lela altman

i grew up a southern girl from a smallish town, desperate to get away and find adventure. i absorbed glossy page after glossy page of fashion magazines and daydreamed of all things beautiful. i sketched elaborate dresses, willing them to be real so i could change out of my hand-me-downs. this passion led me to study fashion design and fine art at virginia tech. after graduating, i drove up to new york city with a portfolio, a tiny amount of money in my wallet, wearing clothing i had made for myself.

i found design jobs with small companies and then came the holy grail: master of minimalism, calvin klein. working under his vision was the realization of all my childhood fantasies. for design inspiration, i visited the moma, whitney, and my personal favorite, dia.  i began to paint in my tiny apartment. on canvas i could work on my own artistic vision; inspired by, though not bound to, the parameters of my mentors.

now, residing in nashville, i am proud to be a member of this incredibly creative community.

in the past few years, i have focused on three collections. "smoke", "bleed" and "new york". the smoke paintings are about emotion. the emotion i've put into the piece, the emotion the viewer feels. the bleed paintings are an examination of harmony and discord, imperfection and its inherent beauty. i juxtapose the quest for perfection coupled with the realization that imperfection is lovelier.  the "new york" works tackle specific events, places and people inherent to my time in new york.