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School of Fine Art

Faculty

Craig Nelson
Craig Nelson
Director of Undergraduate School of Fine Art – Printmaking, Co-Director of Graduate School of Fine Art – Painting

For over 30 years, Craig has been depicting figures, landscapes, CA coastal paintings and various environments in rich, vibrant oils. He has painted countless movie posters, many book covers, and album covers. Some of his most prestigious works have been his Broadway production posters for Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers and Proposals, both originals are in the private collection of Neil Simon. During his illustrious career, Craig has won over 200 awards of excellence in various shows, five gold metals, four silver metals, and in 1996, a painting of his was chosen for the Communication Arts Annual cover.

Carolyn Meyer
Carolyn Meyer
Co-Director of Graduate School of Fine Art – Painting, Associate Director of Undergraduate School of Fine Art

Carolyn Meyer is also a full time faculty member teaching Landscape painting and Abstract painting classes. Her career began as an art director for an advertising agency in San Francisco. She was one of the founding principles of Paris Printing, a large size printing Company in Northern California. She received both her BFA and MFA from Academy of Art University. Her work as a professional artist is a cross between realism and abstraction. You may see her work at ArtHaus, William Lester Gallery and Hang Gallery in San Francisco as well as several others around the U.S.

Margaret Keelan
Margaret Keelan
Associate Director, School of Fine Art – Sculpture

Margaret Keelan received her BFA at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada and her MFA at the University of Utah. In 2003 she juried the California Clay Competition at the Artery in Davis, CA, and was invited to lecture on her latest work at the 2005 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts in Baltimore, 2007 CCACA, Davis California and at 2007 SOFA, New York. Recent exhibitions have included "Vanitas: Transient Treasures" at the Lacoste Gallery in Concord, MA and "Regina Clay: Worlds in the Making", traveling across Canada. Other venues have been in Chicago, New York, Santa Fe, Montana, and Pomona, as well as solo shows in St. Louis, MO and Seattle, WA. Her work can also be seen in "500 Figures in Clay: Ceramic Artists Celebrate the Human Form", "The Craft and Art of Clay", "Ceramics: Art and Perception", "Confrontational Ceramics" and "Ceramics Review" in England. Check out her website at www.margaretkeelan.com.

Carrie Ann Plank
Carrie Ann Plank
Associate Director, Printmaking

Carrie Ann Plank is a professional artist and educator. She is the Associate Director of Fine Arts for Printmaking MFA & BFA Program at the Academy of Art University. She has taught at the Academy in the graduate and undergraduate departments since 2002. Previously she has been a Professor of Fine Arts at the Pennsylvania State University, Xavier University, and the University of New Orleans. Carrie Ann received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking from East Carolina University and her Masters of Fine Arts in Printmaking from the Pennsylvania State University. Carrie Ann is active in the local arts community as a participant, juror, and volunteer, and is a board member of the California Society of Printmakers.

Carrie Ann exhibits locally, nationally, and internationally. She is included in private and public collections including the Fine Art Archives of the Library of Congress. Currently her work may be seen at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA and at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. Recent noteworthy shows include the National Museum of Fine Art in Taipei, Taiwan, Los Gatos Museum of Art, Los Gatos, CA, and a residency at Monte Azul, Costa Rica.

Lawrence Noble
Lawrence Noble
Chair of the School of Fine Art – Sculpture

Lawrence joined the University as a full-time Faculty member in August 2011.

Currently the owner of Noble Studio, a design and sculpture company founded in 1973, Noble originally earned an esteemed reputation as illustrator and designer of movie poster campaigns such as "Time After Time", "Flash Gordon", "Sharky's Machine" and "The Empire Strikes Back" (10th Anniversary Poster). Since then, Noble has devoted most of his talents toward sculpture, when in 1980 he was inspired by the diminutive Jedi Master Yoda from the "The Empire Strikes Back" to try his hand at sculpting. His efforts resulted in a small limited bronze of the character for the film's tenth anniversary in 1990.

