A broad stroke of the harmoniously colorful students, faculty, and events of the Fine Art Department at the Academy of Art University. Find out more about Art in the Bay area, what goes on at 60 Federal, and our extended family of students and faculty throughout the world.

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Entries filed under 'Art Openings'

    Technology and Touch: Intention and Serendipity in San Francisco and Reykjavík

    Carrie Ann Plank & Robynn Smith


    Carrie Ann Plank and Robynn Smith have been investigating relationships between technology and traditional printmaking techniques, both within the realm of their personal work, as well as in global printmaking practices. A recent lecture by the two at the Íslensk Grafík in Reykjavík, Iceland inspired a cross cultural exchange of work and ideas between Icelandic printmakers and San Francisco Bay Area printmakers in relation to this space between technology and tradition.  The exchange led to a curation of the exhibition, Technology and Touch, focusing on the variety of approaches to technology in the two disparate locales. Featuring the work of Icelandic artists: Greta Mjöll Bjarnadóttir, Valgerdur Hauksdóttir, Elvar Örn Kjartansson, Soffía Sæmundsdóttir, Laura Valentino, and Bay Area artists: Jimin Lee, Monica Farrar Miller, Michelle Murillo, Carrie Ann Plank, and Robynn Smith, the exhibition will travel from San Francisco at the Academy of Art University’s 688 Gallery in Union Square (November 2017) to the Southern Graphics Council International in Las Vegas at the Priscilla Fowler Fine Art gallery (April 2018) to Reykjavík in the gallery of the Icelandic Printmakers Association, Íslensk Grafík, IPA Gallery/Grafiksalurinn, within the Reykjavík Art Museum building during the Culture Night festival (August 2018).  Discussions, gallery talks and workshops accompany all of the exhibitions, resulting in the sharing of contemporary technologies and traditional printmaking practices across cultures.

    Co-curators: Carrie Ann Plank and Robynn Smith Photo credit: Bob Toy

    Co-curators: Carrie Ann Plank and Robynn Smith Photo credit: Bob Toy

    The authenticity of art resides in human expression, in our ability to use tools to further our ideas. The hand refers to the individual. It is our personal mark, our connection with our humanity, our relationship with nature and the wild.  Technology is innovation; bright, shiny and complex. Since the advent of the printing press, a major technological breakthrough, printmaking has always reflected the relationship between technology and the hand. A mark is made, and through the alchemy of technology, that mark is transformed and transferred to another surface. That relationship is always there, from the Gutenberg Bible of the mid 15th century to today’s laser cutters and photopolymer plates, the best printmakers seek just the right balance of handwork and technology.photopolymer plates, the best printmakers

    Artists from the project at the artist talk in San Francisco (left to right): Elvar Örn Kjartansson, Laura Valentino, Greta Mjöll Bjarnadóttir, Michelle Murillo, Carrie Ann Plank, Robynn Smith, Soffía Sæmundsdóttir, and Valgerdur Hauksdóttir. Carrie Ann Plank’s Data Rondures (Large Forms) in background. Photo credit: Bob Toy

    Artists from the project at the artist talk in San Francisco (left to right): Elvar Örn Kjartansson, Laura Valentino, Greta Mjöll Bjarnadóttir, Michelle Murillo, Carrie Ann Plank, Robynn Smith, Soffía Sæmundsdóttir, and Valgerdur Hauksdóttir. Carrie Ann Plank’s Data Rondures (Large Forms) in background. Photo credit: Bob Toy

    Both Reykjavík and the San Francisco Bay Area function as technological giants, yet in both places it is possible to feel the primitive, powerful nature of the wild. A five-minute drive out of Iceland’s capital is a primordial landscape of hot springs and lava. Standing a few hundred yards from the Golden Gate Bridge, the power of the Pacific Ocean is unfurled in an unbroken vista, all the way to Japan. Does the proximately to such dramatic landscape affect an artist’s use of technology? Does technology offer artists new tools to express their connection to the natural world?

    Every printmaker must strike a balance between technology and touch. This exhibition explores that balance, showcasing printmakers from two cities with a striking relationship between contemporary technology and the timelessness of nature.

    Two magnificently beautiful cities, both technology and trade hubs focused on the future, steeped in tradition and full of printmakers. Is there a connection?

    This question is what motivated us to explore an international exchange between printmakers from the San Francisco Bay Area and Íslensk Grafík, the Icelandic Printmakers Association based in Reykjavík.

