Al Garnto was born on July 6, 1968 and is a native of Blairsville Georgia. His interest in art began during early childhood when his mother taught him how to draw. By the age of four, he was mimicking her drawing techniques and by his pre-teens his outstanding drawing ability was gaining notice.
Failing in almost everything except art, music, and physical education, Al was expelled from the local school system at the age of fifteen. Officials at that time stated that Garnto's inability to learn the fundamentals and his extreme amount of energy were causing a disturbance that kept the other students from learning.
Al spent the next several years studying for his G.E.D with hopes of going on to college to study art. Garnto earned his diploma in 1990 and then in 1992 was accepted into Young Harris College as an art major.
Garnto was at the top of his art classes but was failing every other academic course. Justine Wallace, a professor at YHC, recognized that Garnto had some sort of learning problem but by law was unable to help without an official diagnosis.
Garnto says, "I felt my legs were being kicked out from under me once again. I had tried everything I could think of to further my education for years and this time I didn't feel like getting back up, but by the grace of God a way was found to pay for testing. These tests helped change the course of my life. The faculty members at YHC were not surprised when the test results came back with diagnosis of a rare from of dyslexia."
Dick Aunspaugh, a professor of art at Young Harris College, says, "Al is very talented in visual arts creativity. What impresses me the most is his enthusiasm, energy, and love of art. His art spirit combined with his drawing and painting talents have led to some outstanding creative art work."
Garnto adds, "The dyslexia diagnosis allowed me to understand for the first time that my brain processed information differently than the rest of the population. Since we now knew what the issue was, the college faculty was able to develop ways to help me understand my course work. I was able to learn despite my learning difference. By the end of 1993 I had brought my grade point average up to a 4.0. That same year I received several awards for my paintings and sculptures. I was named to the Deans List, and was presented with a Presidential Scholarship to The Atlanta College of Art. Finally my dream was becoming a reality."
Al continues, "If this learning difference sounds like someone you know, please get them some help. It can change the course of their life. People with any learning difference should keep hoping and never give up on their dreams. To this day I still struggle with dyslexia but I never give up."
After studying at The Atlanta College of Art, Al Garnto returned to his hometown of Blairsville Georgia, and in 1994 he opened his own business - the Al Garnto Fine Art Studio. Al says, " I have made my living for the past 19 years from my art. My art is collected by people throughout the southeast, mainly through long-standing clients, gallery referrals, and art shows. In closing, I would like to say thanks to those of you who took time to read my bio and to visit my website. I appreciate your patience. For more information please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am constantly reviewing new paths for my art and would like to hear your comments and suggestions."