Comments about the school
and the education

Current and former students:

— “As of now I have studied a little more than one and a half years at SARA and I have made a tremendous amount of progress in the technical development of my art. I have become more proficient in the fundamentals of handling drawing and painting materials as well as sharpening my observational skills considerably. My own art is based primarily on imagination, but what I am learning in school about how to describe light and form has made me more capable of creating realistic images from my imagination as well. I would recommend the education for anyone who is interested in attaining a higher degree of realism in their art.” – Staffan Alsparr, Sweden

Studying at the atelier has provided me with the environment and resources to make major improvements in my understanding of drawing and painting fundamentals which I can use as tools to benefit my own personal artistic goals. The atmosphere round the school is lighthearted and friendly yet hard working and it is a pleasure to work here every day!” – Miles Johnston, United Kingdom

— “The atelier has been a great environment for me to learn in. The teachers are knowledgeable and they do their best to help each student become better and better. Of course, the school is only as good as the amount of effort you are willing to put in, but with so many hard working and inspiring people around you this isn’t a problem. The program is built up well, preparing you step by step for full color oil painting, and all the things you learn along the way can be applied to your personal art as well. In short, it’s a great place to be if you’re motivated and want a solid technical foundation for the expression of your own ideas.” – Frank Top, Netherlands

— “I have always been interested in art and would often dream about becoming a fine artist, but in reality this to me was only a dream nothing more. Finding SARA on the internet and reading about their teaching technique and their devotion to realistic training opened up that dream to a reality. After only two years of fine art training I am becoming that realistic fine artist that before never seemed possible. The art program is a very challenging one but the rewards are certainly worth the effort. I can’t wait to see what my third year training will produce on my quest to being that artist that once was only a dream.” – William Brown, USA

— “SARA is a place of magic. Creativity seeps from every little corner of the school in a happy working frenzy. The teachers are talented and inspiring. There is no competition amongst the students as there can be in other schools. It simply is a wonderful place to be if what you want most in life is to learn how to be a realist painter.”

Frida Andersson, Sweden


“I came to Atelier Stockholm (SARA) looking to develop my drawing skills.  As an already professional painter, established on the international art scene, I was looking for expertise within the academic circles of art to help me develop further.  Atelier Stockholm provided me with that expertise and knowledge.  The striking thing about the method being taught at Atelier Stockholm is that it is presented as a science, a method of looking at the world and successfully interpreting it onto the paper or canvas.  During my time at Atelier Stockholm my drawing skills developed tremendously, and I understood that this knowledge, developed and passed down through the centuries from the old masters, is truly something to treasure.  I urge anyone who seeks knowledge about understanding human anatomy and developing one’s skills in realistic drawing and painting to study at Atelier Stockholm.” – Alexander Klingspor, Sweden

My experience at SARA has been a very positive one.  This kind of education, with its focus on skillful drawing and painting, was simply not offered in Finland.  The friendly atmosphere in the school makes it a good place to practice and grow as an artist.  The large amount of life drawing we do here is very valuable.  In the time I have been at the Atelier, I feel I have gone a long way.  I recommend this education for anyone who wants to learn about art, drawing and painting!” – David Still, Finland

The life of a real artist –  is one of constant learning.” This quote, from a successful and world famous painter in his mature years, symbolized my quest for an art school in 2006.  Finding Sanna Tomac’s and Hans Szameit’s very personal and familiar school in Stockholm was like finding a home for the kind of art that mesmerized me. After 2 1/2 years under their super-professional, engaged and passionate teaching I can state that Atelier Stockholm (SARA) epitomizes the very best of the art schools that I have attended in France and Italy!  Individual and varied training in drawing and painting using the classic master’s methods – but with modern and 21st century eyes and intellectual challenge – they succeed in motivating you to navigate even with your own critical self aboard! Beginner or advanced, this kind of teaching is a “once-in-a-lifetime” privilege to experience and brings forceful hope for the beautiful and new art to come.” – Eva Stjernswärd, Sweden

“What I experienced as the best with SARA, was the individual critiques and the generous advice and tips about both methods and materials that you need to develop and improve.  SARA was the only school in the country that could give me the possibility to learn realistic art from the foundation up.” – Sandra Ahlqvist, Sweden

“Of ourse, there is the joy of at last finding a place in Sweden where you can study drawing and painting according to the methods of the old masters; but what strikes me as the most enriching part of the education is the process of seeing. Together we all train our eyes to perceive and to measure that which is to be drawn or painted. To learn how to discern form and detail without projecting finished mental images. This is, at least to me, the great experience of the classical teaching given us at SARA.” – Samuel Järnegard Fogelvik, Sweden

— “This school is absolutely worth attending for anyone who wants to improve their drawing and painting skills. It takes dedication and patience to improve your art skills, just as naturally as it takes time and patience to improve your skills as a musician. At SARA one gets both time and the helpful experience of professional painters who are guiding you through the whole process. The effort that you put in to your studies pays off after just a few months, and the teachers are very helpful and interested in the individual student’s development. In contrast to many other educations that mostly teach students as a group, at SARA one gets personal feedback through the whole training, which is priceless! I fully recommend any one who wants to become a professional artist to attend this school.”