Since that brush with the Force over three decades ago, Noble has evolved into a master sculptor, counting bronze installations of Civil War General Philip H. Sheridan in Chicago, The California Firefighters' Memorial, the San Bernardino County Peace Officers' Memorial, and a new life-size Yoda for Lucasfilm's Presidio headquarters in San Francisco among his many public commissions since 1990. Lucasfilm also commissioned three other life-size bronzes from Noble for their Presidio campus, including father of film Eadweard Muybridge, special effects pioneer Willis O'Brien, and television inventor Philo T. Farnsworth. A fourth commission of screen adventurer Indiana Jones is scheduled to be installed along with a second Yoda at a San Anselmo park in 2014. Finally, larger-than-life bronzes created by Noble include the 21-foot-tall Hampton, Virginia 400th Anniversary Monument as well as his Spirit of Achievement statue in Chino, CA, which is taller still at 27'.

Annamarie Nelson
Annamarie Nelson
Fine Art Coordinator for Online Education

Annamarie Nelson, also known as Anna, started teaching Still Life painting in 1992 for the summer Art Experience program at Academy of Art University and has been a member of the faculty ever since. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Italian Language and Literature, worked for the Italian Department at UCLA as well as various travel agencies acting as tour guide for students studying in Florence, Italy. She attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Ca as an illustration major and after 6 terms began accepting freelance work and commission paintings. Anna received the Patrick Nagel award for best unpublished painting at the Illustration West Show, Society of Illustrators in Los Angeles. Anna has participated in local shows and auctions and continues to exhibit at Garden Gallery in Half Moon Bay, Ca as well as special event shows. In collaboration with the Academy of Art, Anna was commissioned to paint two murals on "ING" benches that were auctioned off to benefit art in education. Anna continues to contribute work to the annual Academy of Art Faculty/Alumni auction to help raise scholarship money benefiting Academy students. She also acts as the Fine Art Coordinator for Online Education.

Peter Schifrin
Peter Schifrin
Full-Time Faculty, Sculpture

Mr. Schifrin has taught sculpture and drawing classes at the Academy since 1993. He received his BA from San Jose State University and his MFA from Boston University. He has received several large-scale public commissions, including bronze coyotes in downtown San Jose, the bronze Firefighter in San Ramon, and the nine-foot bronze Wounded Man for the city of San Mateo's Performing Arts Center. Although his background is in figurative and portrait sculpture, Peter now creates intimate and heroic-scale "Vertical Poems," which are stylized narrative totems in ceramic clay.

Valerie L. Winslow
Valerie L. Winslow
Full-Time Faculty, Anatomy Coordinator

Valerie L. Winslow is a professional fine artist exhibiting her paintings and drawings in museums and galleries nationwide since 1977. Her work has won numerous awards and is in many private collections.

Valerie has been teaching figurative art and artistic anatomy for over thirty years and has been with the Academy of Art University since 1989, where she is a Full-time Faculty Member and Anatomy Coordinator in the School of Fine Arts. Her artistic anatomy book “Classic Human Anatomy” was released nationally in 2008 by Watson Guptill Publications.

Tomutsu Takishima
Tomutsu Takishima
Full-Time Faculty, Painting

Tomutsu's work has been seen in many exhibitions in the bay area, including AAC, Romeo 5 Art Cafe, and Merced Multicultural Art Center. His awards include a 3rd place MFA Fine Art Painting Award from AAC, as well as a first award in oil from society of western artists national open show. Tomutsu received his BFA with distinction in Painting and Drawing from AAC in 1994, and received his MFA in Painting from AAC in 1998.

Brandon Smith
Brandon Smith
Full-Time Faculty, Painting

Brandon is a California native raised on the central coast, and is now residing in Oakland. Brandon is a traditional oil painter whose subject matter is primarily figurative. In addition he is known to paint street scenes, and the occasional still life and landscape. He began teaching for the Academy in 2003, and in 2008 became a full time faculty member of the Fine Art department. His paintings are represented by Grey McGear Modern in Santa Monica.

