Art Classes Melbourne | Art Studio | Art School Melbourne

Our Teaching Staff

DENA LESTER

Director

Dena Lester is the founder of both Art Encounters and the Melbourne Studio of Art.  A graduate of Fine Arts with Distinction of RMIT, her exhibition history was centred around contemporary photographic installation, painting and drawing.  Over the years she perceived a lack of strong traditional art teaching and developed both schools in order to offer the possibility of learning fundamental skills at all learning stages of life. 

 Over the past years, Dena has studied Shadow Work psychotherapy which is an experiential mode based on the teachings of Carl Jung.  One of Australia’s only Certified Facilitators and Coaches, Dena integrates this work into her teaching of painting which focuses on the conveying of content (meaning) in one’s art practice.

GEOFF DUPREE

Drawing Tutor

Geoff Dupree is a graduate of the City and Guilds of London Art School, and St Martins School of Art, London; Masters Degree, RMIT University, Melbourne. A representational teacher and exhibiting painter, Geoff is a highly respected member of Melbourne’s art community. A number of rising contemporary artists studied under the drawing program Geoff designed and developed at Monash University.

GALLERY AND WORKS

BEN HOWE

Painting Tutor

Ben Howe is an internationally recognized artist specializing in hyperrealist and surrealist painting. Over the course of nearly two decades, he has explored the nature of consciousness, personal history and the incongruities of memory through his artwork. Ben holds a Masters of fine art with distinction from RMIT and is the recipient of numerous grants, awards, international residencies and fellowships. Ben is also a highly qualified art teacher with over six years experience.

GALLERY & WORKS

PILAR DE LA TORRE

Drawing & Painting Tutor

Pilar de la Torre formally studied drawing at The Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney where she was awarded the Thea Proctor Scholarship.  Since then, she has also studied painting in Melbourne, Italy, France, Spain and Russia at the Saint Petersburg Academy of Fine Art, also known The Repin Academy, SP.  Pilar is committed to the “constant and never ending improvement” in her art skill base and practice.  Pilar is currently teaching in Melbourne.

GALLERY & WORKS

ANITA LESTER

Illustration Tutor

Anita is a Fine Arts graduate from RMIT, majoring in illustration and animation.  As a multidisciplinary story teller and accomplished illustrator, Anita has been involved with more than a dozen published books. In 2019 she has launched her own business, ‘Encounters Publishing’, a branch of Art Encounters where she publishes children’s literature with a focus on education.

GALLERY & WORKS

TROY ARGYROS

Drawing & Painting Tutor

Troy Argyros holds a Bachelor of Fine Art Painting from Monash University (2012) and currently studies Drawing and Painting at The Florence Academy of Art. Troy has exhibited in many group exhibitions in Australia including the EMSLA and AME Bale, has held four solo exhibitions including Fragments of Florence at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins in 2015, and his work also belongs to many private collections. Troy is the winner of the Graeme Hildebrand Prize for Emerging Artists in 2017 in the category of Oil Paintings.

GALLERY & WORKS

ROBERT KELLY

Drawing & Painting Tutor

Robert Kelly pursued art training at the famous Florence Academy of Art, and following his graduation became one of the Academy’s principal instructors and tutors for four years. In 2018 Robert returned to Australia to pursue a career in painting. Primarily driven by portraiture and the Australian Landscape he strives to achieve the highest standard of craftsmanship using traditional painting techniques.  In doing so, Robert is a passionate observer of natural light and the intricate way it reveals life, colour and impression.

GALLERY & WORKS