artists
katey rafanello

Katey Rafanello was born in Colt’s Neck, New Jersey in 1973. Raised just north of Chicago in a suburban community, Katey began to draw and paint around the age of eight. It wasn't until she drew a portrait of a schoolmate from her fourth grade class that anyone had noticed her natural ability to communicate visually. Shortly after beginning high school at New Trier, she transferred (following the suggestion of her art teachers) to The Chicago Academy of the Arts, a private visual arts high school in Chicago's West Loop. There she studied in the visual arts department until 1990. She later received her BFA with honors from the San Francisco Art Institute where she studied painting and drawing from Franklin Williams, Sam Tchakalian, Inez Storer and Carlos Villa. It was during this time that Katey developed her style, sharpened her drawing and painting skills and began her endeavor to communicate her own vision of the human experience truthfully, sometimes in an edgy bold manner, sometimes in a serene calm way. Her work is both paradoxical in its physicality and content. There is often a subtle humor and a seriousness sensed in Katey's work. Katey has a passion for the creative process and the mediums she uses (oil paint, soft pastel, colored pencil and charcoal). Her work is representational and her imagery is narrative yet definitely influenced by her study with the Bay Area abstract expressionists. Some of Katey's influences include Frida Kahlo, Max Ernst, Otto Dix, Francis Bacon, Jeff Koons and Pablo Picasso.

Katey began to show her drawing and painting and conceptual/performance work professionally in the gallery setting in 1994 around the Bay Area and later went on to show in several cities throughout the United States. Her work has gained significant attention in art publications in the U.S. as well as Canada—publications include the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the Chicago Reader, Juxtaposed, Bikini, Projector and D’Art International. She currently lives in the Chicago area with her dog Ralph and continues to seek truth through creating art.

Katey is currently represented by Studio b. Gallery.


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