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Deborah Kerner was born in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. 1950

She lives and works in Ojai, California. 

Read Deborah's published poems on her poetry page:

See the Cave & Rock Art Talk, April 2021, with Deborah Kerner & Richard Waxberg

on Youtube, part of the Ojai Institute's "Travel with Artists" series 

This virtual event was produced for the exhibition Cave Painting, Painted Cave.

A talk with pictures focusing on Cave and Rock Art that Deborah and Richard

have seen and studied around the world from the American Southwest to India.


2020-2021: The Gallery at Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, California, in partnership with

the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation & the Ojai Institute. Cave Painting, Painted Cave.

Group Show. Oil Paintings & Works on Paper.

2019 May-June: Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation / Ojai Institute, Ojai, California.

Group Show, Creative Community Thomas Fire Recovery Exhibition. Oil Painting.


2018 March: Porch Gallery, Ojai, California.

Group Show for the Thomas Fire Artist Recovery. Collage on paper.


1996: Susan Berke Fine Art Gallery, New York City. 

One Person Show. Bodies Out of Time. Hand-painted and hand-burnished linoprint series.


1995-2000: Susan Berke Fine Art Gallery, New York City. Group Shows.

Oil Paintings on Canvas, linoprints & drawings.


1993-1994: Rishi Valley School, Andhra Pradesh, India. One Person Shows.

Linoprints, drawings & water colors.


1986-1988: Alternative Art Space, Queens, New York. Group shows.

Oil Paintings of suspended natural objects.

Open Studio Space

Continues showing her work in her studio to the art community where she lives. 

2005-Present: Ojai, California. Oil paintings on canvas, collages & works on paper.

2003-2004: Silver City, New Mexico. Oil paintings & drawings.  

1979-1991: New York City. Oil paintings & drawings.

Published Poetry

Nominated for Best of the Net 2021: Tree Woman

Included in the Best of Lit Shark Magazine 2023: Turtle Spring

Her poems have been published in the following poetry journals:

Bluepepper / Mad Swirl / Rabid Oak / Ariel Chart / Synchronized Chaos /

Three Line Poetry / Ibbetson Street / Lit Shark

Book Designer 

1980-2013 & 2021-2022: Deborah has had an illustrious career as a book designer

designing books for a distinguished list of clients. 

Clients: Random House, Crown, Penguin Putnam, Doubleday, Simon & Schuster, Pantheon,

Villard, Ten Speed Press, Harvard Common Press, John Wiley & Sons, St. Martins Press,

Riverhead Books, Hyperion, HarperCollins, William Morrow

A Selection of Books designed by Deborah

Marie Antoinette by Lady Antonia Fraser, Nan Talese / Doubleday

The Golden Age, novel by Gore Vidal, Doubleday

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, Villard / Random House

Simply Tuscan by Pino Luongo, Doubleday

The Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby, Tarcher / Penguin Putnam 

As well as books by Thich Nhat Hanh, Paul Newman, James Reston Jr, Eileen Yin-Fei Lo

& many other distinguished authors

Teacher / Facilitator 

2005-Present: Deborah and her husband direct and facilitate week-long retreats called

Explorations into Freedom for the Krishnamurti Center in Ojai, California, focusing on

the potential for a transformation of human consciousness.

1993-1994: The Rishi Valley School, a J. Krishnamurti school, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Deborah taught art and ceramic sculpture to high school students.

After a period of deep inner reflection while studying the teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti in Ojai, California, Deborah and her husband were invited to live and teach at the school for one year.

She continued her art practice with a series of linoprints and exhibited her work at the school.



Deborah considers herself an autodidact, having designed and organized her own educational trajectory which includes first-hand studies of world art forms, past and present.  

1980-1992: Shamanic Studies. Oregon, Nevada, New Hampshire and upstate New York.

Along with her husband, studies Native American shamanistic culture for 12 years. Together they seek out several elders including Cherokee elder Rolling Thunder and Lakota elder Wallace Black Elk,

with whom they enter into spiritual studies and ceremonies. This work introduces a new and profound understanding into the sacred relationship with nature that makes a dramatic impact on the way

she perceives the world, eventually expressing itself in her artistic practice.

1983: The New York School of Applied Design, New York City. Etching studies. 

1973-1976: Studies photography with Life Magazine photojournalist, W. Eugene Smith, and innovative theater and dance photographer, Max Waldman, in their downtown New York City studios.

Learns to print black and white archival museum-quality photographic prints. Assists with Waldman's photo shoots with, among others, dancer Merce Cunningham, French mime Marcel Marceau, ballet dancers from the New York City Ballet, and Jerzy Grotowski's avant-garde Polish Theater.

