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About Us

The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (LAAFA) was founded in 2002 by Maryam Storm and Leo Stok.   LAAFA was started with the intention to fulfill a need in our community by offering figurative classes that would be taught by professional and talented artists.  In no time, the school had built a strong reputation as a learning institution that provided high quality foundational training.  To this day, LAAFA continues to be recognized as one of the few and premier institutions imparting time-honored skills praised by contemporary figurative and entertainment artists.  With the retirement of Leo Stok in 2007, Maryam Storm, as the sole owner of LAAFA remains committed to providing our community with a place of learning where students can pursue their artistic goals and thrive in their art education.

Since LAAFA is located in Los Angeles county, our students have the opportunity to explore the many fine art districts, theatres, galleries, museums as well as large commercial and small independent entertainment and design studios.  Our illustrious faculty is comprised of professional fine and entertainment artists who share their wisdom, passion and expertise with each student.  In addition, our dedicated staff will go above and beyond to anticipate the students’ needs to ensure that their experience at LAAFA is rewarding.  LAAFA’s ability to offer affordable, low cost tuition programs as well as providing its students with an intimate, unique and progressive atmosphere makes LAAFA a preferred choice in art education.

LAAFA has been selected as one of the Top 10 Best Art Schools in the World by the well respected art publication, American Artist Magazine.

Our Programs

LAAFA’s Programs are designed to develop artists at any stage of their artistic careers.  LAAFA‘s Extension Program is available for artists who are unable to commit to a full-time intensive curriculum.  For those students who are interested in being immersed in a 3-year course of study, we offer BFA and Atelier Programs for both Fine Art and Entertainment Art.  Our Entertainment Art Program starts with building a foundation of traditional skills and concludes with digital entertainment related courses.  This unique combination of classic and contemporary practices provides our students with a truly effective ability to enhance, facilitate, and authenticate digital and entertainment art.  Our Fine Arts Program also starts with a foundation of traditional skills, however, it concludes with independent-study orientated courses.   This unique curriculum combines the capacity to effectively represent the visual world, with introspective and critical thinking practices, and produces singular, original, and provocative artists.  Our graduates leave our school with the required skill sets needed to pursue an invigorating and lasting career in the contemporary art world.

Mission Statement


The primary purpose of the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (LAAFA) is to educate and train artists in both the technical and philosophical use of the figure as it pertains to representation in the fields of drawing, painting and entertainment art.


LAAFA’s mission is to re-instill and maintain the rigorous educational approaches that have been gleaned from centuries of studio practice, while engaging students in the contemporary discourse of the traditional and digital art world. LAAFA provides a strong foundational education in drawing, painting, composition and design tempered with a realization that students and faculty work in a progressive era where art is more than simple representation, and that its multifaceted manifestations include gallery art, public art, animation, live action film, and game design.  LAAFA acknowledges that art is and will remain as an important source of social, political and existential expression and awareness.


LAAFA aims to develop student competency in the following:

  • A working proficiency of the human form as it relates to traditional representation in drawing and painting;
  • Craftsmanship and technical skill in the use of materials and methods; an awareness of these in historical and contemporary modes;
  • Knowledge of the history of art and artistic thought;
  • The ability to think critically about concepts, philosophies, events and issues in contemporary art;
  • A commitment to the pursuit of artistic excellence;
  • Respect and tolerance for authenticity and diversity in the search for intellectual and aesthetic integrity;
  • An understanding of contemporary business practices as they relate to career opportunities available in the professional world.
  • The ability to think, speak, write and express ideas clearly.
  • An understanding and experience of the Arts outside of the visual arts.
  • The ability to synthesize all skills and knowledge in the development of a body of work.
  • Assessment of quality in their own work and the work of others.
  • Autonomous decision making as an artist, and the ability to make sophisticated artistic choices in one’s own work.

LAAFA offers two degrees and two areas of study:

  1. A Bachelor of Fine Art, with a concentration in Fine Arts or Entertainment Art
  2. A Certificate with concentration in Fine Art or Entertainment Art.

Fine Art Program Mission Statement:

The Fine Arts program will educate students in a professional level of understanding and proficiency in representational drawing and painting as it pertains to the historical and contemporary practice of using the human figure in art. Further, this program will educate students in principles of pictorial composition, drawing, color theory and their many applications in the realms of drawing and painting. Fine Arts students will achieve the ability to make and present work that demonstrates perceptual acuity, conceptual understanding, and technical facility with the goal of intellectual and philosophical visual communication and expression. An education in LAAFA’s Fine Arts concentration will cultivate a sense of artistic responsibility to make work that communicates in a broad cultural and social context. It is LAAFA’s intention that the purposes, goals and outcomes of an education in the Fine Arts program are consistent and compatible with the parent mission statement.

