LIAFA Instructors

Steve Forster was born in Boston but spent most of his life in central Florida. He was educated at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy and the New York Academy of Art, where he received his MFA.

He is Co-Director of the Long Island Academy of Fine Art and also teaches painting at the New York Academy of Art. Steve’s paintings have been exhibited in solo and group shows nationally and internationally and are currently represented by Island Weiss Gallery in NYC and Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor.

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LIAFA’s Co-Director and Administrator Rebecca Forster grew up in southeastern Tennessee, where it was easy to fall in love with the beauty of the mountainous landscape.  Her interest in naturalism led to her undergraduate studies in art at Union University, followed by two years in Italy, where she studied drawing and sculpture at the Florence Academy of Art. There she met her husband, Steve Forster. Returning to the States, Rebecca used the techniques she’d learned abroad to teach sculpture to students of all ages, first in Elizabeth Rogers and Cessna Decosimo’s studios in Chattanooga, TN, and then in New York City.

Manu Saluja’s work hangs in public and private collections in the US, Canada, London, Scotland and India.  Her work has been exhibited at the The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and The Reach Gallery Museum in British Columbia. Saluja is a recipient of The Stobart Foundation Grant, and a finalist in the Art Renewal Center’s 2010-2011 Salon of Contemporary Realism. Her paintings are prominently featured in Robert Lieberman’s 2011 Canadian film “Breakaway”.  In addition to her own studio projects, she is a commissioned portraitist.

Saluja trained with John Frederick Murray at the School of Visual Arts, and as a registered copyist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She received her MFA from the New York Academy of Art, and is currently adjunct faculty in their Continuing Studies program as well as instructing at LIAFA.

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Dale Zinkowski (b. 1975) currently lives and works in New York. Upon graduating from The School of Visual Arts (BFA), his influence from the traditions of the past masters brought him to the Southwest where he studied with John F. Murray. After 3 years of study in Arizona, he went on to Florence, Italy, keeping a studio, and studying for 1 year. The search for truth and knowledge led him back to New York City to study with Jacob Collins at the Grand Central Atelier, where Dale completed the Atelier’s four-year core program.

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A New York City native, Daniel G. daSilva began his career in the decorative arts studying at the Van Der Kelen School of decorative painting in Brussels and fresco painting at the Fondazione Villa Fabris in Venice. His fine arts studies continued at the Barnstone Studios in Coplay, PA, the Art Students League in NYC, and as a proud alumnus of Atelier Armetta right here at LIAFA. He most recently received his MFA from the New York Academy of Art in TriBeCa. He continues to make paintings in Brooklyn and is head artist at Felix Chavez Inc, a leading and established art restoration, conservation and design firm in New York.

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Nino Chavchavadze is passionate about teaching kids and teens and greatly enjoys seeing their willingness to interact and be engaged in learning. With her teaching methods she thrives to develop relationships with children that help them build a sense of confidence, be motivated and grow as learners. Nino is from the country of Georgia, where she attended the prestigious Tbilisi State Academy of Arts before moving to New York and continuing her education and teaching. Though she already has her Masters Degree in Fine Art from Long Island University, she is currently working on her MFA at the Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY. She also volunteers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as an art instructor in the Department of Art Education and has taught Portfolio Development courses and workshops across Long Island.

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Nino Chavchavadze

Deng “Demo” Shiqing was born in China in 1992, and she currently lives and works in New York City. She graduated from the China Central Academy of Art in 2014, after which she moved to the US and recently finished her MFA degree at the New York Academy of Art. In addition to winning many awards and fellowships, her work has been exhibited at the Met, United Nations Headquarters, National Art Museum of China, Today Art Museum in Beijing, among others here and abroad. In China, Demo gained experience teaching young artists, with a focus on portfolio-building. While in China her focus was on teaching traditional skill-building through still life and master copy, she is also eager to help our students build on their skills and stretch their creative muscles as they are ready.

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Born and raised in Claremont California, Mitchell Martinez is a New York based Figurative Artist. Working first as a scenic Artist and prop maker, Mitchell received his BFA in Entertainment Arts with a focus in Animation. Subsequently he worked as a prototype toy sculptor working freelance and for Gentle Giant studios creating maquettes, action figures, collectable figurines & movie props for such companies as Dark Horse, SLG Publishing, Pixar, Disney, Jaxx, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon and Playalong.

Mitchell attended the New York Academy of Art where he received his MFA with a concentration in anatomy. In 2011 he was awarded the CAFA/NYAA Shanghai/Beijing Residential Award, where he and three other artists were invited to show as part of the CAFAM Biennale. He is currently on faculty at the New York Academy of Art Continuing Education Department and LIAFA. Mitchell’s painting, sculpture and toys are part of private and public collections across America.

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Felicia Feldman was born in Taegu, South Korea. She was adopted when she was 3 months old, and grew up in Moline, Illinois. Throughout her youth, she planned on a career in music, playing both violin and piano, but made a decision in 2003 to pursue art instead. She decided to concentrate on representation, with an emphasis on the figure. Some notable achievements include a 4-month study with Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum, selling work at Sotheby’s Auction House, NY, and showing in juried exhibitions in Iowa, Illinois, Baltimore, and NYC.  Felicia is a 2007 graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art and a 2010 graduate of the New York Academy of Art. She currently resides in New York.

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