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Alan Urban

Born in Chicago, IL 

Lives and works in Key Largo, FL


Artist's Statement: Be an Explorer

My work is driven by two equal passions. First, experimentation and exploration. The continual search and discovery that, for me, keeps art fresh, exciting, and vital. Secondly, to investigate that illusive place between chaotic random mark-making and viable fine art, hopefully resulting in not only consequential mark making, but also making a meaningful mark!

When I was younger and just starting out people would ask what I did, and I would say I’m a painter.  They would then ask for an estimate to paint their house!  So I changed from saying painter to artist.  But I quickly found out that everyone is (or can be) an artist. Authors, musicians, actors, and more—anyone in a creative endeavor could be an artist.  So I still had explaining to do.

My father was an inventor and my mother was a hair dresser both owned their own businesses and were very entrepreneurial and successful.


The family tree included my grandmother who was a fashion designer and dressmaker to the Royal House of Austria and my grandfather who was a furrier.  After emigrating from Czechoslovakia to America, they both worked for Blums Vogue in Chicago in the 1930’s.  And along with a possible rogue or two, the family tree included a mix of designers and artists among the rustling leaves.

My career has always revolved around art and design.  I studied Fine Art and received a BFA from the University of South Florida after earning an AA from Miami Dade College. 

With a minor in Journalism and Design and a major in Fine Art, I went to work for The St. Petersburg Times as an Art Director while working on my fine art on weekends and at night.  In 1975 after several years with the newspaper, I started my own graphic design firm in Miami.

Urban, Taylor & Associates was successful.  I had large, prestigious clients and the work garnered lots of national recognition and awards.  It was a good living for a guy who loved creating and had a young family.  But the fine art kept getting squeezed and the frustrations grew—I wanted to do art for myself—full time! But how to switch gears?

And then BANG!  No, BIG BANG!!  Hurricane Andrew roared through and destroyed Urban, Taylor & Associates, my house, my parents house and most everything else between Kendall in South Florida and North Key Largo.

I decided not to rebuild the design firm and started making fine art full time.  On a side note, having a wife with a successful career didn't hurt.

And so here I am, after all these years, still searching, inventing, making, drawing, painting, seeking, discovering, and experimenting. I can’t stop.  You see—I’m an explorer.  And for explorers there is no End Game!

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