About Barbara

Barbara Rachko is an American contemporary artist, blogger, author, and subject of a multi-award-winning documentary.  She is based in New York City and is best known for her remarkable pastel-on-sandpaper paintings.  She is represented by galleries in London, Sweden, India, and the United States.  She is a member of the International Visual Association of Visual Artists. 

Barbara uses her large collection of Mexican and Guatemalan folk art – masks, carved wooden animals, papier-mâché figures, and toys – to create one-of-a-kind pastel-on-sandpaper paintings that combine reality and fantasy and depict personal narratives. In 2017 she began work on a series called, Bolivianos, using as source material her stunning photographs of a mask exhibition at the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore in La Paz. Her pastel paintings are bold, striking, and powerful. For more than three decades, she has been “Revolutionizing Pastel as Fine Art!”


Barbara Rachko: True Grit, a recent short documentary, tells the inspiring story of a Master Pastel Artist who overcame gender barriers and a deep tragic loss to forge a path that is uniquely her own. It was filmed in Arizona, New Mexico, Virginia, New Jersey, and New York City. The World Premier was on Oct. 14, 2023 at the 2023 Newport Beach Film Festival, where the film won both the Audience Award and Best in Category for Art, Architecture, and Design. The 14-minute documentary is available on YouTube, @BarbaraRachko, and if you are interested in viewing, the link is below. 

Apricus Art Collection, while promoting her documentary, said, “Barbara Rachko’s art is a mesmerizing fusion of pastel and photography, creating striking and thought-provoking images that resonate with viewers on a profound level. Her work has been celebrated for its ability to evoke emotion, stimulate the imagination, and inspire creativity. Through her art, Barbara has touched the hearts and minds of countless individuals.” 


Cultured Focus Magazine recently said, “Barbara Rachko is making industry waves.  She is a modern-day Renaissance woman, seamlessly blending her talents as a visual artist, author, and expert in Mexican and Guatemalan folk art. Her work serves as a captivating intersection where creativity and culture collide, creating a vibrant tapestry of artistic expression.”


.ART domains says, “Barbara Rachko is truly my art (and human) discovery of 2024!


About Barbara Rachko: True Grit Larry Baumhor, photographer and writer, says, “Barbara Rachko is a genuine Renaissance woman who exudes her art through cosmic waves of expression; in the way she speaks, in what she believes, her passion for life, and her willingness to risk it all. You are drawn into her world with her soft pastels, her acute mind, profound feelings, and her uncanny ability to give of herself. Take a fifteen-minute journey and you decide.”


Artist Yvonne Butler says, “I just watched Barbara Rachko: True Grit on YouTube and I am truly gobsmacked, in a good way.  I have no words at the moment.  I need some time to ponder and collect my thoughts of the art itself, Barbara Rachko’s words, her path to art genius, the medium, the figures, the colors, Mexico, art collector words, and more.  Brilliant, extraordinary, timeless beauty.  Wow, wow, for now.  If you have not watched this superbly executed video, get that popcorn and get to it.”