Founder/Director of Carlsbad Art Farm
Perrin Weston is a fourth generation Californian originally from the Bay Area. She grew up on her family’s 300-acre farm (pear orchards) first establish in 1884. Perrin studied studio art at the Art Academy in San Francisco for three years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. She graduated with a journalism degree from Humboldt State University and worked as a reporter for 15 years for a variety of news organizations before retiring in 2003. Perrin has continued taking art classes throughout her life, most recently at Watts Atelier of the Arts in Encinitas, and with Catherine Grawin at her Solana Beach Studio.
Perrin established Art Farm in 2005 after working several years with local public and private schools as an art instructor. She modeled Art Farm’s approach to art instruction on her studio art experience at the Art Academy in San Francisco, where as a student she worked closely with instructors who emphasized representational drawing and painting through close observation, often using live models. She also modeled Art Farm on her fondly remembered farm girl childhood, where being outdoors in nature with animals was the norm. She was always drawing and writing, noticing the living world, walking through the woods. Art Farm brings all these elements together: students work with skilled artist instructors in a beautiful and secluded outdoors environment where they observe animals and the environment closely and feel motivated to learn art technique. Perrin feels strongly that kids benefit tremendously from embracing art as a window on nature.
In addition to running Art Farm, Perrin is always busy caring for her barnyard of animals. She enjoys family time with her husband Chase, and daughter, Emerson.
Co-Founder, Carlsbad Art Farm
Chase was 6-years-old when he moved with his family to Carlsbad from Bellingham, WA, in 1958. Art Farm is located on the woodland property his family purchased in 1964. He grew up an avid local surfer. Chase has a background in molecular biology and as a wildlife biologist and conservationist working on horseback in the New Mexico wilderness, as well as antique restoration and fine woodworking. He is an experienced backcountry hiker with a particular fondness for the High Sierra Wilderness. When his wife, Perrin, first came up with the concept for Art Farm, Chase embraced the idea and has actively supported it's development since inception.
Catherine Bobkoski is a still life and figurative painter who is joining us for her 6th season as an Art Farm Summer Camp Lead Instructor. She works with our oldest group of students. Catherine’s professional work emphasizes traditional principles and direct observation from life, which we also emphasis at Art Farm. She has studied at the Watts Atelier of the Arts in Encinitas since she was 12, and has been committed to training professionally as an artist since 2008. In 2014 Catherine began teaching at the Watts Atelier and is also an integral member of their online school's critique team.
Catherine is a patient and experienced instructor who loves spending her off-season outdoors working side-by-side with our summer camp students. She is also a wonderful mentor to high school students who have worked as Art Farm teaching assistants over the years, some of whom have gone on to pursue art careers. When Catherine is on break between classes at Art Farm, she loves hanging out with our animal models, particularly “Spike” our giant Flemish Rabbit.
Art Farm attracts great instructors who, each summer, love taking a break from their usual schedules to work with kids at Art Farm. Lead Instructor Kris Finch is returning for his fourth summer. Like our other returning instructors, Kris enjoys spending time working with young artists in the unique Art Farm environment.
A native San Diegan, Kris began his fine art studies fresh out of high school at local community colleges. He continued his studies for three years at the prestigious Watts Atelier of the Arts in Encinitas, where he studied classical portrait techniques before continuing his education at San Diego Art Department (SDAD). Kris realized he had a talent that he could share with others and decided to pursue a career as an art instructor.
His first teaching experience was as a lead instructor at Art Farm Summer Camps in 2009. Kids adored him! That same year he began teaching oil painting at SDAD. Since then, Kris has carved out a career teaching oil painting and advanced figurative drawing at multiple local art schools. He is currently a classical drawing and painting instructor at Art on 30th in San Diego. In addition to teaching, Kris has completed many public, private, and corporate commissions. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The State Journal Register. In 2015, he was one of twenty artists selected by Artist Portfolio Magazine for its 2014/2015 Portraits Art Exhibition.
Kris spends his spare time in his studio painting and studying the works of the great figurative artists John Singer Sargent, William Bouguereau, Norman Rockwell, Joaquin Sorolla, Richard Schmid, and Mian Situ. He lives in San Diego with his wife Theresa.
Former New Yorker Maggie DiGrazia has a BFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts and a Masters in Visual Arts and Art Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. During the academic school year, Maggie is a full-time instructor at The Rhoades School in Encinitas where she develops art curriculum and teaches K-5 art. Maggie will be joining us for her 4th summer at Art Farm as lead instructor for our youngest students. This is our most challenging group because many of these students have not attended a weeklong camp program before. Summer-after-summer, Maggie knows how to set these kids at ease and it’s because she combines experience with a genuine love of teaching.
Maggie notes: “Children have an enthusiasm for life, are genuinely creative, and have vivid imaginations that I strive to ignite. As an art teacher and an art facilitator, my goal is to support the learning process so that students self-discover that art is unique to each individual and that there are multiple ways to artistically express oneself. Along with my role in nurturing students artistic exploration, I believe that a mindful leader is an integral part to sparking a child’s curiosity.”
