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Join date: Jun 29, 2021


I was born and raised in Ventura California where my artistic journey began. I completed my formal Classical Fine Art Training in Florence Italy where I spent 6 years studying, teaching and working. In 2011, I returned to San Francisco to establish a professional Fine Art painting studio.

I met my beautiful wife, the amazing portrait and figurative sculptor Alicia N. Ponzio, in Italy where we studied and lived together, struggling to support ourselves as art students. Puccini’s La Boheme could not have described our time abroad any better (minus Mimi dying of course).

Back in San Francisco, we began teaching: sharing the techniques learned in Italy and in our own professional experience, at various studios, schools and institutions. In 2014 we opened up the only Classical Realist Atelier in San Francisco, JHess Studios. In 2019 we relocated JHess Studios to a beautiful 3,000sqft space in North Beach, where Alicia and I create and teach. JHess Studios occupies the 2nd floor of a historic North Beach building (1907), just one block from Washington Square Park. All are welcome to come and visit!

The majority of my current professional work is mostly commissioned portraiture in oil. Whether it be personal, private, corporate, institu

tional or family commissions, I work exclusively in Oil Paint on Belgian Linen and hand-make every color and canvas I use from scratch, in the same tradition as the Old Masters. In 2011 I wrote a manual for professional painters which describes some of these techniques: Controlling the Creative Process - A Painter’s Guide to Methods & Materials.

Some of the best advice I received as a student (and now impart to my own) is that a true painter should be well versed and equally skilled in all genres of painting... and that is what I strive to achieve.

While the late 19th century and the belle époque of society portraiture is by far my greatest influence and love, I try to stay constantly open and aware of all new forms of art and interpretation as one never knows where inspiration will arise.


Justin Hess

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