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Born in 1956, Doug Safranek was raised in Spokane, Washington. He eventually went east to attend Boston College, and afterwards pursued his Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Two of his professors at Madison, John Wilde and James Watrous, proved crucial to the development of his art. Wilde introduced him to the painstaking process of egg tempera, a medium of egg yolk mixed with dried pigment and whose execution requires very fine brushstrokes; Watrous, who had known the American Regionalist painters of the 1930s, gave Doug Safranek pigments which had belonged to Regionalist masters Thomas Hart Benton and John Steuart Curry. Though Benton’s and Curry’s focus was almost exclusively rural, when using their pigments Doug Safranek felt kinship with these artists, who, like himself, not only found intimate narratives within a vast environment but who remained faithful to Realism at a time when Modernism and abstraction were dominant.
Doug Safranek has been honored with several awards including Montreal’s Elizabeth Greenshield Grant, New York City’s E. D. Foundation Award, the Gold Medal of Honor from the National Arts Club, among others. His work is represented in important collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of the City of New York, New-York Historical Society, Frye Museum of Art in Seattle and the Arkansas Arts Center, among many others.
Doug Safranek lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.