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 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."

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 for the end of 2017.


"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. It comes to you as a high-quality Giclee reproduction of the original painting printed on canvas and varnished for protection.


Garafola designed and directed the building of the 911 Memorial which stands in front of the Warren Township Municipal building in New Jersey.


Associations and Awards

Garafola is a member of numerous art associations. He is a Life Member of the Art Students League of New York and Life Member of the Art Directors Club of New Jersey. In Florida he is a member of the Art Center of Manatee, Longboat Key; the Sarasota Art Center; the Portrait Society of Sarasota; and the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. In New Jersey he is a member of the Somerset Art Association; the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts in Summit; and the Westfield Art Association.


  • Contemporary Art Gallery Online, All Landscapes, Best in Show, Waterloo Village

  • Bauhaus Prairie Art Gallery, Portrait Competition

    • Honorable Mention, Henry Morrison Flagler

    • Honorable Mention, Gypsy Mirela

    • Honorable Mention, Jeannie & Goliath

  • Society of Portrait Artists Foundation, the International Portrait Arts Festival held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Certificate of Excellence, Atsuko Kubota (Japanese Girl)

  • Mountain Art Show, Bernardsville, NJ,Award of Excellence, Atsuko Kubota (Japanese Girl)

  • Somerset Art Association, Somerset, NJ, Best in Show, Atsuko Kubota (Japanese Girl)

  • Somerset Art Association, Somerset, NJ, Grumbacher Gold Medallion Award, Atsuko Kubota (Japanese Girl)

  • Anna Maria Art League Gallery, Anna Maria Island, FL, 1st Place, Flamingo Dancer

  • New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, Summit, NJ, Marion Anderson Memorial Award for Portraiture, Carolann

  • New Jersey Center of Visual Arts, Summit, NJ, Award of Excellence, Bill, Guitar Player

  • Sarasota Portrait Society, Sarasota, FL, 1st Place, Ralph Garafola, Self Portrait

  • Watchung Arts Center, Watchung, NJ, Award of Excellence, Bobby and his dog Butchie

  • Art Center of Manatee, Manatee, FL

    • 1st Place, Carnevale de Venezia

    • 1st Place, Twelve Meter Racing

    • 2nd Place, The Golden Ballet Shoes

  • Art & Frame, Sarasota, FL, 1st Place, Bridge Street Pier at Sunrise

  • Les Malamut Gallery, Union, NJ, Honorable Mention, Venice Gondola

  • Longboat Key Center for the Arts (Div. of Ringling College), Longboat Key, FL

    • 1st Place, Tourist in the Ringling Museum

    • 1st Place, Kubuki Courtesan

    • 1st Place, Memories of a Geisha

  • Park Avenue Club, Florham Park, NJ, 2nd Place, Au Lapin Agile (Dancing Rabbit) Cabaret, Montmartre

  • Ridgewood Art Institute, Ridgewood, NJ, Gamblin "Artists Oil Color" Award, Waterloo Village

  • Sarasota Art Center, Sarasota, FL, 1st Place, Painting onThe Left Bank, Paris

  • Westfield Art Association, Westfield, NJ

    • Award of Excellence, The Clammer

    • Award of Excellence, Brown's Head Light

  • Art Directors Club of New Jersey, Kearny, NJ, Gold Medal, Special Honor-Service Award, RalphGarafola


Shows / Exhibits / Online

Garafola exhibits can be seen in:

  • Xanadu Gallery
  • Contemporary Art Gallery
  • Bauhaus Prairie Art Gallery

  • Alumni Association of Washington and Lee University, Virginia.
  • Anna Maria Art League Gallery, Anna Maria Island, FL
  • Art & Frame, Sarasota, FL
  • Art Center of Manatee, FL
  • Art Center of Sarasota, Sarasota, FL
  • Longboat Key Center for the Arts (Div. of Ringling College), Longboat Key, FL
  • Portrait Society of Sarasota, Sarasota, FL
  • Allied Artists of America, NYC
  • American Society of Portrait Artists, International Art in the Hills Show, Pluckemin, NJ
  • Art in the Hills Show
  • Arts in the National Parks, USA
  • Art Student League, NYC
  • Automatic Data Processing Headquarters (ADP), Roseland, NJ
  • Beneficial World Headquarters, Morristown, NJ
  • Berlex Corporation, Montville, NJ
  • Burgdorff Realtors, Warren, NJ
  • Children's Specialized Hospital, Mountainside, NJ
  • Clarence Dillon Public Library, Bedminster, NJ
  • Cloninger Gallery
  • Corby Gallery, Cedar Grove, NJ
  • duCret School of Art, Plainfield, NJ
  • G.J. Cloninger & Co. Gallery, Morris Plains, NJ
  • Great Swamp Exhibition Gallery, Morris County, NJ
  • Illustrators Club, NYC
  • Jewel Spiegel Gallery, Englewood, NJ
  • Johnson and Johnson Gallery, New Brunswick, NJ
  • Les Malamut Gallery, Union Public Library, Union, NJ
  • Mountain Art Show, Bernardsville, NJ
  • National Academy of Design, NYC
  • New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, Summit, NJ
  • Park Avenue Club, Florham Park, NJ
  • Ridgewood Art Institute, Ridgewood, NJ
  • Somerset Art Association, Somerset, NJ
  • Sussex Maritime Museum, NJ
  • Watchung Art Association, Watchung, NJ
  • Westfield Art Association, Westfield, NJ
  • Westfield Art Gallery, Westfield, NJ

Garafola's portraits hang in private collections throughout the United States:
  • Ballerina Sara, New York City
  • Bobby and his dog Butchie, Staten Island, NY
  • Charles McDowell Sr., former law professor, hanging in Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA
  • Christiana & Danielle, Nissequque, NY
  • Diane and Tucker, former NJ Governor Di Francesco's wife Diane and her golden retriever, Warren, NJ
  • Franklyn Babbit, airplane pilot, entrepreneur, Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Henry Morrison Flagler, (life-size portrait), Florida
  • Jackie LeClaire, Ringling Bros. Clown, Sarasota, FL
  • James with his dog Duke, New York City
  • Jamie on her horse Irishman, Warren, NJ equestrienne champion rider
  • Lora Codington, Warren Township Philanthropist and Descendent of an American Revolutionary War Family, hanging in the Warren Public Library, Warren, NJ
  • Lorraine, Boynton Beach, FL
  • Major General Joseph Warren hanging in the Warren Township's courtroom, Warren, NJ
  • Monica, Bedminster, NJ
  • Nicholas Vomero, Fencing Champion (life-size portrait), Centerport, NY
  • Ralph Garafola, Self Portrait, Warren, NJ
  • Tiffany & Chelsea Clarke, Cape Cod, MA
  • Very Reverend Michael A. McGuire, the late reverend from Sacred Heart Church, South Plainfield, NJ
  • Victor DiLeo, CEO DiLeo Realty, Piscataway, NJ
  • William & Mildred Garafola, New York


© Ralph Garafola All Rights Reserved 2015