Gustave Courbet, The Painter's Studio (1855), Musée d'Orsay, Paris

~ The Studio ~

     JHess Studios is the teaching atelier of sculptress Alicia Ponzio and painter Justin Hess, with Justin’s personal working studio at its core. The Atelier system is a centuries-old tradition of training artists within the studio of an active professional artist, providing both a ‘classroom’ structure of education combined with the opportunity to work alongside with and learn from a professional artist.

The studio itself offers 2,600 sqft of open studio space with light flooding in from large East facing windows. Housed in a historic building constructed in 1907, JHess Studios is located in the North Beach district of San Francisco and is easily accessible by major freeways as well as public transportation with plenty of parking in the surrounding neighborhood.

Classes are held in the evenings and on weekends to better accommodate those with work, family and other personal commitments. As the skills involved take a great deal of time and practice to develop, students are welcome to take one or multiple classes in each session, or on an ongoing basis. Those who wish to replicate the curriculum similar to that of a full time academy, but without the full time commitment, are able to work with the instructors to design a suitable course of study tailored to their individual needs and schedule.

   Courses are offered quarterly throughout the year in Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Écorché and Anatomy, as well as week long workshops held regularly in January and the Summer.

For additional information please feel free to write us via the Contact Page.

~ The Instructors ~


Alicia Nicole Ponzio (b.1974) is a Figurative Sculptress working primarily in bronze. Originally from the United States, she completed her sculpture training in Florence, Italy at the Florence Academy of Art (FAA) in 2008. She was then Director of Artistic Anatomy and Écorché Sculpture programs, as well as a figure drawing instructor at the same school for 3 years before returning to the United States (San Francisco, CA) in July of 2011.

Alicia brings life to her bronzes, using the language of the figure to speak of emotional experiences. Her work has been recognized by several international organizations, including the Portrait Society of America, The California Art Club, and The Art Renewal Center where her multi-figure composition “The Lingering Shadows” was awarded First Place in the sculpture category in 2012. 

Since 2011, Alicia has continued to develop her work at her studio, located in the center of San Francisco. She has offered workshops for various clients including Pixar Animation Studios, The University of Calgary and Brookgreen Gardens. Her work is represented by Haynes Galleries and has been exhibited in Scandinavia, Italy, England, Canada and the United States.

To learn more about Alicia and her work: Click Here 


Justin Hess (b.1981) is a Fine Art Painter trained in the Classical Realist Tradition. His education has taken him from his hometown of Ventura, California to the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. After an intensive 6 years of study and work in Florence Italy, Justin returned to San Francisco where he currently offers classes and workshops around the country. He has taught and lectured on painting, as well as the preparation of paints and canvasses using traditional materials and techniques. Justin is the author of “Controlling the Creative Process, A Painter’s Guide to Methods and Materials”.

His work has been published in Fine Art Connoisseur, American Art Collector, International Artist Magazine, The Artists’ Magazine, and Southwest Artist Magazine, where he was named one of "21 Under 31", their annual spotlight on young and emerging artists.  Justin was awarded the American Art Collector’s “Best of Show” at Greenhouse Galleries’ Salon International 2012 by the International Museum of Contemporary Masters of Fine Art. 

Justin has exhibited in Italy, London, Monaco, Norway and the United States. His work is represented by John Pence Gallery and Haynes Galleries, and may be found in private collections in Australia, Europe, Scandinavia, and the United States.

To learn more about Justin and his work: Click Here