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    Printed in Cuba

    The Fine Art Printmaking Departments hosts the exhibition Printed in Cuba at the 688 Sutter Gallery

    Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 2.09.10 PM
    Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 2.11.01 PM

    The Printmaking Department will host an exhibition from the international project Edition/Basel entitled Printed in Cuba.  The exhibition is the result of a collaborative project executed by 17 artists from the United States, Switzerland, and Cuba, during April of 2017.  The artists worked out of the Taller Experimental de Gráfica de La Habana in Havana, Cuba.  This international project focusing on cross cultural collaboration includes four Academy of Art Faculty Members: Carrie Ann Plank, Director of Fine Art Printmaking, Megan Adie, Printmaking Studio Manager, Lian Ng, Graphic Design Faculty and Barry Ebner, Printmaking Faculty.

    Here Aqui Hier


    Here Aqui Hier

    Collaborative piece by Fine Art Printmaking Director, Carrie Ann Plank, Cuban artist Janette Brossard, and Swiss artists Margarit Lehmann and Sadhyo Niederberger

    The exhibition runs from October 3rd through 31st at the 688 Sutter Gallery. The opening reception is Thursday, October 5th from 5:30-7:30pm

    Cuba meets USA meets Switzerland. PRINTED IN CUBA is an initiative by Margarit Lehmann (Switzerland) in cooperation with Aliosky Gracía (Cuba) and Lian Ng (USA). It is an experiment of artistic and sociopolitical dimensions: not Cuban art in America or Swiss art in Cuba, but joint work in a tri-national cooperation. The project brought together 19 printmakers from Cuba, USA and Switzerland to collaborate on a collection of unique prints using lithography, collagraphy, etching, pressure and relief printing techniques. The artists created layers on the same print in response to each other to result in a finished piece that does not represent a singular artist but of a collective whole. The artists participated in the project are: Alejandro Sainz (Cuba), Aliosky García (Cuba), Andreas Frick (Switzerland), Barry Ebner (USA),

    2016 Fine Art Auction


    November 10–11
    10 a.m.–6 p.m.

    Reception & Live Auction
    Saturday, November 12, 2016
    2 p.m. - Reception begins
    3 p.m. - Live auction begins

    Silent Auction
    Ends approximately 30 minutes after close of live auction

    AAU Galleries at The Cannery
    2801 Leavenworth St
    San Francisco, CA 94133





    Benefitting Academy of Art University's Student Scholarship Fund.

    Browse 2016 Catalog

    Artist Interview : Meisha Grichuhin


    Meisha Grichuhin show California Calling is at 625 Sutter Gallery

    Artist Reception: Thursday, July 7th, 5:30 - 7:30pm

    Prior to Meisha's opening we interviewed her about her carear.

    Did you have any rewarding experiences or interactions with teachers while you studied at the Academy?

    I feel very lucky to have had such wonderful instructors at the Academy. Some stand out for their teaching ability, some for their advice, and some for their processes. Paul Kratter, Tomutsu Takishima, and Kevin Moore are all memorable instructors for me, but the teacher who has influenced me the most is definitely Craig Nelson. The first class I took with Craig was Wildlife Painting. 




    I was worried that since I had no experience in landscape painting, I wouldn’t get as much out of the class. Craig helped me so much in one semester! I really understood his way of teaching and explaining things- and his style is similar to what I wanted to achieve in my own work. I took as many classes as I could with him after that.

    Are you having any upcoming group or individual shows that you would like to share with us?

    Yes! I have a solo show with the Academy at 625 Gallery (625 Sutter) for the month of July. The show opens on July 2nd, and the reception is July 7th from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Stop on by! I’ll have roughly 20 pieces on display. I also have two pieces included in the 59th Juried Exhibition at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, which opens the same night, and will be on display until mid-September.

    Another group show that I’m participating in for the second year in a row is Sanchez Art Center’s 50/50 Show in Pacifica. This is a really fun show where each artist creates 50 6”x6” artworks in 50 days to a theme of their choosing. It’s challenging but also rewarding to create so much in a short period of time. It’s fascinating to see everyone’s efforts through their different themes and styles. The reception will be in August, and the show up through September.

    All of the information for my exhibitions, as well as contact information can be found on my website:

    The Grandeur 20"x20" oil on canvas

    The Grandeur 20"x20" oil on canvas

    What subjects are you drawn to?

    I am particularly drawn to landscape painting. I love being outdoors and find the beauty of nature immeasurably pleasing. Studying and sharing my natural surroundings through my work is my passion. To me, there is nothing more relaxing and grounding than spending time outdoors in a beautiful setting- whether it’s mountains, ocean, pasture, or my own backyard. My other favorite subject is animals, which really goes hand in hand with landscape.

    What was the hardest lesson you learned?

    Don’t be afraid to start! Get some paint on the canvas and be bold. You can always refine from there. The more you paint, the more you learn. I often think about a quote Craig Nelson uses: “It’s only a mistake if you leave it.” This frees you up to paint without worrying that everything has to be perfect from the start.