Entertainment Art Program Mission Statement:

The Entertainment Art Program provides students with a comprehensive education and development of the philosophical, conceptual and practical skills necessary in the professional fields of illustration, concept art for film and games, and visual development for animation. Combining traditional studio practice with innovative digital technologies, the program imparts a professional education in drawing, painting, digital media, composition, style and complex visual storytelling. It is LAAFA’s philosophy that the artistic realms of illustration, animation, game design and concept development for film carry a responsibility to function in conscientious social and cultural contexts; therefore an education in LAAFA’s Entertainment Art concentration will cultivate a sense of artistic responsibility to make work that conveys and communicates that goal. Entertainment Art students will develop the ability to create work that is challenging, engaging and innovative; preparing them to meet the demands of a constantly evolving Entertainment Art field. It is LAAFA’s intention that the purposes, goals and outcomes of an education in the Entertainment Arts program are consistent and compatible with the parent mission statement.

LAAFA’s aim is to educate students pursuing the BFA and Certificate in both tracks with all of the competencies listed in “Goals” above; in addition, the BFA students meet general education requirements.

LAAFA is committed to the education of artists by a faculty comprised of outstanding working professionals who excel in the representational use of the figure in the fields of Fine Art or the Entertainment Art industry.

LAAFA will constantly strive to refine and develop its curriculum to stay current, relevant, and effective in educating students in the goals stated above; this will be accomplished through the input, deliberation and consensus of all acting LAAFA faculty, as well as other noted individuals of the Fine Arts and Entertainment art realms.

LAAFA’s governance procedures include its Administrative, Board of Directors and Faculty bodies. All aspects of decision making, analysis and planning regarding curriculum can originate from all entities, and will be approved/amended by curricular committees comprised of faculty members. These decisions will then be approved and ratified by the appropriate department chairs.

Decisions regarding campus, facilities, financial matters, program growth, resource allocation, student development, recruitment and faculty hiring will be determined by the administration with the approval of the faculty, relevant committees and department chairs as well as the Board of Directors.

All faculty, staff, Board of Directors and administration shall consult the statement of purpose for guidance to ensure that the integrity of its purposes and goals is upheld in all present or future matters concerning: curriculum or logistics; policy-making; faculty hiring, maintenance and development; student/faculty/administrative interactions; and all additional planning and practices of the institution. Further, the statement of purpose will be consulted consistently and regularly to ensure that its standards, policies, practices, resources are being met in all areas of curriculum and institutional governance so that the institution can remain effective in delivering the educational objectives stated herein.


LAAFA has an “Institutional Approval” to operate, granted by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), a division of the State of California, Department of Consumer Affairs (  In addition, LAAFA’s full-time Certificate and Degree programs are now approved by National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Are LAAFA’s Credits Transferable to another college?

Each individual college has the right to either accept or reject credits from any other college.  If a student would like to attend a college after they graduate from LAAFA, we will, on behalf of the student, attempt to articulate an agreement with their school of choice.  Please be aware that we cannot guarantee any student’s admission or credit transfer into another college.

Community Outreach

LAAFA is committed to providing quality art education to our community.  We offer several outreach opportunities to the public through our various programs and events:

  • On a quarterly basis, LAAFA invites the community to enjoy and participate in a variety of complementary activities that may include; uninstructed workshops, instructor demos and lectures.
  • Each year, LAAFA invites the community to support our students and instructors by attending our on and off-campus Art Exhibitions.
  • LAAFA’s High School Program allows young students to take art classes at a reduced tuition rate.  In addition, LAAFA has created the Young Masters Workshops for teens during school-breaks.
  • Teacher Appreciation Program – We are grateful to the community high school and junior college teachers who play an important role in their students’ education.  At various times of the year, teachers have the opportunity to enroll in selected classes at a reduced tuition rate.
  • LAAFA provides scholarships for its students enrolled in the BFA & Atelier Certificate Programs as well as the Extension Program.
  • LAAFA participates in art festivals, conventions and expos to reach out to artists who are looking for serious art education.

Work-Study opportunities are offered to all students who are unable to afford classes.