Atelier/Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (LAAFA)

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Atelier/Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (LAAFA)

An Independent Division of the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art



16926 Saticoy Street, Lake Balboa, United States

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Welcome to the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (LAAFA). Located in the midst of America's second largest metropolis, Los Angeles, LAAFA’s students come from all corners of the world  each with a unique background. Such diversity exposes LAAFA students to a variety of experiences and perspectives, enhancing their growth as artists and individuals. LAAFA instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach, making them keenly aware of the demands upon artists today.

LAAFA students receive individualized attention within an intimate, caring environment – with access to a huge community that offers a diverse and an incomparable amount of art, culture, food, industry, and commerce. Programs include:

>Accredited BFA Fine Art and Entertainment Art

>Accredited Certificates Fine Art and Entertainment Art

>Acrcedited Short Intensive Art Tracks for Drawing, Foundational Studies, Entertainment Art

>Extension Progam - Individual Classes, Workshops and Summer Art Program

>On-Demand Videos

Visit to begin your journey today! 


LAAFA Programs:

Accredited BFA Degree & Atelier Certificate Programs

The Fine Art concentration at LAAFA offers an accredited BFA Degree or Atelier Certificate*. Once you complete your 18-months of intensive fundamental training, you are equipped to focus on advanced painting skills, personal projects, business of art classes and mentorships with artists of your choice. After three years of study, you will leave the program with a cohesive body of work, the knowledge necessary to alter the landscape of artistic expression, and the confidence to pursue a lasting career as a successful, thought-provoking, professional artist.

The Entertainment concentration at LAAFA offers an accredited BFA Degree or Certificate*. Once you complete the 18-months of intensive fundamental training, you will move into rigorous courses in advanced drawing, painting, rendering, digital and 3D software applications as well as Business of Art courses. In addition, you have many networking opportunities with our top professional working faculty and have the opportunity to visit movie and production studios as well as gaming companies.

*The Certificate program includes the same balance curriculum with fewer general education courses required.

Accredited Intensive Art Training Tracks

The accredited Intensive Art Programs are for students who are interested in enrolling in a full-time course of study without pursing a formal degree or certificate. Tracks are open to all students who are interested in professional growth, personal development and preparatory art study.

International students are eligible for the Intensive Fundamentals Track and must be conversant in English.

Intensive Drawing Track

This 1-year sequential curriculum focuses on drawing from direct observation. Students will have a working proficiency of the human form as it relates to traditional representation in drawing. In addition, students will learn solid draftsmanship and technical skills in Classic Academic and Figure Construction, which will give students a well-developed understanding of line, form, structure, shadow, tone, light, edges, and the human anatomy.

Intensive Fundamentals Track

This 18-month sequential curriculum focuses on drawing and painting from direct observation. Students will have a working proficiency of the human form as it relates to traditional representation in drawing and painting. Students will learn solid draftsmanship and technical skills, which will give students a well-developed understanding of line, form, structure, shadow, tone, light, edges, and the human anatomy. In addition, students will explore the fundamental practices of painting. Working from the live model, students will be challenged to refine their ability to simplify what they see and create paintings that feature strong structure, clear value organization and elegant simplification.

Students in the Intensive Fundamental Track may have the opportunity to matriculate into our Degree and Certificate Programs. Contact us at for additional information.

Intensive Entertainment Track

The 18-month entertainment track is for students who have mastered their foundational skills. Students will start learning and developing concepts for creating convincing environments and imaginative characters. Aspiring artists will be well equipped for a career in the entertainment art industry.

Continuing Education Program

Our classes and workshops offer a variety of short-term art classes in drawing, painting, sculpting, digital art for students of all levels. International students may attend LAAFA classes while visiting the U.S. on a tourist visa. In certain circumstances, the student may apply for a change of status to a F-1 visa.


LAAFA Faculty represents an illustrious group of accomplished, skilled artists. Each member has been specifically chosen because of their experience and the immense amount of knowledge they possess in their given subjects. Such a wide scope of knowledge and experience allows LAAFA to offer a broad range of approaches to teaching art. You have direct access to our faculty through courses, workshops, mentorships, lectures and personal projects during your studies at LAAFA.

International Students

Full-time student body at LAAFA is made up of international students from all over the world. The students bring with them a wealth of backgrounds and perspectives that provide a well-rounded cultural experience and an ethnically diverse environment here at LAAFA. We welcome all applicants from different countries. LAAFA is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant students. We assist the students in obtaining an F-1 or M-1 visas during their studies at LAAFA.

