Robert Hagan was born in Murwillumbah, Australia. He graduated from University with an Arts degree in Economics and a Diploma in Education. His first exhibition was at the Woollahra Galleries in 1974, which Hagan claims was "largely unsuccessful, but encouraging."
He spent much of his twenties wandering and painting, teaching intermittently. After three years of this painstaking self-teaching and over-thinking, Hagan claims he had a breakthrough on the beach. The simplicity of nature led him to the revelation that he needed but a few colors to capture its brilliance. Thus, his painting career began at the beach, where he painted every variety of seaside life for two years.
From 1980 to 1988, Hagan held numerous successful exhibitions in Australia. Hagan moved to San Diego in 1991 to paint America's Cup battle. He published his second book of Australian paintings, "Cherished Moments," his book of artwork and prose celebrating women and children.
Victoria Kovalenchikova was born in Mogilev, Belarus, but currently lives and works out of Amsterdam. She studied at the Belarusian State Academy of Arts, honing her skills, and was a professor teaching painting and drawing at Belarusian State Pedagogic University, beginning in 2002.
In 2011 Kovalenchikova won an award from The Ministry of Culture of The Republic of Belarus for Enriching and Promoting Arts and Culture. Kovalenchikova has also been awarded the prestigious Gold Medal of Honor ‘LORENZO Il MAGNIFICO’, at the VIII International Florence Biennale of Contemporary Art in 2011.
Jeff Vermeeren was born and raised in Calgary, Canada, a place that is well known for its entrepreneurial spirit. Vermeeren has always believed in the value of ingenuity, fearlessness, and unyielding optimism. These values served as a guiding influence in his life and have driven him to reach higher, dig deeper, and push the limits of possibility.
Vermeeren found inspiration at a young age through exploration and discovery, always manipulating and repurposing everyday items. Today he is the owner/operator of a very successful demolition and excavation company. Still, he has an intense passion for creating rebellious and abstract art.
Using a combination of fire, ice, pressure, and a wide range of unstable chemicals, he uses vivid colors to infuse a variety of emotions, moods, and wonder in each piece. No two pieces are alike, and there is no way to duplicate his artwork. This unique form of art is a perfect medium through which Vermeeren can share his electric personality and explosive ideas.
Taking inspiration from The West, nature, and the female figure, Graeme Hagan paints with sincerity and focus. He continues on the legacy of his father through painting in the Impressionist style, although Hagan's unique perspective shines through. Hagan's color palette can take on a moodier, darker tone than his father's.
Steve Kaufman was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1960. The middle child, surrounded by an extended family, many of whom were painters and sculptors that were a significant influence on him and his views on art. His mother painted high fashion oils on canvas, and his uncles taught him sculpting.
Kaufman commented on his family, "They taught me that being an artist is always changing. So I tried all different forms of art, and today I have 15 different styles that I work in. Art should always be about change. Many artists will work in one medium their whole career, but I didn't want ever to get bored. I was taught that canvas was not the only thing to paint on."
Kaufman had his first show at the age of eight, at a Jewish Temple in the Bronx. A synagogue also sponsored him. He held his first one-person art show at a Bronx bank, the art of which was later donated to the Jewish Holocaust Memorial in Brooklyn, New York.
In 1975, Kaufman participated in a group graffiti art show at the prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art. The young Kaufman, having been tutored by an architect friend, projected his grandfather's images of the holocaust on rounds of woodcuts from trees.
Nikolai Blokhin was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1968. His education in art began early at the age of 12 at the Art School for Gifted Children. Three years after graduating from the prestigious St. Petersburg Academy of Arts and finishing his post-graduate practical training, Blokhin began his teaching career. Today, Nikolai Blokhin is a Professor of Drawing at the Academy.
Blokhin's first success was in portrait painting with an Impressionist influence. "I try to penetrate the person and capture his or her soul on canvas," explains Blokhin. "The eyes and how they look are the most important part of the portrait," evidenced in observing any of Blockhin's portrait paintings or drawings, reminiscent of Rembrandt to some art collectors.
Blokhin's paintings are part of many museums and private collections. His works are well recognized by the general public and specialists in Russia and far beyond exceptional beauty. Among his many honors is the Grand Prize Award in the 2002 International Portrait Competition of the American Society of Portrait Artists at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Best of Show in the 2004 International Portrait Competition of the Portrait Society of America.
Bret Ashley Moore began working professionally as a decorative artist at a young age, becoming interested in decorative art while working on conservation projects of cathedrals and state capitols. Moore came to appreciate the history recorded in the layers of various decorative campaigns that had preceded him.
During the restoration of his home, Moore became enamored by the physical traces discovered of the many souls who had previously made the house a home. Items such as matchbooks from the 1920s found under layers of flooring, letters with elegant handwriting dated over a century ago, or old photographs of soldiers who had sent snapshots home during the war. These placeholders of moments from a recent past fueled his imagination.
Renée Tay is a local artist born and raised in Southern California. Tay has training as both a fine artist and commercial artist. She has entertained various careers such as dresser-wardrobe for the opera, traveling with Broadway, art studio manager, Disney, fish hatchery, costume design for Mattel, and more, but her passion has always been art. Tay found success early on, at the age of seventeen when the San Diego Museum of Art featured one of her paintings. Since then, she has had exhibits throughout her career in various cities, including San Diego, Laguna, Newport Beach, Las Vegas, Nevada, Santa Fe, and New Mexico.
Tay has a unique style that focuses on fantasy realism while utilizing a pointillist-visionary technique. This stylistic approach of small, vibrant dots to make a larger image, combined with inspiration from the folk art of Europe, Russia, and Mexico and visionary-art influences, create a one-of-a-kind style.
Tay's father worked at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and her family has lived on the coast for generations. Being raised near the ocean has always been a source of inspiration for her. Many of her paintings are reminiscent of her creative imagination of mermaids, mysterious luminous feminine beings, or fairies conjured up from hidden fantasy realms.