1969-1974: Works as an assistant with 2 highly respected and innovative New York City fashion designers, Halston and Giorgio Sant’Angelo.

Learns to design accessories, to work directly with industry manufacturers, and to execute the many skills involved in maintaining these 2 cutting-edge fashion houses in the epicenter of the New York City fashion world. Organizes fashion shows and the designers' schedules.

1968-69: Brooklyn Museum Art School & The New School, NYC. Studies painting & life drawing.

The Merce Cunningham Dance Studio, NYC. Studies & practices modern dance.

1965-68: The Masters School, Dobbs Ferry, New York. Graduates with honors in Art.

For high school years, attends a boarding school along the Hudson River which encourages her

to focus on painting, poetry and modern dance. Experiments with different styles of expression in painting and sculpture. Regular field trips by bus into New York City include frequent visits to the MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, establishing a love affair with the entire history of art

that continues as a lifetime source of inspiration. Writes poetry and publishes in the school poetry magazine. Practices modern dance, and for a short time, considers entering the field.


Ongoing: Expands her artistic practice with new thematic series of paintings, works on paper,

and collage. Her artistic practice also includes the profound inspiration she receives from the unique forms found in nature on frequent walks and hikes. She continues writing poetry exploring the

mystery of the written word.

2004: Moves west to Ojai, California to experience the unique light, the mountains of the area

and the nearby seacoast.

2003-2004: Lives and works in Silver City, New Mexico studying Native American Art including

the Mimbres whose culture was located in a valley near Silver City.

1996-1999: Moves to rural western upstate New Jersey with her husband. Lives on a 300 acre property allowing a deep immersion into painting and creating works on paper inspired by the beauties and mystery of the natural world.   

1994: Returns to the US. Moves to Red Bank, New Jersey, and begins a major series of linoprints. Continues painting and drawing.

1993-1994: A year at the Rishi Valley School, Andhra Pradesh, southern India. Teaching. 

1992: Leaves New York City with her husband, driving across country and spending a year in Ojai, California, where they both study in-depth the work of philosopher J.Krishnamurti and enter into frequent philosophical and dialogical discourses.

1984-1989: Each summer drives from New York City with her husband to the American Southwest

to study the Rock Art of the early Native American cultures that lived and thrived there.

Long hikes into the canyons take them into visionary Shamanistic worlds depicting alternative perceptual realities. These vast, extraordinary spaces are deeply moving. A new understanding of how closely the early peoples lived in harmony with the earth.

1980-2013: Book design. Her work designing books extends her range of esthetic expression

into this graphic medium.

1979: Marries artist Richard Waxberg in October.

1978: Along with her future husband, artist Richard Waxberg, moves into an apartment in

New York City that gives ample studio space for painting, ceramic sculpture and drawing.

1969: Moves to New York City. Visits New York art galleries and museums frequently,

providing a comprehensive overview of both contemporary and historical art.

1952-1968: Grows up on Long Island, New York. Her grandfather, Howard Swiggett, a popular writer of fiction and history in the 1950s, tells fanciful stories captivating her attention and lighting a flame that nurtures her passion for personal expression. At the age of 6, two framed prints of paintings

by Vermeer, Woman with a Pearl Necklace and Lady Standing at a Virginal hanging in her grandfather’s house, ignite her feeling for art and painting.


Extensive Travels & Studies Worldwide

1969-Present: As part of her artistic practice, travels to many major art centers and cities around

the world to study art, both contemporary and historical, as well as indigenous art forms,

architecture, textiles and other related artistic expressions.

2012 & 2013: Britain. Ancient monolithic sites and early churches. 

2008: Paris, France. Picasso and the Masters, a major show at the Grand Palais, includes important artists of the past whom Picasso based many of his paintings on. Visits Chartres Cathedral and other major museums in Paris.  • 1994: Japan. The screens of the Edo period and a myriad of Japanese art forms.  • 1993-1994: India and Thailand. Varied art forms unique to these countries: temples, sculptures, paintings, indigenous art forms and textiles. The natural beauty of the people and the landscapes.  • 1984-1989: American Southwest. Many styles of Native American Rock Art found deep in the canyons of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.  

1980: Guatemala and the Yucatan, Mexico. The art, sculpture and architecture of the Mayan and Olmec cultures.  • 1975-1976: India and Nepal. Miniature painting, textiles, temple art, sculpture and architecture.  • 1969-2016: Europe. Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, England, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Greece, Czech Republic, Turkey. Greek & Roman; Romanesque & Gothic art; Italian fresco painting; Renaissance; major artists of the 17th through the 20th century; Turkey, Seljuk, Hittite, Persian, Ottoman & Byzantine art forms; art centers & museums. Contemporary Art.

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