Veterans Benefits

LAAFA is authorized by the Department of Veterans Affairs to enroll students in our full-time programs for benefits under:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33)
  • The Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30)
  • The Dependents Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 35)
  • The Vocational Rehabilitation Program (Chapter 31)
  • The Selected Reserve Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 1606)

It is recommended that applications be submitted to the VA at least two months prior to the start of the enrolling quarter. To honor the men and women who serve our country, your application fee is waived.

Applying To LAAFA

The Office of Admissions looks for prospective students who demonstrate a passion for art, a potential for growth, a strong desire to learn, and a serious commitment to become a professional artist. If you have basic skills in art, the desire to be a well-trained/knowledgeable artist, and possess the willingness to immerse yourself in intensive course of study, then you will be an excellent candidate for LAAFA.

LAAFA has a rolling admission policy. Applications are accepted until all the spots in the Full-Time Program are full. The priority dates below will give students the opportunity for scholarships, work- study opportunities and a smooth transition to school. LAAFA accepts a limited number of students for each start group.

For information about Tuition, Financing and Scholarships, please visit us online at

Accredited by National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

Founded 2002
Course languages (Check multiple if applicable) English
Accreditation BA
National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
Part-Time Instructors 50
Full-Time Instructors 10
Students 125
Accommodation Yes

Part time: USD 299 / month

Full time: USD 31993 / year


16926 Saticoy Street

Lake Balboa, California, United States

Ryan Wurmser

Ryan Wurmser is a full-time studio-artist, writer, and teacher. He attended Art Center College of Design, and studied extensively at many other academies including California Art Institute, Associates in Art , Steve Huston Studio, LAAFA, Andreeva Academy, Studio Escalier, and L’Ecole de Albert Defois.

Ryan's work has been exhibited in numerous venues including Forbes Gallery/NY, Colorado History Museum, Denver Museum of Art, Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University, Pasadena Museum of Art, USC Fisher Museum of Art, and Carnegie Art Museum. Wurmser was honored with the Gold Medal for Best Painting at the CAC’s 95th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition. He also received the Grand Prize at the “Artists for the New Century” Exhibit, and was awarded the Portrait Commission of Lord Martin CECIL.

Wurmser worked as a conceptual and visual development artist, a brief list of clients includes Landmark Entertainment Group, Disney Imagineering, Spectra Entertainment, Renaissance Entertainment, Universal Studios and Paramount Studios.

Brian Apthrop


My primary creative motive has always been emotional and thematic communication, in all forms of art. I fell in love with comic books/graphic novels as a boy, and this love and admiration for the deep poetic capacity of the medium has only increased throughout my life. While at CSU Northridge, I experimented in abstraction, but developed an abiding passion for classical and 19th-Century art—although, like comics, the latter was still largely denigrated at the time. After graduating, I studied with Glen Vilppu, while free-lancing in illustration and graphic design. My first published work in comics was for the enormously influential Neal Adams at Continuity Comics, followed by work for Dark Horse, Marvel U.K., and DC Comics, including several Batman “Specials” and a Bram Stoker Award-nominated Special of “The Dreaming”.

Daniel Bilmes


Daniel Bilmes is a contemporary painter, working in Los Angeles. His approach is characterized by deep personal exploration, combining realism with elements of symbolism and abstraction. Through tactile textures and delicate expressions, his paintings weave together the magical and mundane. His work is at once hopeful and brooding. Realistic and symbolic. Somewhere between the vitality of the Russian circus and the gravitas of a Churchill speech.

Daniel began his art education at the age of 8 under the tutelage of his father, the respected artist and educator, Semyon Bilmes. Being immersed in art from such an early age had a profound impact on his personal growth and creativity, laying a lasting foundation of curiosity that continues to drive and inform his work today.

Rey Bustos


Rey Bustos graduated as an illustrator with high honors from the Art Center College of Design in 1989. He then went on to illustrate for many companies and magazines as well as having numerous fine art exhibits. Rey Bustos has been teaching since 1990 and is now considered one of the preeminent artistic anatomy teachers in the country, he is also on the teaching staff at Disney Feature Animation. Rey Bustos teaches Analytical Figure Drawing, Drawing and Composition, 3D Anatomy/Ecorche, 2D Anatomy and a class that he created, Imaginatomy: An Anatomical Approach to Animal and Character Development.

