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Silvia Poloto

Following Her Own Lead

As a child artist Silvia Poloto did not have a clue about wanting to be an artist. After earning an undergraduate degree in Engineering and a Masters in Business, she found herself working in Advertising which opened her heart’s eye to being creative and making art. Others immediately saw her innate talent which sparked her inspired and prolific career as an artist. Hear more about her path in this inspiring interview.

Mark Bowles

Keeping at it

Artist Mark Bowles always knew he wanted to be an artist and paint. He also carried a lot of insecurities and questioned himself much of the time. In this inspiring interview, Mark shares his journey and what he has learned along the way to success.

Melissa Chandon

Following what’s inside

With animated, Pop-inspired colors and pared-down compositions, Melissa Chandon’s paintings push everyday scenes toward the brink of imaginative, dynamic abstraction. In this inspiring interview, Melissa shares her learnings of finding your voice and process by going within and how she was guided and influenced by working with the renowned artist Wayne Thiebaud.

Gary Ruddell

Bringing life to art

Even when he began his career as an Illustrator, artist Gary Ruddell has always followed his heart in getting his work out into the world. He happily made illustrations until his personal conversations within compelled him to say things his own way. Enjoy this inspiring interview and conversation with this amazing artist.

Nicholas Wilton

The twists and turns of following one’s creative arc

Nicholas Wilton has been making art since he was 14 years old. In this week’s Inspiration, he will dive into what inspires him, sources for making his art, the materials he uses, etc. This is a rare opportunity to learn what’s behind Nick’s work and where he sees it all going.

Jerry Mclaughlin

Using the guide that’s within

Jerry McLaughlin found success as a photographer, but knew is in heart it was not his path. Once he said aloud that his true North was to be a painter, all roads began to lead forward for him. Finding an art practice that was authentic and personal for Jerry changed everything.

Raquel Baldocchi

Making work we love is the business plan

Raquel Baldocchi’s beautiful, rich paintings seek to present characters from potentially distant eras and locales set into a modern, abstract construct. It has come to be very personal work for her, drawing inspiration from historical portraits, vintage photographs and family memorabilia. Her great aunt made innumerable scrapbooks filled with charming images of flora, fauna, and illustrations of all types of human interaction, which often influence the content of her paintings.

Marti Somers

Inspired by natural beauty and the creative journey.

To witness the work of Marti Somers is to experience lush, raucous explosions of color, animal forms, and brush strokes evocative of California’s own diverse landscape. It is this pure sense of freedom, bold play, and an overall willingness to be expressive without restraint that gives Marti Somers’ work its distinctively joyful tone.

Mitchell Johnson

Paying close attention is how we learn to really see and make context of the world.

Walking the line between representational and abstract, Mitchell Johnson’s paintings can recall a sense of place or emotions about a place, but it’s the arrangement of shapes and colors that we respond to first. Listen in to this interview where he talks about how when we really look at something, we don’t just identify what it is—we can see what it is about and then it can help serve your painting or lead to a painting.

Cold Wax Medium with Rebecca Crowell and Jerry Mclaughlin

An amazing medium for creating subtle, rich depth using layers.

For this month’s inspiration video, we interviewed Rebecca Crowell and Jerry Mclaughlin, two artists who are experts in the medium of cold wax. Spurred by their shared loved of this medium – and after noticing a lack of suitable instructional materials – this pair decided to make their very own book about cold wax.

Adam Wolpert

Paying attention is where the richness, discovery and growth happens.

Adam Wolpert’s varied imagery explores the themes of cycles, relationships and balance, and investigates the subtle distinction between the representational and the abstract. He believes that when we make art or engage it, we remember what it is to be human. In this very engaging conversation, Adam and Nicholas explore how painting something outside of ourselves actually informs us to paint inside of ourselves. Give yourself a treat by spending some time with this absorbing interview on how the process of art can inform our lives.

Russell Chatham

Seeking inspiration from his surroundings

The work of Russell Chatham is difficult to describe in a single word. Inspired by his childhood in the Northern Bay Area and his time in Montana, his subtly beautiful landscapes are at once powerful yet soft, melancholic yet vastly serene. The overall effect is one of a haunting nostalgia, of being drawn into a space that is both familiar while utterly distant. We at the Academy are extremely pleased (and lucky!) to be able to interview this prolific individual.

Joe Brubaker

Seeking inspiration in the human form

One of the first things that strikes one about Joe Brubaker is his prolific output. This is made even more impressive when one considers that although he would characterize himself as a lifelong creative, he would also be the first to tell you his career as an artist didn’t really begin until his late thirties, after he decided to show his work at Marin Open Studios. Take a moment to check out this great interview.

Melinda Tidwell

Do you find inspiration in non-traditional materials?

Our definitions of what it means to be an artist are constantly shifting. The introduction of new media and techniques push the boundaries of art in some exciting new directions. Melinda Tidwell is certainly no exception in this regard, using discarded and recycled books as the raw material for her collage pieces. It truly is a pleasure to speak to this inspiring and creative individual.