Alumni Stories

Marcus Zotter

2013

/ BFA

Marcus Zotter (BFA '13) mainly works in street art and graffiti but relies on the fine art education he received at PAFA to create. “PAFA really molds the greatest artist in the United States teaching us how to do the fine arts, the most complicated work out there,” he said. “Being in Philly I was very influenced by street art and graffiti so it was really entertaining to be learning fine art sitting in front of a model and then experiencing my environment which was influenced by graffiti and street art.”

Zachary Van Horn

2018

/ MFA

It took Zachary Van Horn getting a little uncomfortable and moving to Philadelphia to become a better artist and refine his work. Van Horn says his time in the MFA program has been rigorous but rewarding. Working with PAFA’s faculty allowed him to get out of his own way when it comes to his art.

Katherine Volpe

2018

/ MFA

Katherine Volpe carries the experiences of her childhood with her every day. Her father was a 9/11 first responder who survived, and she uses her painting as a way to reflect on an event that shaped so much of her life.

Tyler Kline

2011

/ MFA

Tyler Kline (MFA ’11) manipulates photos of friends and fellow artists into video. The Philadelphia-based multimedia artist works make use of base materials and alchemical processes to translate the chaos of everyday stimulus into the universal. Kline’s videos, installations, and sculptures propose alternate structures of reality where logic is thrown out, and a direct experience with the unknown becomes possible.

Doron Langberg

2010

/ Certificate

Connections are key to artist Doron Langberg’s (Cert. ‘10) work. His work often features Langberg’s friends, family, and lovers in everyday settings. He hopes by sharing his connections and relationships that people will see him as accessible and relatable.

Inga Kimberly Brown

2014

/ BFA

Inga Kimberly Brown (BFA ’14) likes to keep busy. Whether she’s creating work for an exhibition at the Amelia Center Gallery in Florida or working on commissions, she always tries to have a paintbrush in her hand. The PAFA graduate recently completed a work for the 3rd Regiment United States Colored Troops Reenactors.

Liza Samuel

2017

/ BFA

Liza Samuel (BFA '17) traveled to California, Arizona, Texas, and Arkansas with the help of the J. Henry Schiedt Memorial Travel Scholarship. The scholarship allowed her to spend 30 days collecting materials such as dirt, burnt wood, and rocks, which she used to make her own paint.

Jonathan Chase

2016

/ MFA

“One of my favorite things about the program in my time here was that I was able to sort of make the mistakes that maybe I wouldn’t have been able to do as freely if I were at another program. The faculty and my peers were open to sharing ideas and having a dialogue. I thought that was really terrific.”

Madeline Peckenpaugh

2015

/ BFA

In the fall of 2016, Peckenpaugh spent a month in Nepal through the PAFA Fellowship’s Patan Museum Residency. On the last day, she inadvertently drank contaminated water and contracted typhoid. Making the most of a situation to better her work is Peckenpaugh’s style—read more to learn how that experience has profoundly shaped her approach.

Emmitt Smith

2017

/ MFA

“I liked the location [of PAFA], and I liked the museum history paired with contemporary context. People encourage you to push the boundaries of your ideas."

Josias Figueirido

2017

/ MFA

"PAFA challenged me about was it meant to be a professional artist. PAFA gave me another level. PAFA gave me a professionalism that I didn’t have. It made me want to be competitive. It taught me that when I go to MOMA, when I go to the Whitney, I have to think about how to put my work here. I have to say being close to New York City has been very important to me. When I go to Chelsea, I think how do I bring my work here? It’s not a matter of thinking that I’m good enough, but it’s my responsibility as an artist to a part of this conversation that is happening. It’s my responsibility to be in the places that have a say in the art world. It gave me a healthy ambition, because I really feel responsible to do my best."

Adam Lovitz

2012

/ MFA

“The lure of PAFA was its connection to Philly, and how this would provide a sort of bedrock to my early professional years as an artist. Reflecting on this, I felt charged by the atmosphere of Philly, and found something very special in the intimacy and legacy of PAFA. Upon visiting the MFA program, I was convinced that while PAFA has deep roots as an academic institution of the past, it also has a commitment to incubating artists who are living in the now. This duality was nourishing for me.”

Brittany Bennett

2015

/ Penn BFA

"I am at an advantage for applying to jobs, internships, and graduate programs in scientific illustration because not only can I draw—but I can understand the science of what I’m drawing."

Niloofar Gholamrezaei

2012

/ MFA

"Cultural norms in Iran made it difficult to organize or participate in figure drawing clubs. I decided to join a program that gave me this possibility."

Phebe Hemphill

1987

/ Certificate

Work by PAFA’s accomplished alumni can be found everywhere. You might even have creations by one alumna in your pocket right now.

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