Renaissance Remix at Tacoma Academy of Fine Art

In the midst of my wild and chaotic art creations utilizing as much bright colors as possible, a new revelation has dawned on me. As an artist, we all grow and learn from experience and schooling. After the barrage of mostly positive feedback, but some glaring negative comments (see below for the fourth review from the Tacoma News Tribune). After some minor critiques in my Advanced Painting courses, my style will slowly progress into more “simpler” terms. From looking at my previous works, there’s so much going on. Some have tons going on but little subject matter. My next body of work will be much simpler, while still maintaining my signature styles. My personal goal as an artist is to focus my style more so it can be more recognizable to others.

Tacoma News Tribune Article here.

It was in the beginning of Winter quarter that I came across an amazing opportunity. From the Tacoma list serve, I came across a call to artists for a position as an apprentice at the Tacoma Academy of Fine Art. I contacted Tim Mansen that same day to inquire about the position. It is much like a work-study program, where I work for 3 hours maintaining the website, marketing, and other activities with TAFA in exchange for 3 hours of training in classical painting.

In my first day of class, I already learned stuff that wasn’t taught to me in art school. You would be surprised on how the concept behind “ridge lines” and “comparative measurements” do wonders to a classical style drawing. It is much like finding beauty in the contrapposto of the cast figures, recognizing where the light hits the object, and learning to use your eye to observe and reflect onto paper. Basic things such as sharpening charcoal or pencils using a razor blade and sandpaper. Even transferring an existing drawing using charcoal powder or burnt umber, much like carbon paper. I also meet some interesting people and work alongside Anique, another apprentice for TAFA. At the end of each session, we all get together to do a critique on each individual drawing to offer advice and opinions to better ourselves as artists. My overall experience have been valuable and look forward to continuing my studies there to help supplement my academic  progression towards my Bachelor’s of Fine Art. For more information on the Tacoma Academy of Fine Art and what it has to offer, click here. Tim Mansen is a wonderful teacher and is quite knowledgeable in classical art history. Many of the techniques and tools he uses are borrowed from what the Old Masters have utilized. It’s almost like being in Leonardo DaVinci‘s atelier and being a student of his, though I am no longer young nor do I have an affair with mister DaVinci lol. You can not only find the technical side of drawing and painting at TAFA, but also an opportunity to look into the window into the past.

Every Wednesday’s 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM is his figure drawing class, which for the month of February my good friend Tanita joined as a model. Every Thursday’s 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM is the classical painting course. Feel free to ask me any questions regarding TAFA or Tim Mansen will be happy to answer your questions as well. Check out the website!



About Julian Peña

I'm a visual artist and student currently in progress to attaining a Bachelors of Fine Arts. I've been creating fantastical works of art since I was at the age of 13 years old. My work is transcendent beyond the material world and life itself. The paintings are polychromatic and visually exciting, while still maintaining a level of harmony. The subjects in many of these works of art may not exist at all despite what we perceive. It is a play on perception, an attempt to engage the viewers. I has earned numerous scholarships, participated in several group exhibitions, and already organized my own solo exhibition (CMYK, 2011). My meticulous and unique style is visually arresting. New ideas are constantly being examined and then visually communicated. Come check out my works at! I am is also currently part of the 253 Collective (a co-op) in downtown Tacoma. I currently live and work out of my loft in downtown Tacoma, WA.


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