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Original Works from the 17th Annual Faculty + Alumni Fine Art Auction

The 17th Annual Faculty + Alumni Fine Art Auction returned to San Francisco’s Cannery on November 10, 2012. Hundreds of original works of fine art ― including paintings, prints and sculpture ― were available for purchase. This event, sponsored by the Academy of Art University Foundation and hosted by the Academy’s nonprofit galleries, directly supported the Fine Art Student Scholarship Fund. Fifty percent of proceeds were donated directly to the scholarship fund; the remaining half of proceeds were disbursed directly to the artists. Here are just some of the notable works that were available:

Craig Nelson


Craig Nelson, Academy of Art University’s Director of Fine Art Painting for both BFA and MFA, has been depicting landscapes and portraits in rich vibrant oils, instinctively balancing originality with tranquility, for over thirty years. As a high school student in Cupertino, California, Nelson discovered his passion for painting portraits and his admiration for such varied artists as Bernie Fuchs, Rembrandt, Norman Rockwell, and Andrew Wyeth. Nelson, known for the luminosity of his brushwork and stunning color spectrum, captures the beauty of simple, cherished moments in everyday life, with settings ranging from a mood-filled bar room to the age and character of Tuscan architectural landscapes. Artists travel from across the country to locations in Italy, the coastal Carolinas, and California to take part in his private workshops. Nelson’s internationally collected works are represented by Artiste in Heladsburg and Santa Ynez, California; Ella Richardson Fine Art in Charleston, South Carolina; Garden Gallery in Half Moon Bay, California; Peterson-Cody Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Waterhouse Gallery in Santa Barbara, California. In addition, Nelson has received sought-after awards from Arts for Parks, the California Art Club, and SILA, as well as having published three popular art books including 60 Minutes to Better Painting. Profiles on Nelson and his exceptional artistry have also appeared in American Art Collector and Southwest Art.

Barbara Louise Pence

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Barbara Pence’s interest in painting pets began during her education at Academy of Art University. Pence strives to capture the individuality and temperament of each pet. She also explores the interaction and relationship that takes place between owners and their pets in order to incorporate this in her art. Pence enjoys painting still lifes. She seeks to capture her subjects with a good sense of light and dark contrast to bring out the three-dimensional depth and “air” in each piece. Pence recently branched out into mixed media artwork. Her current series, “Falling Leaves” is an exploration of fall color and other related found objects. She gathers colorful leaves, dries and preserved them. She also uses found objects and designs fabric using dyes, stamps and paints then intuitively creates a work of art that compliments her theme.

Brandi Lee

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Currently living in Alameda, Brandi Lee received her BFA this year at Academy of Art University. Lee was featured in the de Young Museum’s student showcase, won first and third place in the Abstract category at Academy of Art University’s Annual Spring Show, and won a merit award from Gail Wight.

Brian Blood

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Brian Blood has excited and inspired fine art collectors for over two decades. Since graduating from Academy of Art University and becoming a faculty member in the School of Fine Art, Blood has quickly become one of California’s most sought-after plein air painting artists. Blood’s signature California landscapes have been featured in a multitude of publications including American Artist, Art of the West, Plein Air, and Southwest Art. His recent achievements include the Best Local Artist Award, the Artist’s Choice Award, and the People’s Choice Award at the 2008 Carmel Art Festival; the Southwest Art Award of Excellence; showing at the 96th Annual California Art Club’s Gold Medal Exhibition; the 2005 People’s Choice Award at the Napa Valley Museum; and the Landscape Award of Excellence at Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art’s 2005 Salon International. Blood was recently honored as an Outstanding Alumnus and awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from President Elisa Stephens and Academy of Art University.

Leo Bugel

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Doctors were speechless when Leo Bugel was born in Oneonta, New York in 1988, probably due to the fact that when he left his mother’s womb he had a paintbrush in one hand, an easel in the other, and was wearing one of those funny French hats and a scarf. After miraculously surviving the horrifying weather conditions of upstate New York for eighteen years, he moved to San Francisco in 2005 and began attending Academy of Art University. He received his BFA in Fine Art Painting in the Spring of 2011. He is currently “painting his ass off” full-time. Leo is not sure exactly what year he will die yet, but hopes that when he does, he doesn’t end up to be “one of those artists who was like, poor their whole life and then ends up famous after death.

Adam Forfang

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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.

Earl Enriquez

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Earl Enriquez is a full-time faculty instructor for the School of Fine Art Sculpture where he teaches figure sculpture and oversees the foundry. Enriquez has studied at a number of places including Academy of Art University, and considers himself a contemporary Filipino Artist. His large scale figurative bronze work can be found in many public and private collections. His artwork focuses on man’s plight against adversity and reflects a passion to make a difference in people’s lives.

Brandie Grogan

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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 the Academy.

Laurie Kersey

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Laurie Kersey is a devoted landscape artist who also creates classic floral still lifes, serene figurative portraits, and horses at play near her home on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Kersey attended Academy of Art University following a fifteen-year career in commercial art. She approaches new paintings with the abiding influence of historic artists: Percy Gray, Michelangelo, Hanson Puthuff, John Singer Sargent, and J.W. Waterhouse. Kersey’s recent artistic achievements include awards in the Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Competition, Carmel Art Festival, Greenhouse Gallery’s Salon International, and San Luis Obispo Plein Air Painting Festival. Kersey’s work can be found at Pitzer’s Fine Art in Wimberley, Texas, and in galleries throughout California such as Jones & Terwilliger Galleries in Carmel and Palm Desert; Garden Gallery in Half Moon Bay; K. Nathan Gallery in La Jolla; and Fairmont Gallery in Sonoma.

Kristin Kyono

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Kristin Kyono’s artwork meditates on the beauty of urban environments. She looks for underlying relationships among diverse and chaotic forms. Kyono finds the juxtaposition of natural and engineered shapes inspiring. Her mixed media works are a unique fusion of photography, printmaking, drawing and painting.


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