Russian-born artist Ilya Lerner is currently serving as a visiting professor in the art department, where he is teaching Introduction to Drawing during the spring 2012 semester.
“I really enjoy the atmosphere on campus, because the small student to faculty ratio helps to create a familial atmosphere and allows me to connect with my students on a more personal level,” explains Lerner, who is the owner of Lerner Studio Art School, a private art school in Binghamton, N.Y. “My students take the course work very seriously because most of them are planning a major in the arts, whereas at other schools where I’ve taught, the students tend to specialize in other areas and take art as an elective.”
Having a rigorous academic education in both Russia and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Lerner provides students with the tools they need to develop their own artistic style.
“I have a lot of fundamental skills that young people should have from the very beginning in order to build on them later in their academic careers,” says Lerner. “I feel that my method is unique because it allows even for beginner students to produce a finished artwork while integrating study of perspective, measurements, values and other fundamentals of 2D art.”
Born in Moscow, Russia, Lerner has been involved in the fine arts since his early childhood, receiving in-depth training in the famed classical tradition of Russian art. Since the age of 20, Lerner has been a professional artist. In addition, after coming to the U.S. in 1990, he worked as a programmer for a few years while continuing to paint and show his work.
Currently, Lerner works primarily en plein air (outdoors) but also paints figurative work, portraits, still-lifes, and is a master draftsman and sculptor. His style is rooted in Impressionist/Realist tradition amalgamated with Modernist and contemporary influences.
Lerner was mentored by the leading contemporary realist painter George Nick, who included Lerner’s work in the upcoming show, titled “Galvanized Truth: A Tribute to George Nick,” which will run from May 20 until Sept. 9 at The Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Mass.
Lerner’s work has been featured in more than 30 group exhibitions and was the subject of 10 solo shows, including a major retrospective in the Roberson Museum in Binghamton, N.Y. He just received the Vasari Classic Oil Colors Grant and has previously been the recipient of the annual El Paso Museum of Art Purchase Award, a Cultural Connections grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and Arts Council of Houston and a Special Opportunity Stipend from the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Prior to teaching at HWS, Lerner held positions at The Art School in Vestal, N.Y., Oregon State University, Chautauqua Institution School of Art and Lee College as well as painting workshops in Norman, Oklahoma, and the Fundacion Valparaiso in Mojacar, Spain. He has also completed residencies at the Mill Atelier Gallery, Buffalo River National Park and the Vermont Studio Center.
Lerner received a B.S. in Management Information Systems from Moscow Technical University of Communications, and his MFA in Studio Art from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
For more information about Lerner and to see some of his paintings, go to: www.lernerart.com