Natasha is joining us for her second summer as an Assistant Instructor working with Kris Finch. Natasha, an Air Force Veteran, is a teaching artist serving the North San Diego County area. She has helped hundreds of children gain confidence and skill with their artwork. She lives in Fallbrook.
In addition to teaching group classes, Natasha mentors children in a one-on-one art program conducted as a weekly after-school or home school class. Natasha’s work is supported by ongoing personal art training and a college education in Contemplative Psychology and Visual Arts. She makes and sells art from her home studio and online.
Whether working with children or adults, Natasha is a compassionate advocate for the wellbeing of her students. Her teaching style uplifts students and invites them to grow beyond their perceived limitations.
Austin Jones joined the Art Farm team as an assistant instructor in 2012. He is currently working for the Teaching Artist Institute through a program called Arts for Learning where he provides art classes for K-5 children in the San Diego Unified School District.
In 2012, Austin completed his BFA in illustration and character design at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. Art Center is widely recognized as one of the top professional art schools in the country. A native San Diegan, Austin demonstrated an early talent for visual art and trained with a private instructor through much if his childhood and teen years. He has worked with youth as an art instructor through a number of local organizations and private art schools, including Arts: A Reason to Survive. At Art Farm, Austin has demonstrated an almost magical ability to pull great work out of struggling students in drawing and painting classes. He keeps the learning fun and engaging.
Printmaking and Bookmaking Instructor
A San Diego South Bay native, Hannah Murdock, started teaching printmaking at Art Farm in 2016. Hannah works with students in our print studio, teaching a variety of techniques from hand printing to printing with a press on Art Farm’s 24-inch bed Conrad Monotype Press.
It's not easy to find a printmaking instructor in north county and we feel very fortunate to have Hannah on our team. Along with traditional printmaking techniques, Hannah also teaches bookmaking arts. We are thrilled to have Hannah as part of our summer teaching staff for the first time this year.
Hannah is a career artist with a BA in painting and printmaking, and an emphasis in bookmaking arts, from San Diego State University. She has also studied intaglio printmaking at Santa Reparata Graphic Art Center in Florence, Italy. Hannah holds associate degrees in graphic arts, landscape design, and sustainable urban landscape. Her other interest include book making arts, fused glass arts, gardening and traveling.
A native of Oceanside, Kayla first came to Art Farm as a camper many years ago. She loved it so much that she began volunteering as a summer camp aide at the end of her freshman year. Kayla has been a paid teaching assistant for the past two summers and is returning again for the coming season. A talented musical theater actress and singer who has appeared in many local stage productions, Kayla is graduating from Classical Academy High School in Escondido this June. She will be majoring in animation when she begins college this fall.
A native of Carlsbad, Emerson is completing her senior year at Francis Parker High School in San Diego this June and is looking forward to starting pre-med studies at university in the Pacific Northwest in the fall. Emerson, the daughter of Art Farm Founders Perrin Weston Coman and Chase Coman, grew-up exploring the woodland wonderland that is Art Farm (also the location of her family home), helping to care for our farm animals, and helping out during summer camps. When it comes to Art Farm, Emerson is an old pro.
A passionate photographer and accomplished artist in her own right, Emerson is adept at working with students in painting, drawing and printmaking classes. Emerson loves working with and helping kids. She says one of the absolute highlights of her life so far was teaching English to rural children in Cambodia in February on a two-week trip with 15 other Parker students. Emerson is also passionate about Shotokan karate. She has studied at the same dojo since kindergarten and will be testing for her second-degree blackbelt this summer.
A Native San Diegan, Annie first came to Art Farm as a student in 6th grade and returned every summer of her high school years, first as a volunteer aide and then as a paid teaching assistant. "I fell in love with the magic of the camp and the passion in every camper," Annie says. "This magic is what has made my summer's feel complete ever since. Annie started university as an art major at UCSB in 2016 and has an application in for a transfer to Parson's School of Design in Manhattan where she hopes to pursue a fine arts and fashion degree starting this fall.
A native San Diegan, Garrett worked two summers as a camp counselor at Art Farm during his high school years. As an Eagle Scout, he brought plenty of outdoor exploration experience and enthusiasm for the natural world to our program, as well as wide experience in a variety of crafts. Now a freshly minted graduate of Claremont McKenna College with a degree in physics, Garrett is taking a year off from his studies before pursuing his PhD, also in physics. When Garret contacted us to say he’d like to spend this summer reprising his role as an Art Farm counselor we were delighted. Garrett is always fun to have on board and campers of all ages adore him. “I’m looking forward to having a great time with the kids again,” he says.
After three years as an Art Farm volunteer, Drew, an Encinitas native, is returning for his fourth summer at Art Farm as a paid teaching assistant. He was first exposed to the wonders of Art Farm through his younger sister, an Art Farm camper. Now going into his junior year at San Dieguito Academy, Drew is especially adept at encouraging aspiring young artists and entertaining our youngest group of campers with wonderfully imaginative stories. He also loves working with and learning from our talented pool of teaching artists. “I love what the kids come up with," Drew says. "I have so many great memories of Art Farm. It keeps me coming back again and again. There's no better way to put it!”