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Come Meet Local Artists !
Leonard Carapezza Jose Luis Diaz Marianne Friedrichs Steven Gorden Alisa Hernandez Ginger Lai Carl Mikeman Behzad Nazary Gene Pabalan Michael Song Oleg Tsank Sasha Toporovsky (Alex) John Wu Vernon Willson Guoqiang Yang Sussan Afrasiabian
Artist Biography
As a youngster, Leonard Carapezza was influenced by watching his uncle paint. From then on his interest in art grew, and his abilities in art. Art is a very prevalent element in Leonard's family. His younger brother possesses this talent, and his wife and grandson work as graphic artists in Chicago. Most of his art is done in oil painting, although Leonard is also fond of using pen and ink, watercolor and pastels. Lighthouses and trains are the subjects of many of his paintings, but other subjects include landscapes, still lifes, whimsical objects and some abstract and impressionism studies. His art has appeared in many museums and events. Affiliations include Balboa Park Art Association, Mission Bay Art Guild, East County Art Association, Associated Fine Artists, Spanish Village Art Center.
Jose Luis Diaz studied fine arts for many years in Peru. He learned many styles of art, many different types of paintings. When his classes ended, he was told it was time for him to paint in his own style. He found this difficult since as a student he had been learning about other artists’,styles; he did not know yet what his style was. He now paints beautiful portraits in a vibrant realistic style.
As a third generation San Diegan, Marianne has a deep appreciation for the ocean and its unique inhabitants. Many of her paintings and drawings are inspired by the local coastline and sea creatures. Because of Marianne’s fascination with color, she experiments extensively with different hues and their relationships to one another. Much of her vibrant work has a sense of atmosphere and whimsy. Friedrich has a BA in Studio Art and is currently working on her Master’s in Illustration. Her hobbies include drawing for hours, surfing and hanging out with family.
Born and raised in Chicago, self taught, Steven has been painting murals for 16 years. He is talented in many styles of art including abstract, photorealistic, comic book style and 3D. His experience as an artist and as a muralist partnering with other artists in the city of Chicago demonstrates his ability to work creatively with others.
Born and raised in San Diego, California, Alisa Hernandez was introduced to art at a young age. Throughout her years in grade school, she realized that her career goal is to become an artist. Alisa decided to continue her art education at San Diego State University where she earned a BA in Applied Arts and Sciences (emphasis in Painting & Printmaking). During her college years, she showcased in multiple art shows that took place in San Diego and Long Beach.In addition, she became a part of an art organization called RAW: Natural Born Artists. In May 2015, RAW hosted an art show at the House of Blues which opened up numerous opportunities for this young artist, such as potential buyers, other art shows, and a published book about her art. Alisa enjoys working with oil paints on canvas and working in a realistic style. She is inspired by everyday sightings and is interested in horror/thriller. She focuses on dark humor and aims to achieve paintings that are amusing, yet disturbing as well. She creates images of animals eating themselves because she is interested in cannibalism and the idea of survival of the fittest. Furthermore, she paints familiar environments with animals acting as humans to relay the absurdity of human consumption. All in all, Alisa hopes to continue painting throughout her life and following her childhood dream to become a full working artist.
Ginger Lai, an artist from Taipei, Taiwan, has always had a strong passion for art. Ginger hopes that each of her pieces will inspire and challenge viewers with novel revelations. She channels experience from her psyche through the brush onto paper. The contents of her pieces represent both images in the world and thought-forms of the mind. The simplicity in her pieces express ultimate freedom. Yet in other paintings there is a loss of almost everything while desperately clinging to the few things within our grasp. Ginger teaches classes in abstract form, how to use brush strokes and choose watercolor pigments.
Trained in optics and image quality, Carl Mikeman opened his “Image Master” photo studio in Springfield, Virginia, specializing in portraits, animals and antique aircraft. After receiving a commission to take photos in Scotland, Carl expanded into old architectural subjects. Then he started photographing nude portrait subjects which were exhibited at several Virginia and Washington, DC galleries. He was interviewed by radio stations across the country and on WMAL-TV in Washington, where his art was featured. Carl developed a unique serigraphic technique with oils and began silk screening fine arts. Upon moving to San Diego he opened the “Image Master” photography and serigraphy studio and gallery in Old Town. He joined the San Diego Art Institute where he exhibited, lectured on color, and taught the screening process he had developed. Carl was elected to the Board of Directors of the San Diego Art Institute and later became President. He is currently a member of the Oceanside Museum of Art’s Artists Alliance and he is currently participating in several exhibits in San Diego and Southern California. His art techniques were inspired by the Japanese block printers Hokusai and Hiroshige and the American artist Maxfield Parrish.
Behzad Nazary was born in 1959. Colored pencils were his best friends in childhood; the most exciting time in his life has been when he's painting. After graduating with a degree in Engineering he continued his professional artistic activity. In 35 years of continual work he has had 12 solo exhibitions and participated in over 30 group exhibitions in Iran, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Dubay, Germany, France, Italy, Holland and the USA. Throughout his professional career he has received awards and citations from painting biennials, competitions, art museums and art societies. He is a member of the Society of Iranian Painters. The structure of his paintings is based on earth, trees, flowers and plants. The compositions are not complex and the elements are not more than a few. He doesn't focus on details, choosing the simplest forms of the language of painting to express the complexities of nature and the world. After immigrating to the United States he settled in San Diego where he has started a new and exciting period of his artistic life.
Born in the Philippines, Gene moved to San Diego 15 years ago. He studied Game Art Design at the Art Institute of California. Gene worked as Production Artist for a Game Studio three years, did graphic design for a Design Studio four years. Skilled in traditional art and digital art, Gene has strong visual imagery skills honed by his experience developing video games.
