Seeds Teaching Artists
Hispanic / Latina
Liz Almonte is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York City. Her work primarily revolves around painting, drawing, digital media, and design. She is currently an undergrad for NYU’s BFA program in Studio Art. Liz creates many figure drawings from life and draws inspiration from dreams whilst exploring themes of the self.
Liz’s work has been showcased at Alive Inside Gallery in NYC, the Manhattan Borough Arts Festival, Gracie Mansion for Catalyst: Connecting Art and Social Justice, and department exhibitions held at NYU. She is also a gold key recipient for the Scholastic Art and Writing awards.
White / Latinx
Wil Bigio (they/them) is an artist born, raised, and based in NYC. They are pursuing an Associates in Illustration at the Pratt Institute and concurrently studying at The Art Students League. Their preferred medium is ink.
When they aren’t drawing, they love to read, hike, and knit. Wil’s creative practice is influenced by their love of architecture and of storytelling, and it is their goal to create immersive environments in their work.
Dieu Sam bui-Diefenbach
Dieu Sam Bui-Diefenbach was born and raised in Brooklyn. They are currently pursuing a BFA in Comics at the School of Visual Arts, and study at the League to help further their artistic growth on their own time. Dieu Sam’s preferred mediums to work with are digital, charcoal, pencil and ink. While interested in all forms of the visual arts, Dieu Sam takes especial interest in how others incorporate narrative, expression, and story into their work. They are actively pursuing careers in both comics and education, as they feel that one of the best things one can do with knowledge and skill is to teach, and learn from others.
Dieu Sam has received two Red Dot Awards from the League for figure drawing (2022) and comics (2023), and the Jack Potter Memorial Award for exceptional drawing from SVA in 2023.
Jon Bunge is an experienced arts educator who loves to share the joy of creation with children and adults. He is passionate about helping people express their imagination and vision through art-making. Jon holds an MFA from City College of New York and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. His artwork consists of drawings, paintings, collages, sculptures and installations. Jon’s work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and can be viewed on Instagram @jonbunge and at www.jonbunge.com
Sidney believes that the creative spirit resides in all of us and that no one should be exiled from self-expression. His daily ritual of creative expression has produced a fulfilling life and a belief that it is paramount to good mental health. Working as a creative professional from the age of 19 his wide range of experiences including silk-screening, mural design, stage craft, printmaking, watercolor and an award-winning designer for two major fashion brands has led him here to Seeds of the League. Now, inspiring others, teaching through experience, and building a strong community of creative thinkers is something he is deeply committed to. “Work is love made visible”, Kahlil Gibran.
Sidney is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and has studied at the Art Students League in intervals since 1983. His watercolor works have been exhibited in New York and Spain and are held in private collections.
Jaiquan Fayson was born and raised in New York. He studied at the League and obtained his BFA in Illustration from The School of Visual Arts, where he was a recipient of the Silas H. Rhodes Scholarship. His experiences with drawing while being incarcerated at a young age have made him passionate about the therapeutic quality of art. He discusses these experiences in publications such as the short documentary “Jaiquan’s Sketch” from Motto Pictures. Jaiquan’s work focuses on using traditional materials and working from life. Now, Jaiquan is attending part time classes to complete his MAT, and works full time as a substitute art teacher. In his teaching, he strives to share what he has learned as an artist and to inspire hope in others who may have faced similar obstacles
Irish- African- American
Kenneth Fitzpatrick was born and raised in New York City. While a student at the High School of Art & Design, he received the Seeds of the League Jack Kamen Scholarship. The combination of his HSAD instruction and the Kamen Scholarship contributed to his P.S. Art award, a citywide competition for Pre-K to 12, culminating in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Currently, he is completing a degree in game development. Ken’s work focuses on compositional storytelling using the mediums oil, graphite, watercolor, tattoo, and digital art.
Clayton Andrew Griffith
Clayton was born and raised in New York. He is twenty-eight years old, and uses pronouns he/him/they/them. Clayton is currently enrolled at LaGuardia Community College and has studied figure drawing at the League for four years. He generally works in sketchbooks but occasionally works digitally using Procreate. Outside of art, their interests lie in environmentalism and movements focusing on a less industrialized and mass producing society.
Joseph is a visual artist from the Bronx who has mastered many different styles such as abstract, graffiti, still life, cartooning, paper mache, and stenciling. Joseph enjoys creating.
“It all starts with a blank canvas and it feels empowering turning nothing into something, to take an image or thought and bring it to life.”
Jamaican American / Black
Kayla James is a Jamaican American illustrator, writer, and multidisciplinary artist based in the Bronx, NY. She recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Fashion Institute of Technology’s BFA Illustration program. She attended the High School of Art & Design, as well as Parsons School of Design’s Pre-College Program. She has won two National Scholastics Art Silver Medals, two Regional Gold Keys, one Silver Key, and one Honorable Mention in the Scholastics Art and Writing Awards.
As an avid reader, movie-watcher, and oil painter she loves to do a little bit of everything by creating posters, book covers, interior spreads, album covers, comics, character designs, and figure studies from life. She also aims to become a children’s/YA book illustrator.
