Lila Graves was born in Alexander City, Alabama. Growing up with the furniture business her father owned, she was influenced by the craftsmanship. This can be seen in the weighty, three dimensional wooden carvings she has created in the past. (bio continued below)
When a friend suggested she exhibit at the Kentuck Festival, Lila applied and immediately felt at home among the other artists there. Though trained in studio art, her style changed after her struggle with cancer. Since then her work has been successful in bridging the gap between trained and self taught art.
Bio adapted from William Andrews
When Lila was twenty-six, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer- melanoma. She was given a brief life expectancy. With little time left, Lila embarked on a spiritual and physical journey. A wandering to San Miguel, Mexico that resulted in visitors seeing a young woman painting on the streets, while wearing a set of angel’s wings worn like a backpack.
Lila’s logic was that if she was supposed to die and become an angel in Heaven, then perhaps Lila-as-angel could live here on earth for a while longer. She treated each work of art as if it were her last. So one day, in San Miguel, Lila woke up. The next day she woke up again and then kept on waking up, not dying, for days after, that turned into weeks. In a supreme moment of self-awareness, Lila knew that she had painted herself well.