Deanna Fainelli’s ‘Instagood’ Wins Grant to ‘Keep Art Alive’

In March, artist Deanna Fainelli relocated her studio from downtown Indio to a makeshift space in the gardening shed at her home in Palm Desert. “With limited supplies, I was forced to rethink my creative process,” she says. “Under normal circumstances, my work focused on urban scenes handprinted over abstract mixed-media surfaces. I decided this time in isolation is the perfect opportunity to explore other techniques and subjects.”

Fainelli turned to Instagram for inspiration and became fascinated by selfie culture and the hegemony of social media for human connection during the COVID-19 pandemic — and then drew from what she knows best: “Texture, composition, and color make emotional connections that remind us to be more aware of our surroundings, to look up and enjoying every-day experiences,” she says.

The result is Instagood, a mixed-media self-portrait that combines blind contour drawing techniques and layered backgrounds. The painting earned Fainelli a $500 “Keep Art Alive” grant from the California Desert Arts Council (CDAC).

CDAC and affiliate La Quinta Arts Foundation established a $50,000 Keep Art Alive fund to award grants to Coachella Valley artists and arts organizations who create thoughtful, inspiring, and relevant works responding to the crisis.

Visit Deanna Fainelli online at