Rebecca Franco


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Rebecca Franco
About the author

I was born in Havana, Cuba, and had to leave my home and culture at the age of nine. Even at that young age, art provided me with an avenue to express myself, a means to acclimate to the cultural changes I would experience in the United States. I graduated with a Fine Arts degree in Painting with Honors from Pratt Institute, New York in 1974. I was interested in painting large and real. I was very much influenced by the Photo Realist movement of the 1970’s. Many of the paintings I created as an undergraduate at Pratt were in that genre. Upon graduation I sought employment in the rough and difficult field of Outdoor Advertising, where I got the opportunity and distinction to prove myself as a competent female artist. I painted billboards for fifteen years enjoying the large scale and the popular subject matter of my adopted culture, which was delivered to the public in the form of gigantic billboard bulletins. I became the first female billboard artist to join the Sign and Pictorial Display Union and worked for the largest outdoor advertising company in the United States at that time, Foster and Kleiser. Digital computer imaging threatened the outdoor industry, so I shifted my focus, changing environments to become an independent art professional. I gained painting commissions from architects, designers, magazine editors, private clients, and public institutions. I successfully attained notoriety in this field and my paintings were featured in many publications. At no time along the deviated road of my artistic career did I ever forget about my original roots of painting in oil and canvas. I remained interested in the expansion and refinement of my skills. To that end, after many years as an independent art professional, in 2008 I returned to academia to attain a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from Queens College, New York. My work has been exhibited in a number of group shows such as “Latino Voices” at the Port Washington Library, New York, and shows supported by The Queens College MFA held at Gallery 151, New York; The Puffin Room, New York; The Dorsky Gallery in Long Island City, New York; and the New York Studio Gallery. In 2010, as a requirement of my MFA degree I exhibited a solo show at the Klapper Hall Gallery, Queens College New York called “Look At Me.” In December 2011 I was part of a group show called “Folles D’Hiver” at the SOHO20Chelsea Gallery, New York. In 2011, I was awarded an Artist Residency called EXPRESS+LOCAL: NYC AESTHETICS at the Queens College Art Center, Rosenthal Library, New York. I worked on a large painting for five hours a day for a month as students and guests interacted, with me discussing the work and my art practice. THE PRESS My work has been published throughout my career. Starting in 1983, I was featured in Advertising Age in an article called “Creating The Giant Boards,” which discussed the first female artist to paint billboards. My paintings have been featured in articles from 1984-2001 in Newsday Sunday Home Magazine, House Beautiful, Metropolitan Home, Country Living, and Better Homes and Gardens. In 1991, Rizzoli featured three of my paintings in a book, Tromp L’Oeil At Home, by Karen Chambers. In 2009, Curator Herb Tam’s curatorial statement mentioned my work for the group show “Verses From The Abstract” at the Dorsky Gallery in Long Island City, New York. In 2011 Curator Omar Lopez-Chaud’s curatorial statement discussed my work in “Crosscurrents” group show at the New York Studio Gallery in New York. In the Residency Exhibition “EXPRESS+LOCAL:NYC AESTHETICS” at The Queens College Art Center, Rosenthal Library, two articles discussed my work at the show: “QC Exhibit asks: Does Home Matter?,” www.queenstribune.com, February 3, 2011, and “Artists to Audience: Express+Local puts 15 artists in Queens”, www.greenpointstar.com, February 9, 2011. In 2011, I was awarded a featured review in the magazine ARTisSpectrum by the Chelsea International Fine Art Competition, juried by Elizabeth Sherman, curatorial assistant at The Whitney Museum of American Art. I am currently teaching classes in oil painting in The Islip Art Museum in Islip, New York.