Exuding Emotion and Self-Discovery


SUNY New Paltz alumna Laianna Ferruggia said her interest in art began when she was growing up in New Paltz.

“My mom was a single mom and she would take me to work with her at Rhino Records. I would sit in Rhino drawing for hours,” said Ferruggia, the granddaughter of Rhino Records’ owner Steve Ferber. “I was very young, but already I knew that art was one of the few things I loved.”

After graduating in 2011, Ferruggia began her journey to become a successful freelance artist. She hopes to make a career out of what she loves.

Born in Southern California, Ferruggia moved to New Paltz at the age of two. She attended New Paltz Central High School and took basic art classes. She said she knew, even then, drawing was her forte. Ferruggia went on to major in drawing at Dutchess Community College (DCC).

Ferruggia was awarded the Karen Lee Knapp Memorial scholarship from DCC and in 2008, her art was featured in the Best of SUNY Student Art Exhibition. She continued her education at SUNY New Paltz on full scholarship, completing a Bachelor of Science in visual arts with a concentration in drawing and painting.


In the summer of 2010, Ferruggia studied Plein Air painting and European Art History in France. Plein Air is a French expression, which means “in the open air” and is used to describe the act of painting outdoors.

“It was such an enriching experience. I am so grateful I was able to participate in the program,” she said.

Since then, Ferruggia’s work has been shown in two exhibits at the Unframed Artists Gallery and several exhibitions at galleries in Chelsea in New York City. More recently, she displayed her work at Celebration of the Arts on Oct. 10. Her work is currently on display at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, where she is a server.

Ferruggia said her art exudes the depth of emotions and self-discovery.

“My art is about getting in touch with what’s inside of me. I have always been very interested in faces. There’s so much that can be said with a facial expression. I like to mix those human elements with elements of nature,” she said.

Ferruggia continues to enrich her knowledge of art by taking art classes with Andrew Lattimore in Cornwall, NY.

“I’m not sure where I want to be, but I know I want to travel and spread my art,” she said. “There’s so much that I want to see. I want to be involved with things I really believe in like sustainable, local foods. I don’t know what’s next but I’m excited for whatever it may be.”

More of Ferruggia’s artwork can be seen at www.laiannaferruggia.com.