Ralph Garafola critically acclaimed artist, educator, and author was raised in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. He and his family moved to New Jersey in 1964 and since 2001 spends the winters in Florida.
Garafola started his career as a draftsman in New York City for Armor Engineering. Later Garafola worked for Design Service in Newark, NJ as an illustrator producing government training manuals for the Armed Forces. Afterwards, he was promoted to Art Director. He worked there until he was drafted in 1953. Subsequently, he studied drawing at The Alliance Art School (Educational Alliance) in lower Manhattan at night.
Garafola, a Korean War veteran was in the army for two years as Army Combat Photographer MOS. He studied at Fort Monmouth New Jersey Army photo school; graduated and transferred to the Pictorial Center, Long Island City as a photographer making training films for the army. While stationed in Korea Garafola was a draftsman. He was discharged in 1955.
Back in New York, Garafola studied at the Art Students League of New York over seven years with Frank J. Reilly. He served as a class monitor to Reilly, who was an instructor at the League and Commissioner of Art for New York City.
Garafola worked at Janal Studio in Newark as a commercial illustrator. At that juncture, he then went out on his own and for more than 65 years he made a successful living as a self-employed commercial illustrator, photo retoucher, and fine artist. Garafola retired as a commercial illustrator and continued painting. He brings his style of contemporary realism to his oil and watercolor paintings of portraits, landscapes, seascapes, still life and pets. Garafola travels throughout southeastern United States plein air painting and Italy, France in search of new subjects and locations for future paintings while studying the works of the Old Masters.
At 70 years of age started teaching at the duCret School of Art, Plainfield, NJ and in Florida at the Sarasota Art Center, Longboat Key - Ringling College of Art and Design, the Art Center Manatee and Art Expressions by the Bay in Sarasota. Garafola also has students he tutors privately.
Current Work / Projects
Garafola's portraits and still lifes capture the personality and character of his subjects while his landscapes and seascapes capture the mood of the scenes. Garafola says, "All my paintings are portraits. Whether my subject is a person, landscape, seascape or still life, my approach is to portray my subject in its natural environment. It puts the viewer inside the painting. My paintings realistically depict what nature has created." http://www.ralphgarafola.com
Garafola's first published book “Frank J. Reilly - The Elements of Painting” reveals Reilly’s theory of what one needs to know about painting, as taught to Garafola. Frank J. Reilly was an American painter, illustrator, muralist and teacher. Reilly served as the Commissioner of Art for New York City. Ralph Garafola studied at the Art Students League of New York over seven years, where he served as Reilly's class monitor.
"To succeed in the realm of graphic arts, like dancing and playing music, one must acquire knowledge. By practicing and applying that knowledge, one becomes skillful. It was Reilly’s logical application which was the basis for developing my craft. After 65 successful years, I have never found a reason to change methodology he taught me. I owe him my sincere gratitude. Now, through this book, I share it with you" says Garafola.
Now Garafola is working on a second book, "Frank J. Reilly - Outdoor Painting" publication is scheduled by the end of 2018 http://FrankReillyBooks.com
"The Price of Liberty & Freedom" A Commemorative Painting for Honoring Your Personal Hero was painted by Garafola as a dedication to the ultimate sacrifice made by our heroes so we can continue living with the freedoms we have in our nation. Ralph Garafola a veteran of the Korean War, long believed our heroes can be honored with more than a photo on a mantle or bureau. He created this unique painting in which a photograph of your personal hero is inserted into the composition - creating a beautiful, commemorative work of art that truly honors them and their sacrifice. http://thepriceoflibertyfreedom.com
Garafola designed and directed the building of the 911 Memorial which stands in front of the Warren Township Municipal building in New Jersey. http://warrennj.org/about/911-monument/
© Ralph Garafola All Rights Reserved 2015