Prize-Winning Realist Artists Speak

Winners of the 2013 ARC Scholarship Competition
By Kara Lysandra Ross
Kara Lysandra Ross
Kara Lysandra Ross
October 2, 2013 Updated: October 2, 2013

As those familiar with the Art Renewal Center and its mission know, the organization is involved in numerous projects, all in support of a return to an appreciation of great and enduring realist art, to humanist values in the visual arts, and to academic art education.

At ARC they view their scholarship program as one of the most important. In order for future generations to produce great art, it is critical not to lose the accumulated knowledge of the last several centuries. At the ARC Approved Ateliers™ schools, these methods are still taught by some of the greatest artists alive today and the students who are the recipients of these scholarships will receive the training necessary to create great works of art and carry the knowledge to the next generation. 

For 13 years now, the ARC Scholarship Fund has awarded scholarships to some of the most talented emerging realist artists in the world and helped them continue their studies at ARC Approved Ateliers and Schools. 

From relatively modest beginnings in 2001, the number of entrants and qualifying ateliers has expanded rapidly. In 2001 there were 14 ARC Approved Ateliers and today the ARC Website lists over 70 schools and programs. 

ARC has been able to provide over $250,000 in scholarship aid to date, enabling support to an ever-growing number of students and the institutions they attend. This year’s competition is no different, as there have been students applying from the largest number of schools yet. 

This year’s judges, ARC Chairman Frederick Ross, and Dr. Vern Swanson, have given out awards totaling over $30,000 to students for the 2013 year. Out of the 23 awards given, four individuals were chosen for the honor of First Place and given $3,500 each. 

Below are some thoughts from these top winning participants and comments from the judges on why they chose them for the top awards. 

Mitch Shea from the Florence Academy of Art (age 26): 

“I came to appreciate the importance of education as my passion for sculpting unfortunately suffered from many years of inadvertence. After several years of frustration, I finally came to adopt the atelier method of training. I had been accepted into the Florence Academy of Art, and within a matter of weeks I began to notice a night and day difference in my work. After I complete my training here in Florence, I hope to remain connected to academies and other educational bodies that prioritize strong artistic foundation, as both an artist and an educator.” 

About Shea’s work, Dr. Vern Swanson had the following to say:
“The aesthetic range that allows an artist to move between sculpture and painting improves the artist’s power and sensitivity in either medium.  What I was searching for was depth expressiveness, and the ability to technically craft a significant work of art.  I see the artist primarily as a sculptor, who was able to transcend a paint-the-model exercise, and reveal an emotive and provocative work of art.”

Katie Li from Angel Academy of Art (age 18):

“Everything I study and do is so I can become a classical realist oil painter. When I was 15 years old, I started my dream of becoming a new old master of classical art at the Angel Academy of Art. For the next four years I studied classical realism going through the traditional art atelier system. These four years have only given me a foundation to work from in my goal of becoming a classical realist oil painter who creates timeless beauty and gives happiness.”

About Li’s work, Frederick Ross had the following to say:
“Katie Li’s figures and still-life paintings appear to be the work of a highly experienced artist who is ready to enter the art world as a professional. It is incredible she is only 18 years of age. If she needs a few more courses to polish up some aspects of her skills and abilities, ARC is very pleased to be able to afford her the support she needs to finish her studies.”

Anthony Baus from the Water Street Atelier (age 31):

“My main focus besides painting is perspective drawing and I will be teaching a three-week workshop this summer at Grand Central Academy with a focus on linear perspective and its practical applications. I hope to teach my workshop at other academies after my fourth year of study is completed in the summer of 2014. I am optimistic that the Grand Central Academy, and the current state of the art world, is growing in a positive direction and am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to contribute at such a juncture in the history of art.”

About Baus’s work, Dr. Vern Swanson had the following to say:
“Drawing is the foundation for all great works of art. Baus can draw accurately and expressively. His Head of a Lady looks beyond the face and captures the spirit. His oil copy of David’s Death of Socrates in the Met, pays talented homage from student to master. His direction is toward academic multi-figurative narrative genre, which places him squarely at the forefront of his artistic future.”

Roger Long from Ani Art Academy Waichulis (age 34):

“This scholarship competition is so nice. Each year, it gives us all something to shoot for. The prize money that is given out lets the recipients have a little breathing room on our quest in becoming a master artist… From achieving this goal I will have my work shown in galleries and I will be able to help others in their quest to become artists. I know that there are many long hours and hard work ahead of me. I also know that as I build on the skills that I am currently learning, this goal will eventually become a reality. I eventually would like to move back to my hometown of Portland, Oregon and start an atelier there.”

About Long’s work, Frederick Ross had the following to say:
“Roger Long has successfully used the media of drawing with charcoal and created fully finished works of art. All of the drawings he submitted are great works of art with universal qualities that compare to the great works of art throughout history. Mostly drawings are used for creating studies and to work out some of the problems before tackling an artwork in a finished medium, usually oil paints, but Roger’s work shows development of drawing as a finished work and he is one of the best of a group of artists that we see conceiving of drawing in this way.” 

Second Place
In addition to the four First Place wins, six Second Place awards were given each for $1,500 to:
Tatyana Kulida Shelley from the Florence Academy of Art
Sarah Margaret Gibson from the Florence Academy of Art
Brock Alius from the Center for Academic Study
Katy Hamilton from the Texas Academy of Figurative Art
Sofia Welch from the London Atelier of Representational Art
Zoe Dufour from Grand Central Academy

Third Place
Six Third Place award were given at $1,000 each to: 
Lara Marshall from Ravenswood Atelier
Tess-Marie White from the Golden Gate Atelier
Rachel Parsonett from the Florence Academy of Art
Kevin Moore from the Ani Art Academy Waichulis
Kierstin Young from the Ani Art Academy Waichulis
Carey Alvez from the Academy of Realist Art

Fourth Place
And lastly, seven Fourth Place awards were given to:
Niki Covington from the Water Street Atelier
Brianna Lee from the Laguna College of Art and Design
Jake Posey from The Atelier
Thor Larsen from the Florence Academy of Art
Rebecca Gray from Grand Central Academy
Joshua Granberg from the Florence Academy of Art
Emma Hirst from the Ani Art Academy Waichulis

To see examples of all the winners work, please visit the ARC Website

Kara Lysandra Ross, the director of operations for the Art Renewal Center, is an expert in 19th century European painting.

Kara Lysandra Ross
Kara Lysandra Ross