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UW-Madison alum and artist Falana profiled by Tallahassee Democrat newspaper

December 28, 2018

After working as an artist and art educator for almost 60 years, UW-Madison alumnus Kenneth Falana is as engaged in his artwork as ever he tells the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper.

Although Falana’s education was initially rooted in biology, he tells the newspaper that he later decided to dedicate his life to his first love, art. Falana says about his transition from the sciences to the arts, “when I switched from biology to art, those professors opened up a window for me and what I wanted to do. Before I always looked into the building through the window, but with them I learned how to step through the door and begin creating what I felt inside.”

In 1972, Falana received his master of fine arts degree from the School of Education’s Art Department. He went on to be a printmaking professor at Florida A&M University, retiring in 2011. 

Despite his retirement, Falana reports that he “can’t stop.” He tells the Tallahassee Democrat that he often is awake at three or four in the morning, working on multiple pieces at a time. He has even created his own technique, silkscreen construction collage. He cuts and collages his own prints and papers he paints with color inks to create large-scale abstractions. 

Falana’s works often reflect political messages and even lessons he sets for his own students. In fact, most of his early work was developed from his own teaching lessons. He would give his students a visual problem, allow them to work on it, lead critiques, and the share the pieces he created to solve it. He also includes imagery that the reflect on his time marching, demonstrating, and observing the civil rights movement. 

Falana says he finds a feeling of freedom in his work. Currently, Falana is working on pieces that display his feelings towards the environment and global warming. He will also be exhibiting his work to celebrate six decades of his work. The exhibition is aptly named “Kenneth Falana: Six Decades” and will showcase his newer work as well as his old constructions. 

Read more about Falana’s work and his upcoming exhibition here