Maria DeFranco, Artist and Architect
Born in Cleveland ,Ohio
Studied at Philadelphia College of Art (PCA)
Majored in Sculpture at PCA. studied under Raphael Ferrar
Majored in Environmental Design
Graduated with a Bachelor of Art in Environmental Design
Studied Architecture at Southern California Institute of Architecture
Graduated with a Bachelor of Art in Architecture
Licensed as an Architect in New York State.
Currently practicing Architecture, light commercial and residential
See DeFrancodesign.com for Architectural portfolio
Woodstock School of Art. Studied figurative Clay Sculpture under Trisha Cline
1971-1976 Group student shows in Philadelphia
2007 Group Show Catskill Art Supply
2009 Woodstock Artists Association and Museum juried Group Show (WAAM)
2016 Art Society of Kingston (ASK) Juried Show Displayed “The Book Man”
The Book Man’s Maker, Maria DeFranco
I make Art. I am compelled to make art, and in times of my life when I have made space to answer this
calling, I achieve the most satisfaction.
Each project of mine is different, but they all start with an inkling of an idea that keeps popping into my
consciousness. Especially in the early dawn hours, my subconscious mind has free reign and is active
harvesting big concepts just under the surface. Eventually, the idea becomes a jolt and I am off and
running. My creative journey is fed by a passion for expressing and uncovering the treasure within me.
Everything else in my life becomes secondary.
Where did The Book Man Come from? Was it influenced from my upbringing in Cleveland, Ohio in the
50’s and 60’s? Is this sculpted, young philosopher a friend of the students who were shot down at Kent
State, just 20 minutes from where I grew up? Or could its roots be traced to my summers working as a
“scale girl” at a sand and gravel pit? (When no one was around, I worked on art projects out in the
excavated lunar landscape). Or was The Book Man influenced by the hours I spent reading Beat Poets
in The tiny Keisergloff’s Book Store in downtown Cleveland?
Perhaps The Book Man met The Lady of the Night sculpture I made. This piece was a 6 feet tall woman’s
form and culminated with her being set on fire under a starry sky, letting the smoke carry her tale to the
4 corners on the earth.
Philadelphia College of Art became a laboratory for my artistic growth in the early 70’s. My sculptures
became environmental and encapsulated large areas you could walk through. Often, these spaces were
defined with stretched plastic sheathing over rebar, the floor containing pits of dry ice filling the
enclosure with cool smoke. Later, my interest in the built environment led me to Architecture which
I studied and attained my degree at Southern California Institute of Architecture in 1981.
The Book Man was not front and center during this time of my life but surfaces when I moved to
Woodstock, New York. It was here that I married and raised two boys, two horses, and the requisite dogs
and cats through the years. This is where I launched my architecture career and felt stimulated working
on my own designs- making time in between clients to sculpt and immerse myself in Woodstock’s artistic
The Book Man began as a character you might see sitting around a campfire, exchanging stories with
friends late at night. I envision him as a casual and friendly soul- someone with a story to tell. As he
begins to talk, his mind becomes an open book, sharing his thoughts and imaginings. The message of
the books he is sitting on, somehow find their way into his brain.
The Book Man is a reminder that, in the digital age, books are tangible vessels of knowledge and truth.
It is “Slow Art”, meant to be shared both viscerally and personally, one open mind at a time.