Magnus Fröidh, Sweden

— “This school is absolutely worth attending for anyone who wants to improve their drawing and painting skills.  It takes dedication and patience to improve your art skills, just as naturally as it takes time and patience to improve your skills as a musician.  At SARA one gets both time and the helpful experience of professional painters who are guiding you through the whole process.  The effort that you put in to your studies pays off after just a few months, and the teachers are very helpful and interested in the individual student’s development. In contrast to many other educations that mostly teach students as a group, at SARA one gets personal feedback through the whole training, which is priceless! I fully recommend any one who wants to become a professional artist to attend this school! Magnus Fröidh, Sweden

— ​“I had always wanted to study Art at University, but when the time came for me to chose where I wanted to go I was disappointed by what was available. None of the universities seemed to have much to teach and I felt that I would be wasting my money and time with them.  It wasn’t until around two and a half years later that I found Atelier Stockholm (SARA) through the internet. I have been here now for about five months and I find that I am still learning new things everyday.  It’s hard work but extremely rewarding.  The quality of my work has improved dramatically. The teachers are all very helpful and inspiring, and the overall atmosphere of the school is really friendly. I am extremely grateful that Hans and Sanna set up the school, and that this type of education exists. James Cowper, Scotland

— ​“Hans and Sanna provided me with a strong foundation in drawing.  My drawing skills improved dramatically because of my time spent under their instruction.  Their love for beauty and skill was infectious, as well.  I left the studio being proud to have chose painting as my profession.  I see it as a noble profession as modeled by Hans and Sanna.  I am a mother and an oil painter now.  I still paint everyday.  I do not, however, have the community of those students and teachers that I once had at Pantura (Hans and Sanna’s studio school).  I miss the environment greatly and would not trade that time in my life for anything. Aumi Kaufman Perry, USA

— “Jag är jättenöjd med konstutbildningen vid Atelier Stockholm. Väldigt kunniga och trevliga lärare som kan lära ut det jag behöver för att ha en stadig grund att stå på som framtida konstnärinna. Jag valde att komma till Atelier Stockholm pga att skolan lär ut hantverksmässigt väldigt viktiga delar för ett “riktigt måleri”. Jag var väldigt förvirrad då jag några år tidigare gick ut en annan konstskola i Stockholm och undrade vad jag nu skulle göra, tyvärr hade jag inte fått med mig något av det måleriska hantverket i hur jag bygger upp en målning, måla porträtt och mycket mer. Här lär jag mig metoder som konstnärer genom århundranden använt. Är superglad över att känna: wow jag har hamnat rätt! Och att jag äntligen kan börja måla på riktigt.” – Jade Sandbeg, Sweden

— “Detta är den enda utbildningen som behövs och kan ges i ämnet konst eftersom allt övrigt som krävs för att göra stor konst är kreativitet, och kreativitet är något som ingen skola eller utbildningen i världen kan lära ut. Skolan lär ut den tekniska grunden. Eleverna står själva för kreativiteten.” –  Anna Lindroth, Sweden

— “​During the one and a half years I’ve been at the school so far I have learned loads and loads, and my drawing and painting skills have improved more than I could ever have imagined.”Samuel Schultz, Sweden

Samuel Schultz, Sweden

Other Voices:

— “Ateiler Stockholm, The Swedish Academy of Realist Art, provides a vital function in the way it nurtures creative individual in developing the skill-set necessary to work in the video game industry.  At Starbreeze we need applicants with a complete understanding of drawing, form and color.  The video game industry is highly biased toward the photo-realistic, and we are no exception.  Our artists all have to produce work of an extremely high level of fidelity and realism for us to stay competitive.  The era of self-taught artists going professional in the gaming industry with no formal art training is all but over, and The Swedish Academy of Realist Art help students to develop the very core abilities that we rely on in our field.  Taking the step from creating work with a brush and easel to using the computer is a small one, what counts is the underlying understanding of realistic art.  The skills taught at Ateiler Stockholm are vital within our business.” –  Mattias Snygg, Game Director, Starbreeze AB

— “It was a welcome surprise to discover Atelier Stockholm. It is a rarity itself to find any art schools or academies across the world that teach the academic and classical techniques required to draw and paint realistically to such an unbeatably high standard. It was a privilege to have been invited to lecture there amongst such attentive, ambitious, highly talented, professionally minded and extremely fortunate students. Atelier Stockholm offers a comprehensive and disciplined programe in the precise study of form, anatomy, light and shade and their perfect representation in 2 dimensions. This is the ideal course for anyone interested in an occupation or pursuit as a fine artist, illustrator, concept designer or commercial contractor to the art world. I can think of no better environment in which to learn. This is intimate and friendly academy run to the highest level of professionalism. Anyone accepted on a course here would be privileged indeed, enabling their exponential development as artists in all forms.” – Max Patte, Senior Sculptor, Wetaworkshops

