About Alanna S. Graboyes
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I am an Alexandria, Virginia-based artist whose work includes oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings; hand-painted silk scarves; photographs; and Joseph Cornell-inspired window boxes.
Born in Brooklyn and raised by the ocean in Far Rockaway, Queens, the world’s finest art was only a subway token away. At Queens College, I studied under some of the 20th century’s revolutionary abstract expressionists, including Herbert Aach, John Ferren, Charles Cajori, and James Brooks. Afterward, I worked as a textile designer, co-authored the first definitive book on the SoHo art district, and worked in the library collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Columbia University. At Columbia, and later in Richmond and Northern Virginia, my professional life focused on information technology, research practices for digital-age students, and architectural design of 21st century high school libraries.
My inspirations are everywhere: New York’s towers, trestles, streets, and bridges; the roller coasters and long-extinct pastries of mid-century Brooklyn; the shadow of a cloud; the high desert of New Mexico; the colors of an insect; the fog and mist; lettering; the sound of words, color, texture, line, shape, and space; my travels to France, Spain, Portugal, Florida, New England, California coast, Canada, Maine, and—more than anywhere else—the Southwestern U.S.
My compositions borrow elements from a procession of art periods: Medieval, Baroque, Renaissance, Cubism, Impressionism, Abstract Expressionism, Fauvism, Pop Art, Conceptualism.
My paintings often begin with images inspired by my photographs; they evolve into abstraction, preserving the spirit, but not the form, of the original compositions. My studies of East Asian painting and design philosophy have changed the way I paint, how I hold a paintbrush, and how I approach the painting surface, whether it be canvas, rice paper, watercolor paper or fabric.
Lastly I teach art courses for adults, focusing on line, light, shadow, color, texture and most of all understanding abstract art.