Kevin Moore
Kevin Moore
Full-Time Faculty, Painting

Kevin Moore was born in Rotterdam, Holland in 1976. His father's role as a missionary with the Church of the Nazarene took the Moore family to Kenya, South Africa, France and Zaire before settling in California. He has exhibited consistently in San Francisco and has works in collections in Italy and Denmark. Moore has been reviewed in ARTNEWS, American Art Collector and WHERE Magazines, and was selected as one of the top "21 under 31" emerging artists by Southwest Art Magazine in 2005. The artist lives and works in the Bay Area and is a full-time faculty member at Academy of Art University where he graduated in 2000.

Jennifer Almodova

Jennifer Almodova has been a faculty member at Academy of Art University since 1991. She has 25 years of experience as an exhibiting artist, visual designer and is an educator in design, color theory, painting and sculpture. Her watercolors are noted for their exquisite light, luminosity, color harmony and brush language. It is for these reasons that artists seek out Almodova’s private painting workshops in California, Hawaii, Italy and France. She considers teaching a privilege and exhibits internationally, with work hanging in collections across the United States, Europe and Asia. She received a first place award from the National Association of Printers and a Grant Award from the Sesnon Foundation. A partial listing of collectors include: the Bank of Tokyo, Pacific Bell, Bill Graham Presents, Ruth Asawa and the collection of Stephen DeStaebler.

Meri Brin

Meri Brin was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to the Bay Area in 1994. She received her BFA in Printmaking from the School of Fine Art at Academy of Art University. She currently teaches Printmaking and Silkscreen. Previously, she taught paper crafts at Zeum and Silkscreen at Mission Grafica. She has shown locally and nationally, including a solo show at Oaklandish in 2012. Group shows have included Junk Mail at The Soap Gallery in 2010 and the Print Zero Exchange in Seattle, Washington. In 2008, she won a materials award from the Monotype Guild of New England. Besides prints, Brin also makes books, zines and stationery under the name Fixed Orifice Press. She has contributed artwork to Good Mail Day from Quarry Press, and the Stoner Coffee Table Handbook from Chronicle Books. Brin is a member of Southern Graphics, and is on the board of the California Society of Printmakers.

Warren Chang

Warren Chang was born in Monterey, California and graduated the Art Center College of Design with honors in 1981. Upon graduation he was hired as a staff illustrator for the Atari game company. In 1983 he brached off to work as a freelance illustrator in the advertising and entertainment industries in Los Angeles. In 1990 he moved to New York City and over the next 10 years, he painted nearly 200 book covers for various publishing houses. In 2000, he moved back to California, and taught drawing and painting at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco while pursuing a career in fine art. Chang's work has won many awards of merit from the Society of Illustrators in New York and Communication Arts Magazine. In 2003, he won "Best of Show" at the Salon International held in Texas and in 2004 he won second prize in the International Artist magazine competition. In 2007 his work was featured on the cover of American Artist magazine along with a 7 page article. In 2008 his work appeared twice on the covers of International Artist magazine accompanying his 7 part series of instructional painting articles he authored. Primarily a figurative artist, Chang paints the human figure in contemporary environments, including biographical interiors, as well as outdoor genre subjects such as the fieldworkers of Monterey County where he grew up.

Baoping Chen

Mr. Chen has over 25 years of experience as a professional fine artist. In 1984 he graduated from the Guangzhou Fine Art Institute in China and became an instructor there. He then attended Academy of Art University in the United States and graduated with a MFA in 1992. Mr. Chen has been teaching at the Academy of Art University since 1995.

Mr. Chen has had many one-person exhibitions in New York and San Francisco. In 1993 he held a one-person exhibit and lecture at the California Art Museum, where his abstract works continues to be a part of their collection. In addition, he has had many solo and group exhibits throughout the world, and has sold many collections.

Baoping Chen’s artistic style has changed from realistic to expressive abstract over many years. Currently, he is teaching at the Graduate School of Academy of Art University and he also spends a great deal of time working on his own art works in his professional studio.

