Barbara Rachko was born in Paterson, New Jersey and grew up in a New York City suburb. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in psychology. After college, Barbara earned a commercial pilot’s license and Boeing 727 flight engineer’s certificate, then spent seven years on active duty as a Naval officer. In 1986 while working at the Pentagon, she began to study figure drawing and medical anatomy, and began many long years of developing her craft. Barbara subsequently resigned from active duty (but remained in the Navy Reserve and retired as a Commander) to devote herself to making art. On 9/11 Barbara s life was changed forever when her husband, Dr. Bryan C. Jack, was killed in the plane that hit the Pentagon.
Today Barbara divides her time between residences in New York and Alexandria, Virginia.
Barbara enjoys a busy career as a professional artist using soft pastels. Her art is vibrant, unique, and inspired by Mexican and Guatemalan cultural objects—masks, carved wooden animals, paper mâché figures, and toys.
“On trips to southern Mexico and Guatemala I frequent local mask shops, markets, and bazaars searching for the figures that will later populate my pastel paintings and photographs. How, why, when, and where these objects come into my life is an important part of the process. I take very old objects with a unique Mexican or Guatemalan past—most have been used in religious festivals—and give them a second life, so to speak, in New York in the present.”
Barbara is represented by six galleries throughout the United States, exhibits nationally and internationally, and continues to win accolades, including completion of Ajira’s Emerge 2000 business program for artists, a 2008 – 2009 Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation award, and grants from the Templar Trust in Lichtenstein. Barbara recently published “From Pilot to Painter” on Amazon at: http://amzn.to/1lTfH8L. This includes exceptional highlights from her blog, barbararachkoscoloreddust.com. It is part autobiography, including how Barbara overcame losing her husband on 9/11, plus includes remarkable insights into sustaining a creative practice and living an extraordinary life.