Andrea Mosley


Andrea Mosley is a classically trained artist that studied at the atelier Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy for four years under the training of world-renowned artist, John Angel, who himself was a student of the great Pietro Annigoni.  Andrea, having won first place in the international 2009 Art Renewal Center Scholarship Competition, also received an honorable mention and was a finalist in the Art Renewal Center 2009 Salon.  She was one of 20 international students to be awarded free tuition and board in the Hudson River School summer painting course in 2008.

After completing the Fundamental Program at Angel Academy, she received a scholarship to complete their master portrait painting graduate program. While home in California, Andrea continues to teach art at college level, as well as teaching students privately in her studio.

Leon Okun


Leon Okun was born in 1980, in a small town in Siberia, Russia. In 1993 Leon’s family immigrated to San Diego. His interest in figurative art developed while taking art classes at Mesa Community College. This led him to a profound interest in figurative drawing and propelled Leon to pursue a program that would satisfy his passion for fine art.

In 2003 Leon returned to Russia to explore Russian art schools, he then decided to apply to the Repin Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. He studied here for six years and received both a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Art and a Masters Degrees in Fine Arts.


William Rodgers


William Rodgers’ path to a fulfillment in art took a circuitous route. Despite a deep interest in art and museums from an early age, he found himself pursuing a business degree at the University level. At the same time he was painting for himself and as a way to afford gifts for family and friends. Rodgers’ degree aspirations changed which resulted in degrees in Art and Art History, a Masters Degree from the New York Academy of Art and six years post-graduate study in some of the world’s top studios, including locations in Florence and Rome.

David Simon


David Simon has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has also studied at Brown University, The New York Academy of Art, and has spent considerable time in individualized study in Italy in both Rome and Carrara. He has taught sculpture in New York City at the Sculpture Center.

Glenn Vilippu


Glenn Vilppu is a world-renowned artist who has taught anatomy, drawing and painting. He has trained professionals at Rhythm and Hues and several additional studios and institutions. Glenn is the author of several books including, The Vilppu Drawing Manual and the Vilppu Sketch Book.

Vadim Zang


Vadim Zanginian was born in Armenia in 1965. Vadim graduated from the Art and Theatre Institute where he trained in Russian Academic traditions in painting the figure. His idols are Repin, Serov, Michelangelo, Sargent, Rockwell, Fechin, and Stepanian.

From 1994-2003 he worked as a graphic designer and completed many contemporary graphics logos and posters for rock singers including Cher, Paul McCartney, and Moody Blues. He also provided his graphic skills to leading companies like Guess, Harley Davidson, and Hard Rock Cafe.

Over the years, he worked out a fast learning program for Academic drawing and painting that he now shares with our students. In his art, Vadim aims to get an impression in limited time with a limited palette.

Ron Lemen


Ron Lemen has had an eclectic artistic past, working consistently in the entertainment art industry and as an art instructor. Ron first went in to the Action Sports Industry working as a layout artist, logo designer, and board graphic illustrator. Moving on to more involved illustrations and conceptual design, he went back to school and is a graduate of the Atelier System, classically trained, and a former pupil of Sebastian Capella, Spanish portrait virtuoso.

Ron Lemen has been a concept designer and art director in the video game industry for 10 years with dozens of clients including Sony, Activision, Ubi Soft, Mattel and more. Now freelancing full-time, his clients include Upper Deck, Image Comics, Birdhouse Projects, Disney, and more. In addition, to illustrating and Portrait Painting, Ron has been an art instructor for the last 16 years.

Ecorche - Rey Bustos

Untitled - William Rodgers

Mariposa - Joseph Todorovitch

Cyn - David Simon

Jared - Ron Lemen

Untitled - Vadim Zanganian

Asleep - Ryan Wurmser

All That Jazz - Andrea Mosley

Dappled Light at San Dieguito - Ron Lemen

Evening Light, 3rd & Broadway - Jon Messer

Elise - Leon Okun

Cold Turkey - Christina Ramos

State the Nature of Your Medical Emergency - Chris SooHoo

One's Own Angel - David Gray

Master Study - Vadim Zang

Song of the Blue World - Vanessa Lemen

Head Study -Juan Baron

Untitled - Elyse Fulcher

Untitled - Marina Fridman

Untitled - Rohini Sen

Untitled - Katie Lindsay

Untitled - Nat Tana

Modern Matriarch - SK Simon

Born to Lose, Live to Win - Nikita Budkov

Lute Player - Jessie Hui

Crow - Rohini Sen

September Light - Amanda Mears