Leon Okun was born on February 6, 1980 in a small town in Siberia, Russia. In 1993 Leon’s family immigrated to San Diego. His interest in figurative art developed while taking art classes at Mesa Community College, where he was given complete freedom of exploration. This freedom led him to a profound interest in figurative drawing and propelled Leon to pursue the kind of program that would satisfy his passion for fine art.
Leon’s educational art journey began at Watts Atelier (a small private art school with an emphasis on the traditional fine art), where he studied for two and a half years. There he met Ron Lemen, an art instructor at Los Angeles Academy of Fine Arts. To this day, Leon gives Ron Lemen credit for inspiring him to believe in himself and to set the highest possible standards for personal artwork.
In 2003 Leon returned to Russia to explore Russian art schools and museums. Painters like I. E. Repin, V. Serov, and V. Surikov captured his interest and helped him develop the best possible vision any artist can have: To become a serious painter.
It was then, in 2003, that Leon decided to apply to the Repin Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. Repin Academy of Arts is a two hundred and fifty seven year old historic institution. It has been the birthplace of the most famous Russian painters. It was clear to Leon that if he wanted for himself the best art education in the world, than it would have to be the Repin Academy of Arts.
After two years of intense preparation Leon got accepted to the Academy, where he studied for six years and received both a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Art and a Masters Degrees in Fine Arts.
In 2011 Leon returned to San Diego and immersed himself into teaching, sharing with his students the wonderful education he had received at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg.
Successful in his own right as a Artist and as a Teacher, Leon now inspires his students to search our their dreams and to strive to achieve their own personal best.
Leon is a member of the California Art Club, the American Portrait Society, the American Impressionist society, and the Plain Air Painters of San Diego.
Leon has participated in and won numerous art competitions in San Diego and throughout Southern California. His style of painting is based on the traditional European classical art, and color pallet that so many Russian painters are famous for.
Most recently Leon had several successful exhibitions that drew a great deal of interest in the art community.