Born Ann Graves in the Homewood community of Pittsburgh, Ann became interested in art at an early age. She graduated from South Hills High School in 1952 and went on to study at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) and earn a BFA. She married fellow Homewood native, John Tanksley and they moved to Brooklyn, NY. Tanksley began raising her family before returning to study at the Art Students League, the New School for Social Research (Greenwich Village), and also at Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop.
Tanksley was an early member of Where We At: Black Women Artists, Inc., a women’s art collective based in New York. She exhibited at the 1972 show, Cookin’ and Smokin’ , at the Weusi-Nyumba Ya Sanaa Gallery in Harlem. “She uses a glazing technique incorporated with charcoal lines, which enhances a sense of spontaneity and humor.” (Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists , King-Hammond, 1995)
Her work is included in the collections of the Johnson Publishing Company (dispersed), Studio Museum in Harlem, national Museum of Women in the Arts, the Hewitt Collection, among others.
Tanksley grew up in Pittsburgh and earned her BFA at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (1956); she also attended the Art Students’ League, Parsons School of Design and Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop (all in NYC).