Sean Connor

Mr. Connor attended the Academia Di Belle Arti in Venice, Italy - graduated from U.C. Berkley with a Bachelors degree in fine art, then received his Masters degree in painting from the graduate school of figurative art at the New York Academy of Art, a teaching school based on Ecole des Beaux Artes which concentrates on the figure and the pictorial mode. Mr. Connor’s specialty is the figure as he has strong anatomical skills, but he is also well versed in various media. He feels, “An understanding of art, especially figurative art is important for students as they gain an awareness of themselves and what they want to express.” He has taught part time at Academy of Art for ten years.

Barry Ebner

Barry Ebner is an artist primarily working in the techniques of intaglio and monotype. Walls, barriers and borders are among the themes that he revisits in his work time and again. Over the last 25 years he has had over 20 solo exhibitions, throughout California and the western part of the United States. He received his BA from the University of Texas and his MFA with an emphasis in Printmaking from the California College of the Arts. Along with pursuing his studio work he is also an instructor at Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.

Mark Elliot

Thirty miles from where you grew up is a small town you’ve heard of but never visited. In that town stands a modest home on a corner lot with no fence. On that lot grow two trees. One of which is leafed and fruitful. The other is crowding the stop sign, surrendering to disease and will soon be removed and chipped. One tree provides damp plum shade. In the long shadows, of the short sunset, the other waves goodbye with its pale golden leaves, to the passing day, the sneaking cat, and the pedaling child, but most likely itself, knowing that this day may be the last day it sees its silhouette stretch across the grass, the sidewalk, the gutter, the pavement. Knowing it may only have one more chance to blow kisses of sunlight to the black earth it stands in, the green grass it sways with, and shivers with and plays with. Occasionally the sound of urethane wheels clacketing down the sidewalk reminds the trees of a dark haired youth who used to push a mower around the base of their trunks. Though trees never forget, they hardly learn anything either. Talk of studies in California mean little to them. Places, states, oceans, other neighborhoods mean even less. And to a boy- grown up and moved out and on- what does a tree mean? It means sandboxes and sunburns. Watermelons and snow shovels. Flowerbeds and black eyes. It means first kisses and late night summer conversations about stars and power lines. It means daddy long legs and crickets and swamp frogs smaller than matchbooks. These are the things trees remember. This is where my stories live and die- a ring for each one.

Adam Forfang

A BFA graduate from Academy of Art University’s School of Fine Art Painting program and current influential instructor, Forfang has established a strong following for his masterful approach to academic realism. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Forfang looks to a wide cross-section of enduring artistic legacies for inspiration, including Jean-Baptiste Chardin’s sensitive rendering of light and space and Wayne Thiebaud’s compositional use of image repetition. With a concerted focus on still life, Forfang enthralls his viewers by juxtaposing 2D shapes against 3D forms, accentuating color, reflection, and pattern. Forfang’s work is currently represented by the renowned John Pence Gallery in San Francisco, California, with past exhibits at the Vose Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Triton Art Museum in Santa Clara, California. Upon graduation from Academy of Art University, Forfang won First Place Awards at the Academy’s Annual Spring Show in three of the Fine Art Painting categories: drawing, figure, and still life.

Sheldon Greenberg

Blending abstracted realism with a hint of pop, Sheldon Greenberg creates portraits of California emblazoned with nostalgia for old Hollywood, despite having discovered his passion for art in Wichita, Kansas. Abundant with energy, Greenberg’s canvases represent a reflective prism of abstracted realism that has enticed America for decades. An Academy of Art University instructor, Greenberg is currently represented by Modernism Gallery in San Francisco, California, Susan Street Fine Art in San Diego, California, and Solomon Dubnick Gallery in Sacramento, California.

