Love Letter to Frank Paletta

A white face is smudged out, its features erased by thick grey brushstrokes, against a mud green background.
Frank Paletta, Flowers of Evil, 2021. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

LA-based, multi-disciplinary artist Frank Paletta’s abstract work in oil contemplates the complexities of living with the physical limitations of his body, as an ambulatory paraplegic. His deeply personal paintings capture his experience as an artist who is disabled in the United States.

Anyone watching Paletta paint becomes acutely aware of the sheer athleticism it takes to create his work. As he stands before a large blank canvas, Frank steadies himself by continuously moving, even while standing still—a motion so fluid that the determination of his art making might be confused for a dance.

For Frank, art making is an essential part of living. He is always on the hunt for light and color and keeps a close eye on the world around him for signs of hope and perseverance—moments that infuse his canvases and inform his surprisingly buoyant worldview. I write these words days after the close of his first solo show at BG Gallery in Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, surrounded on all sides by the supplies it takes to make his day run smoothly: brushes and bottles, buckets of rags, gym bag of swimming and jiu jitsu gear, his sweet disabled dog, Ruby, his wrist splints and his canes.


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