Born in 1984 in Lanzhou, China, Michael received his bachelor’s degree at Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, and a master’s degree at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. His paintings have earned great recognition in many art shows where he demonstrated his unique style art. In addition to his extensive art show experience, he taught at art school in Lanzhou. Now he is located in Guangzhou, China, and continues creating new artworks. His stylish art is inspired by realistic and imagined landscapes - dreamy, lively, and mysterious.
Oleg Tsank is a professional artist residing in San Diego. Oleg was born in Ukraine. Growing up he was fascinated with scenic views of Southern Ukraine, the Dnieper river banks and the famous Ukrainian chestnut trees in blossom. At age 12, Oleg moved to the United States with his family. He was immediately inspired by the new scenery, and while attending middle school he decided to become an artist. During those years he was recognized for his art as a 1st place winner of the Blue Ribbon Poster Contest in La Mesa City. Oleg graduated from San Diego State University with honors. He is influenced by the School of Paris, in particular by Chaim Soutine and Amadeo Modigliani, and the Expressionists. With everything around us constantly changing, he is not recording the world with photographic accuracy. Instead he reflects the psychological and physiological changes in people and their surroundings. Oleg interprets those changes through spontaneous marks and a subjective palette. Although Oleg is a gifted portraitist, he also works in the genres of landscape and still life painting. Oleg is interested in the way the forces of nature shape the visible world. In order to capture this interaction of natural elements, he relies on oils - a medium which he finds is most fascinating and suitable for his work. He believes that unlike other fluid media, oil paints have a life of their own, they are extremely versatile and expressive materials.
Sasha was born in the city of Lvov, Ukraine in 1971. At that time, it was a Province of Russia. Sasha immigrated to the United States with his family to flee from Communism. He turned five years old in Rome, Italy, while his family was waiting for a visa to make the move to the States. Upon their arrival in the US, Sasha’s family settled in Chicago. At the age of nine, he and his mother relocated to Santa Barbara, CA. Sasha moved to San Diego, CA in 1985, where he attended high school and college. Since then he has lived all over California, from Santa Cruz and Arcata in Northern California, and then returned to San Diego to raise his own family. This was also where Sasha started his Decorative Arts company. Sasha’s art work and themes are constantly developing. Water in one form or another comes into play in many of his paintings. Growing up in Southern California, Sasha has always been influenced by the culture of Hollywood and the vivid colors of movies and magazines - and the natural beauty of California. Sasha recently took a break from painting on traditional surfaces such as canvas, linen and board and started painting on metal – stainless steel to be specific. This came about because one of Sasha’s clients wanted to commission a koi fish painting with one stipulation: the painting had to feel ultra-modern, to match all the metal work in his house. Sasha decided to create the painting on distressed stainless steel with a majority of the metal showing through in the painting. This technique would prove to be a turning point in the artist's career. Since then, Sasha paints exclusively on metal. Sasha realized that people are a lot like fish. They are both drawn to shiny things, so why not make shiny art! One of the most dramatic effects of Sasha’s work is the dancing of light on the metal canvas, which changes and moves as the viewer moves around the artwork. This effect is caused because Sasha burnishes the stainless steel before painting over it. The burnishing leaves grooves that capture then reflect the light back to the viewer, creating a 3D illusion of moving light. This strategy together with Sasha’s use of vibrant thick brush strokes helps the eye dance across his painting.
John Wu is an artist from Lingnan district, Guangdong, China, where Chinese calligraphy and painting are popular. Born in 1951, John was very interested in artsince childhood and studied under the famous Guangdong artists Lian Deng and Wu Yunfeng. Later he was admitted to Guangzhou Academy and studied with Lingnan school master Lvye Ye, learning to paint flowers and birds. He emigrated to America in 1989 and took part in the Chinese Calligraphy & Painting Literati Show. He is active in the Bookstore Calligraphy Exhibition and other shows in the US. He has a special love for fish, which seem to come alive in his paintings. His works are popular and appreciated by many art enthusiasts.
An artist from San Diego, who has more than 50 years of drawing experience, focusing on real life and landsacpe with different styles and skills. He has been working on his art all his life, and exploring nature with a passion. Vernon is a master at acrylics and oil painting.
Born in Guangdong 1983, Guoqiang earned his BA at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and his MA in the China Central Academy Of Fine Arts. He has earned a solid reputation for his art, and received awards for his achievements. Guoqiang launched his own shows every year in China, especially in Guangdong. His works highlight the beauty in the world of imagination, leading the viewers into a fantasy experience. He is inspired by his independent translation of life and emotion. It is simple but developed.
She always fascinated by the arts, and pursued her passion for this subject from high school. Already an astute art and literary works student, she also studied the science of photography and the art of sculpturing. However, it was painting that captured her true self. The effect of studying the art of sculpture and simultaneously working with troubled children affected her painting style dramatically. Their desperate plight reflected by vacant eyes and a sense of hopelessness helped to inspire her need to express her feelings about the strength of mankind, life, and hope for a better future. Her style combined with her symphony of colors reflects the true feeling of the artist. In keeping with her strong sense of commitment to the plight of modern man, she has contributed part of her time and works of art to various international fund raising events and art shows. Years of experiencing increased her desire to demonstrate through her artwork just how beautiful life can be and that the prevailing goodness of mankind will always leave us with the gifts of hope and a better life. She has received multiple awards for her art work in US and abroad. In 1993 she participated in an art show presented by Iranian Contemporary Museum of Art, introducing current Iranian artists, at which one of her art work ( "Brakfast" 30 X 40 inch ) was purchased by the Museum.
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please call our gallery 619-382-2326, or email us at ContactUs@OilPaintingTown.com.

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