Brandie Grogan

Brandie Grogan is a San Francisco based mixed media artist who works with printmaking, encaustic and sculpture techniques. Combining these processes with found objects, wood, metal, resin and fabric she creates both 2-D and 3-D installation work. Grogan received her BFA from Ohio State University and her MFA from Academy of Art University’s School of Fine Art Printmaking. She currently teaches Fine Art Printmaking for Academy of Art University.

Frank Lanza

A native San Franciscan, Frank Lanza was first inspired to become an artist during a class trip to the Marina Green, where he was encouraged to paint watercolors of the yachts. To this day, seascapes and landscapes are among Lanza’s preferred subjects with a unique approach to realist impressionism. Lanza’s work has been featured in a one-man show at California Pacific Medical Center and won Honorable Mention in Watercolors at the California State Fair. As an Academy of Art University instructor, Lanza shares that his students' "passion and desire to paint rekindles [his] own enthusiasm to paint."

Beverly Lazor

After a long career as a freelance illustrator and product designer, Beverly Lazor found her passion for plein air painting as well as instructs online classes. She currently has work exhibited in Jessup Cellars Gallery in Napa, California, as well as galleries in Southern California.

Jesse Mangerson

Jesse Mangerson studied Illustration at University of Wisconsin Eau Claire earning a BFA. He then migrated west where he earned his MFA in Illustration at Academy of Art University, where he continues to teach in the online Foundations and MFA Fine Art Painting departments. His work shows in galleries in Northern California and the Midwest. Independent publishers on both the East and West coasts have published his illustrations both in print and online. Mangerson lives with his wife and two children in Madison, Wisconsin, where he works from his home studio.

Holly Matthews

Holly Mathews moved to San Francisco in 2007 to study at Academy of Art University and graduated with a BFA in 2011. As a student at the Academy, she received the Study Abroad Scholarship, which offered her the opportunity to study abroad in Italy. Matthews was awarded the First Place and Third Place awards in still life, as well as the Faculty Choice award at the 2012 Annual Spring Show. Mathews is a versatile, emerging artist working in both the realism and abstract genres. She is an artist who works in traditional oil and experimental encaustic techniques. Mathews is currently teaching at Academy of Art University.

Melinda May

Melinda May has been a working artist and an award winning illustrator since 1976. She has over thirty years experience in watercolor painting. She has 11 years experience teaching watercolor at Academy of Art University and The Academy of Sciences. After a freelance career in Illustration, she has recently begun focusing on her personal work and her return to teaching after twenty years.

Carol Nunnelly

Carol Nunnelly is an artist, illustrator and master teacher based in San Francisco, California. Nunnelly has over 60 semesters of classroom experience at Academy of Art University. She is noted for her ability to bring out the best in her students through innovative teaching methods as well as serving as an inspiration and mentor to her fellow faculty members. Her experience at Academy of Art University has included curriculum development, professional development workshops for faculty and extensive exhibition and special events production. She is currently a full-time interdepartmental instructor for Academy of Art University. Nunnelly is also a gifted illustrator, painter and muralist with numerous projects and publication contributions to her credit. She has been recognized for her ability to work with clients to realize their vision through research, design and innovative execution. Her book, The Encyclopedia of Fashion Illustration Techniques, was released in June of 2009.

Dennis Peterson

Dennis Peterson’s artistic practice stems from extensive training in traditional printmaking mediums such as lithography, intaglio and letterpress. Although viewed as obsolete tools, these printmaking practices have led him towards an interest in visual communication as conveyed through letterforms and symbols. His works are an experiment with these methods and their extraordinary power to both create and confound meaning. Peterson received his BFA in 2003 from the Rhode Island School of Design’s Printmaking Department and his MFA in 2009 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition, he has studied traditional Japanese woodblock printing at Kyoto Seika University in Kyoto, Japan. In his current position, Peterson teaches letterpress, lithography and other printmaking courses within the School of Fine Art at Academy of Art University. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, cats and bicycles.

