Cropped images of paintings (clockwise) by Atelier Dojo Founders Jennifer Balkan, Denise M. Fulton, Karen Offutt and Karen Maness
MORE ABOUT THE FOUNDERS:
Jennifer Balkan grew up with a pencil in hand. She studied neuroscience and obtained her Ph.D. after conducting anthropological fieldwork in Mexico. She longed for artistic creativity and soon thereafter sought out painting classes, open studio sessions and book study where she pieced together training in representational oil painting. She has been teaching figure and portrait painting in oils to private groups of students since 2005. Her work has been exhibited across the United States and in Europe and has been featured in a number of national and international art publications. Her portraits have received awards by the Portrait Society of America. She was named “Best Visual Artist of 2015” by the Austin Chronicle’s Readers’ Poll. In 2016, Jennifer was invited by the Academy of Realist Art in Boston to participate in their figure painting competition. In 2017, she was included in Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine’s photo essay on leading contemporary figurative painters. This year, Jennifer was nominated by the Austin Critics Table for Austin’s Best Visual Artist of 2018.
Denise M. Fulton earned a BFA in painting and pattern design before entering the corporate world for over two decades. She oversaw the development of high profile video games at Microsoft, Dreamworks, Electronic Arts, Eidos and Midway while still spending her free time honing her painting skills. She left the boardroom in 2009 to pursue a career in the professional fine arts. Since then she has exhibited her work in prestigious shows across the country and organized and curated local exhibitions: Painters Painting Painters at Davis Gallery in 2016 and Refigured: Radical Realism at the Dougherty Arts Center in 2018.
Karen L. Maness is the principal instructor of scenic art and figurative painting for the University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre & Dance and Scenic Art Supervisor at Texas Performing Arts. She studied theatrical design and studio art at Whittier College, advanced translucent backdrop painting at Cobalt Studios and continued her atelier education at The Florence Academy of Art. She is the is the co-author of the award-winning The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop, the definitive behind-the-scenes history of Hollywood’s motion picture scenic art. She has worked extensively in regional theatre, themed attractions, industrial display, film and music tours, teaching master painting classes in the United States and abroad. Her studio practice includes public art, exhibitions, consultation and corporate commissions. Her paintings have been exhibited nationally and are held in private collections worldwide.
Karen Offutt is a native Texas figurative artist who was self-taught until she decided to endeavor in a more formal approach to her education at Austin Fine Arts Classes. From there, she attended workshops from nationally renowned artists of today to refine her skills. She focuses on drawing and painting with oils while taking a more introspective approach to her art. Since 2002, her work has been exhibited all across the country as well as being featured in major art publications. And her portraits have received awards by the Portrait Society of America and Oil Painters of America. Since 2017, her work has been included in the Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine’s photo essay titled “More Than Just Faces.” And this year, she was featured in the May issue of Southwest Art Magazine.