    What advice would you give to students?

    Paint! Paint more! Work hard and pay attention. All the demos and advice your teachers give you are invaluable. Absorb them and, even if you can’t do it at the moment, all those words of wisdom are there for you to pull from when you need them. 



    Interview with Calvin Lai

    artist photo

    Could you tell us a bit about yourself, your history and your experience with art before arriving at the Academy?

    Art for me is an addiction that helps me stay sane and happy. It is the one thing that has been my constant companion throughout the years. Growing up in the suburbs of LA, I was often faced with situations where I felt out of place and withdrawn. It's a common story among artists, and not surprisingly I found myself always drawing. I would copy pictures and photos that were compelling to me, and through trial and error I gained an understanding of light and perspective at an early age. Eventually, I received a BA from San Francisco State, and afterwards I spent a long time traveling and studying music. It wasn't until 2008 when I decided to go to the Academy for a master's degree in illustration, but gravitated towards fine art painting instead.

    Where do you see yourself in five years time?

    There's no turning back now from my path of painting. I'm too old to do anything else career-wise with any great amount of vigor. So in five years I see myself in a large studio with an abundance of natural light, honing my skills as a painter, and getting my artistic vision out into the world. I also see this happening in or around the Bay Area as I've found a thriving musical community here which is hard to find in other cities. Being a realistic painter, I'll be making a living off of commissions and gallery sales.

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    Senior Painting Studio

    Senior Painting Studio is a classes offered to undergraduate fine art students.  The class is taught by faulty member Kevin Moore who advises the students towards a "pop up"at the end of the semester. 

    In the comming weeks you will be introduced to each artist, but in the mean time here is the concept for their show.



    We are a dedicated group of emerging artists who believe art is an integral part of our society and as such should be accessible to everyone regardless of financial means. We would like to attempt a new take on the art show convention by creating a unique experience in the form of a pop-up show in San Francisco. An unfortunate reality of the art world is that at times money can be an obstacle for many when it comes to obtaining original artwork. We would like to have a show where money does not determine who can and who cannot own a piece of art.

    The unique structure of this show encourages the community as a whole to support the arts, which in turn allows artists to make art accessible to the whole community. We are excited to provide a venue where the value of art is not determined by a price tag, but instead based on the merits of the work itself. Every guest will have an equal opportunity to become the owner of a well-crafted, thoughtful piece of art.

    We would like to create a sustainable model for this type of show in which expense does not affect the outcome. In order to do so, we require financial support to host the event; this is why we’ve chosen to ask for your assistance through our Go-Fund-Me campaign. The success of the show heavily relies on community contributions and support to cover artists’ expenses and compensate them for their time and effort.  This will allow the art to function solely as art and not as a market driven product.

    We feel that art is greater than the established commercial market. To any who feel the same way, we ask that you support our goal. Every contribution no matter the size will help and be greatly appreciated. With the community’s support of this show, we hope to achieve something new that transcends the status quo of the art world. Thank you for your support!

    To support click here.

    Interview with Deepa Kataria

    Could you tell us a bit about yourself, your history and your experience with art before arriving at the Academy?


    My name is Deepa Kataria. I am an abstract landscape painter. I was born in Mumbai, India and grew up in New York City, United States. I found my passion for arts in India’s Junior High School. This gave me a pathway to continue my arts education at high school in Queens, New York. My passion and love for the arts was further nurtured when I was accepted at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. After successful completion of my Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2007, I was determined to bring my artistic skills to a professional level.


     I then decided to come to San Francisco Academy of Art University in order to earn my MFA degree. I have two years of classical training with emphasis on abstraction. Being the graduating class of Spring 2015, I am looking forward to my Solo Thesis Show coming up in October 1st to October 28th, 2015, at 625 Gallery at Sutter Street. 


    Did you have any rewarding experiences or interactions with teachers while you studied at the Academy?

    Yes. Every teacher has played an important role in my MFA learning process at the Academy of Art University. One example, Prof. Bao Ping Chan told me that painting is a reflection of the artist. Further studying with my tutor Ho Jun Lee during classical training brought up the same concept and taught me in depth how the artist’s works reflects the artist’s life (values, character, and lifestyle). I learned at that point that core values between abstraction and realism are the same for the artists.

    Where do you see yourself in five years time?


    I see myself participating in group and solo shows consistently and planning solo shows for next five years.



    Are you having any upcoming group or individual shows that you would like to share with us?


    One can check my upcoming events at


    Read More »

    Interview with Diana Majumdar


    We spoke with Diana Majumdar before her show opened at the Academy of Art University.