Claudia Rilling

Claudia Rilling is a professional fine artist and part-time faculty member at Academy of Art University. Her art is represented by Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery in downtown San Francisco. Her current work consists mainly of cityscape and still-life. They are based on the relationships of planes, light and form, placed within carefully constructed compositions. Originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Rilling began studying classical drawing and design at the age of 16 and dedicated herself to learning these principles since that time. Rilling graduated from Boston University's College of Fine Arts where she further developed her drawing and painting skills. After college, she moved to Philadelphia where she worked full-time for Anthropologie Corporation as the assistant to the art department. Following this, she relocated to San Francisco to obtain her MFA degree in Fine Art Painting from Academy of Art University

Bryan Taylor

Bryan Taylor is a talented artist with several years of exhibition experience. By the time Taylor had received his BA in Visual Arts from Brigham Young University, he had exhibited his work at several venues already. He had a one-man show at the Tivoli Gallery in Salt Lake City, the Park Place Gallery in Park City, and was professionally represented by Brownstone Gallery and Tivoli Gallery. Presently, he is represented by Galleria Luna in Half Moon Bay. His work also appeared at the San Luis Obispo Plein Air Competition. Taylor has had private training for over 3 years with Herold Demont Olsen and he has been CEO and instructor at the Venetian Gallery for over 4 years. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Painting from Academy of Art University. Taylor also served as a Religion and English teacher in Italy. He is a member of the Oil Painters of America.

Cameron Wasson

Upon graduation from Art Center College of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration, Cameron began her career in NYC as an illustrator creating images for diverse clients such as American Express, AT&T, Compaq Computer, General Foods, Johnson and Johnson, Cannon Mills, Pepsi Cola, General Electric, Time Inc, Southwestern Bell, Addison Wesley, Bantam Doubleday Dell, McGraw Hill, Reader's Digest, St Martin's Press, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Working Woman, Travel & Leisure, Seventeen, Glamour, and Step by Step magazine. Returning to California, Cameron began working within the digital realm, continuing to create illustrations, in addition to producing and managing corporate websites and developing the visual communication necessary to achieve marketing initiatives. Apart from instructing illustration students the fundamentals of portfolio website creation, illustration conceptual development, and color theory, Cameron continues to create a wide variety of projects in her studio, sometimes even for the sheer fun of it.

Zhaoming Wu

Zhaoming Wu was born in China and grew up in Guangzhou City. He received his BFA from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art China and his MFA from Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Since 1983, he has been exhibitng his work in Asia, Europe, the United States and other countries around the world. He has won numerous awards, including the Merit Award at the 6th National Art Exhibition in Beijing, China, the Gustafson Fund Award, from the National Oil and Acrylic Painter's Society, 1st place in the 9th Biennial National Figure Painting and Drawing Exhibition, from Mendocino Art center, California; Second Prize Winner in International Artist magazine (Aug/Sept 2001), grand prize winner in International Artist magazine (Aug/Sept 2005); the Daler-Rowney Award from the Oil Painters of America (2000)and the Art Distributor Award from the Oil Painters of America(2005). Long active as both an artist and a teacher, he served as a professor of painting at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art and is currently an instructor of painting at Academy of Art University. His works have been featured in many publications, including two drawing books of zhaoming wu and two painting books of zhaoming wu; Interntional Artist magazine (April/May 2003, August/September 2005), Art of the West magazine (September/October 2004, July/August 2007), Art Talk Magazine (February 2005), and American Art Collector (January 2007).

Zachary Zdrale

Zachary Zdrale is a prolific artist who has exhibited his work in group exhibitions throughout the bay area as well as in New York, Colorado, and Wisconsin. Among the group exhibitions in which he participated were the Oil Painters of American Western Regional, Oil Painters of America's 15th National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils, Show of Heads, Drawing on the Figure and the Academy of Art University's Annual Spring Show. Zdrale has been the recipient of the First Place MFA Painting Award at the Academy's Spring Show. He received an honorable mention from the Art Center of Estes Park and received third prize from I.D.A. Zdrale holds a BS in Art from the University of Wisconsin and is completing his MFA in Fine Art at Academy of Art University.

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