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Amanda Mears

In what ways has LAAFA helped you grow as an artist/designer?
When I came here I had very little art education.  The instructors at LAAFA have brought my work to a level of draftsmanship which I never thought possible.  In addition, the mentored classes have helped me find my voice as an artist and guided me as I develop a body of personal work.  The school has a strong critique system which has also helped me learn how to talk intelligently about my work as well as how to process criticism and use it to make my work stronger.

Have you found any faculty members particularly inspirational or thought-provoking?
I have so many favorites in the faculty! Rey Bustos’ anatomy classes have been entertaining and invaluable, Will Weston gave me a whole new perspective on picture-making and my mentored classes with David Simon and Eric Pedersen have been instrumental in helping me find a personal voice.  I have also really benefited from the art history classes which have broadened and deepened my understanding of art-making.

When you are not in school or studying, what do you like to do around L.A.?
LA has a vibrant fine-art community and I regularly go to gallery openings, art walks and museum shows.  I also love movies and LA has some of the best big-screen theaters in the world!  LA is surrounded by parks and wilderness spaces and so it is a wonderful place to go landscape sketching and painting – there are deserts, forests, coastlines and striking urban environments to inspire us.  We often go as a group to parks and museums to sketch and paint.

Why did you choose to attend LAAFA?
LAAFA made sense to me as I really wanted to focus on my studio skills.  LAAFA offered me an opportunity to draw and paint intensively for 3 years so that I could really improve my skill level.  I wanted to make work that deals with the human form and its place in the world and so it made sense to come to a school that has such a strong emphasis on anatomy and figure drawing.  I was also attracted by LAAFA’s small class sizes and intimate atmosphere.