the struggles that came along with his illness. Disney influenced Matt again, and he was partly inspired by its whimsical and colorful style—a look he was intrigued by at a young age—whose feel-good world fittingly spoke to him later on as he started to design amidst his health struggles.
Music is also an inspiration to him, among his favorite artists being Mozart, jazz fusion outfit Spyro Gyra, and progressive rock band Rush.
“I’m always playing music when I’m designing. Creative music and a lot of Rush. I love instrumental music,” he says. “I love the [Rush] song ‘Freewill.’ I loved it since I was little, but I found more and more through what I’ve gone through that it kind of reflects me.”
Matt and his father met bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee, and Matt owns a pair of sticks used by drummer Neil Peart that he has framed. Rush’s music continued to be an influence on Matt, with the title of their song, “One Little Victory,” becoming a motto for him.
His other big artistic influence is his parents, who have supported his interest in drawing and graphic design since he first encountered the Disney aesthetic. He says his mother was a “big, big influence” on him, while his father, who is an engineer, was another influence on Matt, who realized that graphic design is not necessarily an “artsy” kind of art, but is actually a “technical” art form.
For anyone reading who is struggling with an illness or knows someone who is, Matt has a message for those readers.
“Just keep moving forward, and don’t let yourself feel down,” says Matt. “Focus on the positive parts of your life and let everyone that’s around you inspire you. Focus on the fact that you’re here for a reason and that you can get through it.”