— “I ett land som Sverige, där det unisona vrålet från massmedia är så öronbedövande, att endast massorna som vrålar med, känner sig i samklang, är det inte underligt om de finare nyanserna förefaller överflödiga, då de ju aldrig tillåts göra sig hörda, – ja man tror nästan inte att de existerar. Men trots detta finns det ännu personer i landet som längtar efter en mera fördjupad och nyanserad artikulation. För att nå detta krävs mödosamma studier och övningar som endast ett fåtal är villiga att lägga på sig, vilket därmed inte betyder att deras arbete är värdelöst ur nationell betydelse. När det gäller utbildningen vid våra musikhögskolor är det fortfarande självklart att man lär sig karaktär, teknik och förståelse för den klassiska musiken och dess kompositörer. Till det krävs oerhört ansträngande studier , övningar och självdisciplin. Detta är baskunskaper som man fortfarande känner som nödvändiga och värdefulla ur nationell synpunkt från myndigheternas sida. När det gäller bildkonsten och dess konsthögskolor har synen de senaste 4 decennierna varit, att det bästa vore att snarast möjligt ”frigöra” sig från allt samröre med den klassiska konsten, ja man skulle revoltera mot den och helst avskaffa måleriets och skulpturens discipliner. Detta har inneburit att studiet efter till ex. modell- bildkonstens baskunskaper i teckning, måleri och skulptur – totalt har utarmats, eftersom inte ens professorerna själva på dessa högskolor har kunskaper att förmedla till de mest törstande eleverna, varför man föreslår dessa att istället fotografera eller gjuta av modellen, vilket man ser massor av exempel på vid utställningar, allt uppbackat av massmedialt vrål, och alla tror genast  att detta är det ”rätta”  och det enda vi behöver. Men utanför vrålet, i tysthet, finns några som har förstått, att det värde och den tillfredställelse man uppnår när man låter det sedda passera hela ens väsen och i bearbetad och nyanserad form komma ut genom den egna handen, är så stor, att den stränga disciplinen man tvingas  ålägga sig själv för att erfara detta, är värd all möda i världen. Till dessa hör Sanna och Hans, som modigt har startat en skola där människor åter kan få möjlighet att komma i kontakt med dessa värden. Och att det finns en uppdämd längtan och ett behov märker man av det ständiga flöde av ungdomar som söker sig till deras skola. Är inte Nationen dess människor? Om det finns en längtan efter dessa kunskaper och värden hos människorna i Nationen, har det väl värde för Nationen!” –  Peter Linde, Sculptor, Sweden

— “This letter is to voice my support for the education being provided by the Swedish Academy of Realist Art...”

— “This letter is to voice my support for the education being provided by the Swedish Academy of Realist Art – Atelier Stockholm. I, along with Tania Rodger, director Peter Jackson and Jamie Selkirk founded Weta in 1994.  Since then we have enjoyed amazing success and had the good fortune to be intimately connected to many of the film industries greatest and most popular films, such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, and most recently Avatar, to name only a few. In this creative industry, one of our greatest and most valuable resources is our highly skilled employees. As our industry continues to grow, so does our need for these trained professionals. These fine artists must create highly realistic and convincing images in their day-to-day work. Conventional fine art schools, with their focus on conceptual means of expression such as video and installation, have moved farther and farther away from teaching the fundamental, practical skills, which are vital to artists who want to create the kind of work we need for our business.  Fortunately, there are a small number of specialized schools around the world that do teach these skills to their students, such as The Swedish Academy of Realist Art – Atelier Stockholm.  Furthermore, the Swedish Academy of Realist Art is unique among those specialized fine art schools in that it not only teaches drawing and painting to such a high professional level, but also that it supports and assists students who aspire to work in our commercial creative industry. Students of the Swedish Academy of Realist Art will graduate with skills of great value and marketability not only to Weta, but throughout our industry and many others.” –  Sincerely, Richard Taylor Creative Director Weta Workshop, co-founder and co-director of the Weta Companies

We, the undersigned, are currently employed by Weta as creative professionals.
We would like to express our support for the specialized education in drawing and painting offered by the Swedish Academy of Realist Art – Atelier Stockholm.  As fine artists and craftspeople, whether working as sculptors, painters, designers or digital artists, the ability to see accurately and draw well using traditional media is of tremendous value. Conventional art schools do little, if anything, to nurture these skills, which leads to great frustration and disappointment for students seeking to acquire or develop them. It is very important that the training the Swedish Academy of Realist Art offers is made available to students in order to give them the skills that make them better able to express their visions and, practically speaking, better able to get hired somewhere!

(see image of this letter, signed by 34 artists, below)