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www.sandrolaferla.com                 sandro@sandrolaferla.com

Sandro La Ferla, born in 1941 in Torino, Italy, received a degree in set design from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome (1965). A Fulbright student at the University of Oklahoma, he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Drama (1967).

He began his career in Rome designing sets for classical theater plays, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Pelican by Strindberg, and Ivanov by Chekov. He returned to the United States in 1969 to be the resident designer at the Virginia Museum Theatre. In 1970 he became resident designer at the Goodman Theatre and School of Drama within the Chicago Art Institute, where he also taught theater rendering techniques and perspective.

In 1973 he began a collaboration with composer director Gian Carlo Menotti, designing sets and costumes for the ballet Sebastian with the Harkness Ballet in New York, and for the composer’s premiere of the opera Tamu-Tamu in Chicago and again at the Spoleto Festival, in Italy in 1974. In the same year he designed sets and costumes for The Medium and The Consul in Tokyo and for a Menotti-directed production of Le Coq d’Or by Rimsky-Korsakov in Trieste.

Design engagements kept him busy both in the United States and Europe. They included Mavra by Stravinsky at the Teatro Comunale di Firenze, Saturday, Sunday and Monday by Eduardo De Filippo at the Asolo State Theatre in Sarasota, Florida, Actus III by Azio Corghi at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, La Villeggiatura a play trilogy by Carlo Goldoni for the Toneelgroep Theater in Arnhem, Holland, and Galileo by Bertolt Brecht for The Pittsburgh Public Theatre in 1980. Throughout this 10-year period, he also taught a 4-6 week workshop in set design and painting at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal.

A search for more personal forms of expression during the 1980s and 1990s led Sandro to evolve his set design experience into a career painting backdrops for photographers and running a successful commercial studio. He produced his 12-by-20-foot works by painting on a canvas that was stretched on the floor of his studio, using long brushes - a method familiar from scene painting.

Sandro has painted continuously throughout his design career, working on renderings, full size scenery backdrops and sketches in oil and gouache. But, during the past half dozen years his interest in purer art forms took center stage. That intensifying interest impelled him to take on the challenge of watercolor painting, a medium so spontaneous that it requires swift decisions, and so fragile that its delicate transparency can be spoiled by seconds of overwork. His watercolors have won several prizes and awards in shows at The Salmagundi Club, and he had a much-acclaimed one-man show at Spring Studio in New York in 2010.

Using an alla prima technique, Sandro seeks the most direct connection between the artist’s heart and and hand. “This is a job without a security net,” he says. “When you paint in watercolors you appeal to all the senses with the same immediacy as a musician in front of his audience.” He prefers open-air painting, working within the constraints of time and shifting light. He can often be found painting the architecture of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice and of the Old Customs House in downtown Manhattan, or painting the human form at various art studios in New York City.