David is a fine artist and longtime student of the Art Students League of New York. A graduate of Cornell University, David received a B.A. from the School of Arts and Sciences with a Major in Media Arts and Fine Arts minor in 2022. He is a recipient of the NJ Governor’s Award in Arts Education – Multidiscipline, and speaks intermediate Mandarin Chinese.
David first started studying at the Art Students League at just 9 years old in Barbara Yeterian’s class. He continued to develop his formal training in the study and practice of the arts at the League via classes with Costa Vavagiakis, Wendy Shalen, and Sam Goodsell. David has also studied textile weaving for over 10 years, and his colorful tapestries have been exhibited in “waterfall” exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. He has also organized interactive art workshops within his community and in collaboration with various foundations, institutions, and nonprofit organizations. David believes that through art, we can encourage teamwork, promote unity, and strengthen the bonds within our community.
Black / Mexican
Fable Jones is a Harlem based visual artist and curator. Fable graduated with a BFA in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology, and has furthered his studies in anatomy, traditional and digital painting, book illustration, and silkscreen at the School of Visual Arts, New York Academy of Art, and the Art Students League. Fable works primarily in watercolor with a focus on representation and diversity, bringing people of color to the forefront, commanding our attention, expanding our conversations and creating normalcy around our presence and contributions to society.
Born and raised in Japan, Sonomi Kobayashi is a New York-based artist, art educator, and independent curator. Her work has been exhibited in the United States, Japan, and Europe. Since 2013, Sonomi has been teaching artmaking to children enrolled in NYC Parks Learning Labs and adults in Arts, Culture and Fun workshops throughout Manhattan. In 2019, the Mayoral Service Recognition Program awarded her a Certificate of Appreciation for her outstanding efforts.
Chilean / Slovenian / American
Clementine Martinez is an illustrator and printmaker from New York. She has been involved in a number of public art projects, including painting two Sing For Hope pianos, designing a vinyl mural for the Roosevelt Island Operating Commission, and creating an upcoming way-finding project for the Hudson Square BID. She has participated in the Red Dot Winner Exhibition at the Art Students League and in the Affordable Art Fair, and has illustrated two children’s books for a cancer research organization.
She holds a BFA from Pratt with a focus on illustration, and currently continues her studies in printmaking at the League. Her work combines real elements with those imagined and metaphorical, capturing characters and places in states of transformation.
Ecuadorian / Salvadorian
Noelani Renderos is a current senior at Bergen County Technical High School – Teterboro, majoring in Commerical Art and Graphic Design. Noelani has been a Seeds of the League scholarship recipient since 2017. She expresses herself by bringing all the worlds she thinks of to life. Taking classes at the League has helped her to further develop her art practice. Noelani is passionate about promoting the Seeds program so other students can have the opportunity she has had working with the League’s incredible teachers. She plans on continuing art making in the future as she pursues a career in concept art and animation. Noelani was awarded Gold and Silver Keys by the Scholastic Art Competition. Her work was also selected and featured in the Celebrating Art 2017 Publication.
Luis Romero started in art from a very early age, receiving classes from the age of 6 at the School of Fine Arts in Barranquilla, Colombia. In his native country he also studied sculpture and journalism, which allowed him to travel around the country and discover the stories that today are the protagonists of his works.
His paintings, sculptures and screen prints are a combination of styles, where the figures are achieved from abstract lines in geometric spaces. His works have been in individual and group exhibitions in Colombia, Cuba, Switzerland, Germany and the United States. He is also part of the permanent collection of the Carnival Museum in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Ghanaian / Jamaican (African American)
Ajadah Simms is an enthusiastic and ambitious student currently entering her sophomore year at Brooklyn College. Her unshakable belief is that anyone can create something important when they give it meaning, and that everyone has an impact. Beginning her artistic journey young, Ajadah’s enduring goal is to grant aspiring creatives a space and hope to build themselves as artists, and in that giving back. She especially hopes to encourage storytellers like herself, to weave the worlds in our minds into a tangible and digestible form. She loves to capture and depict moments in her artwork, and always aims to expand her reach.
Her vision to apply the multifaceted merits of artistic approaches have enabled her to run an Art Club during her high school years, serve as a panelist for a community art showcase in 2019, collaborate to make a community mural in Sunset Park, and participate as a public advocate for historical preservation and civic engagement in 2022.
Cherish Williams is an illustrator from New York. Her artwork is centered around the cultural identity her family has passed onto her. She specializes in oil on canvas and wooden panels, and also has experience working with watercolor, graphite and collage.
Cherish was one of seven young people who received the Scholastics Art & Writing Award, and received a Gold Key distinction for her mixed media portfolio. She was also one of two seniors to receive the P.S. Art Competition Award and her work is currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Cherish is a graduate of the High School of Art & Design.
Zhang Yu was born in Beijing, China. She graduated from Beijing Science Technology College with a degree in Art Design in 1994 and continued her study at the Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing for another two years to refine her master’s program training in oil painting. In the late 90s, Yu relocated to the United States. She began to explore her art within a new culture and develop her vision through everyday life. By the time she began her MFA studies at the City College of New York in 2007, she established a unique style that challenges the notions of ideal beauty and self-identity.