Ani Art Academy can teach anyone to paint realism
RED BANK – If you think artists are born with talent, think again.
“Great artists aren’t born, they’re educated – that’s kind of a catchphrase I came up with,” said Tim Reynolds, president of Ani Art Academies.
Ani Art Academies is a global non-profit organization that aims to teach students how to paint realistically.
There are Ani Art Academies in Anguilla, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Pennsylvania and a site under construction in Sri Lanka.
Another studio is under construction at Red Bank.
“Ani’s original idea was to provide free, world-class art education to people in developing countries,” said Reynolds, of Middletown. “My idea was to give people a skill they could use to make a good living in a more meaningful way with tourists.”
The Red Bank studio is exclusively for veterans with disabilities.
“It’s a departure from my original goal… (but) it worked really well in those places and I thought why not help the people who have made this ultimate sacrifice for their country.”
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No art therapy
Ani Art Academies at Red Bank is not an art therapy program.
“The goal here is to teach people job skills, it’s not going to be a joke,” Reynolds said. “There’s going to be one of the best art schools in the world right here at Red Bank, and it’s going to be for veterans with disabilities.”
There were always plans to build “mainstream” schools in developing countries, Reynolds said, and his career on Wall Street would play a part.
Then he read two books by Irving Stone that changed his vision of art.
“(Stone) argues that Michelangelo and Vincent van Gogh weren’t born geniuses, but were actually very hardworking guys,” said Reynolds, who called van Gogh’s early works “bad.”
“They (van Gogh’s drawings) were like you’d see in a bad high school art show, but he worked very hard and his later drawings are absolutely brilliant,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds changed his plan to build traditional schools overseas. About five years ago, he had the idea of teaching people to paint realistic oil paintings, which they could sell for a very high price.
“I ended up going to a community that didn’t have a basic education. You can always learn to paint,” Reynolds said.
In 2012, he quit his job on Wall Street.
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The Waichulis program
Reynolds and Red Bank studio teacher Kevin A. Moore of Bridgewater studied with Anthony Waichulis.
Waichulis directs Ani Art Academies Waichulis in Pennsylvania. So far, all international teachers of Ani Art Academies have studied under Waichulis.
Reynolds discovered Waichulis when former teacher Timothy Jahn studied with him and improved dramatically.
“We couldn’t understand how Tim had made such a leap forward in his artistic ability, and he said, ‘Oh, everyone who studies with Anthony Waichulis has this same result,’ and I thought – what? Says Reynolds.
Reynolds commissioned Waichulis to create DVDs for Ani Art Academies, detailing his method. Waichulis agreed and the DVDs are used to teach the same curriculum to all of Ani’s schools. His home studio has been transformed into the Ani Art studio.
“I found that just an average person, a person with average intelligence – you have to have a bit of motivation, you have to be willing to do the exercises – we can take just an average person and teach them to paint so well that you won’t be able to tell if it’s a photograph or a painting,” Reynolds said.
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Students aren’t limited to painting only in the style of realism, said Moore, Ani Red Bank’s teacher.
“This program actually gives you the creative freedom to do whatever you want with these materials, because you have such a level of control over the brush or the charcoal, so you can do whatever you want with them, can communicate n’ any idea,” Moore said. .
The Red Bank studio, located at 143 Broad Street, is set to open in February.
Ani Art Academies is not an accredited institution, but tuition at Ani Art Academies is free, as are all art materials. The schools are supported by the Tim Reynolds Foundation and Ani Villas International.
The program lasts three to four years. Twenty-one students will be admitted to Red Bank. Interested students can apply online at www.aniartacademies.com. Students are admitted year-round.
A gallery of works from Ani Art Academies is available online.
“Ani comes from a Swahili word ‘andjani’ which means to be on a journey or on a path to somewhere,” Reynolds said. “The reason I used that word for schools is because an arts education is just that. They will complete the program, but then they will travel for the rest of their lives.
Devin Loring; 732-643-4035; [email protected]