    Could you tell us how you became involved in art making?


    Since a very early age I have been exposed to art in many forms and shapes.  I grew up in Estonia in the last days of the Soviet Union.  I was first introduced to art through my father.  He took me to see museums in Estonia, Russia, and Armenia.  I loved watching my father draw.  He taught me the basics of watercolor, and gave me his large set of art books that were printed in Russia and Armenian.  So when the choice for a field of study presented itself and I had to ask myself what I would like to learn, the choice was easy.

    Has there been any particular class or teacher that really opened your eyes while studying at the Academy?

    Mixed Media taught by Ms. Lynne Margulies, was the class that changed the way I approach art.

    Artistic freedom was the key take away from that class.  After taking countless classes with structure and order, I felt liberated at the end of this class.  It was pure joy.  Using the approaches she taught, art just seemed to flow out of me.  The approaches she taught were daring.  To do a charcoal drawing then run a wet brush over it, completely obliterating the charcoal image.  It wasn't destruction per se.  It was creating something throught the process of destruction.  Creating something unexpected.

    I am not afraid to try unusual combinations of medium.  I am not looking for a final perfect vision but take it one step at a time.  It is a truly freeing experience and changed my whole approach to creating art.  It infused an aspect of creative fun in the process that was previously lacking.  Rather than seeing it as a stressful series of steps to follow in creating art, it became an enjoyable pastime.  

    Read More »

    AAU Galleries July


    Interview with Inderpreet Kaur


    Inderpreet Kaur's solo show The Allure of Northern California will be displayed at the Academy of Art University Gallery July 1st through July 29th.  




    What inspired your path to art?

    My early life had no freedom of expression, as I have mentioned before that I was not allowed to go outside beside school or temple. I used to use my imagination or sometimes from references I draw on paper with crayons or pencil colors. My teachers and friends used to appreciate my drawings that brought inspiration to keep drawing and painting. 

    Prior to Inderpreet's opening at the Cannery we interviewed her to learn of her artistic journey, influences, and hopes for the future.  

    Could you tell us a bit about yourself, your history and your experience with art before arriving at the Academy?


    I was born and bought up in New Delhi, India. I came from a Sikh business family. Due to family customs I was not allowed to go outside beside School or Sikh Temple. So, I used the paper as canvas and started drawing at an early age. My parents supported my passion by providing useful art material. My father used to reward me whenever I painted something new but it was not developed further due to religious oppression for women at that time. I was a self taught painter without having any foundational knowledge that I needed to learn and always dreamed of becoming an artist before arriving at the Academy. 




    What subjects are you drawn to?

    Nature and Landscape have always been a part of my life through travelling. I have travelled to many countries like Europe (France, Italy, Spain, Austria), London, Turkey, and Hong Kong etc. I used to see the beauty of those places but never got opportunity to paint then and convey my emotion on canvas. My trip to Lake Tahoe was inspiring subject matter in hand, which turn into my thesis work. I am drawn to and enjoy places where there is water although I have love and hate relationship with water. I don’t know how to swim so to come over that scare I paint water in most of my paintings.      

    The Peace

    The Peace

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    Interview with Jessica Newman

    jessica newman

    We sat down with Jessica Newman to discuss her show that is currently displayed at The Cannery Galleries, 2801 Leavenworth Street Suite 112 June 3rd till the 28th.  

    Could you tell us a bit about yourself, your history and your experience with art before arriving at the Academy?

    I started painting in high school and studied fine art at the Rhode Island School of Design for my freshman year of college. After a year, I transferred from RISD to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. I graduated with a BFA in Interior Design, and my career in interior design has been a successful one. I worked for Hirsch Bedner and Associates, the top hospitality firm in the world, as well as smaller architecture and interior design firms in New York, Georgia, and California. Everywhere I worked I was always the one who did the architectural illustrations that were presented to the 

    client. I eventually started a freelance business doing architectural illustrations, and most recently co-authored a textbook on perspective drawing for Pearson/Prentice Hall, “Perspective and Sketching for Designers.” The textbook focuses on perspective drawing methods and has been published in English and Chinese. 

    Soon after graduating with my BFA in Interior Design, I began to paint again. I studied in the studios of artists whose work I admired: George Benedict in New York, Sarah Hughes and Chris Didimezio in Atlanta, and Jeff Watts and Janet Cooling in San Diego. I was very excited to enroll at AAU’s online program in 2006(!) to study painting. I took classes slowly (one or two at a time) while working full-time as an instructor at the Art Institute of California – San Diego, where I teach undergraduate interior design classes. The MFA degree seemed so far away, I wasn’t really focused on it. I tried to enjoy my classes and learn as much as possible to become a better artist.

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