~ ABOUT US ~
~ THE ACADEMY OF VISIONARY ART ~
In the year 2000, Laurence Caruana travelled to the Apocalypse Chapel in Southern Austria, where he worked as an assistant to Professor Ernst Fuchs with fellow artists Andrew Gonzalez and Amanda Sage. For Laurence, this was the opportunity of a lifetime, since he'd always been intrigued by the Viennese painter's mysterious Mischtechnik. Professor Fuchs invited Laurence and Florence to work with him as full-time assistants in his studios in Monaco and Castillon. It was an exciting year, filled with rich insights into the working methods of a contemporary genius.
After that, Laurence and Florence decided to preserve Ernst Fuchs' legacy by spreading knowledge of his classical painting technique. In 2008, they created the first Visions in the Mischtechnik Seminar at Torri Superiore Italy, and thus the Academy was born. After teaching solo for two years, Laurence was joined by his Apocalypse Chapel colleagues Amanda Sage and Andrew Gonzalez. They were soon joined by the talented artist Maura Holden, thus creating The Expanded Visions in the Mischtechnik Seminar. By summer of 2012, the Seminar had become so popular that Laurence and Florence envisioned a larger project.
With the help of Ernst Fuchs' manager, Cornelia Mensdorff-Pouilly, The Vienna Academy of Visionary Art opened its doors in the Palais Palffy, opposite the Hofburg Palace. By then, a number of artists had come together to form The Visionary Guild, which became the main faculty members of the Academy. This artistic cabal included the four original seminar teachers, plus Daniel Mirante, Kuba Ambrose, Vera Atlantia, David Heskin, Aloria Weaver and Timea Tallian.
Over the course of seven years, The Vienna Academy of Visionary Art expanded to include many memorable activities. Trimester teachers included such Visionary luminaries as Autumn Skye Morrison, Luke Brown, Mark Lee, Oleg Korolev, Peter Gric, Jonathan Solter, Olga Klimova and more. Not only did the Academy offer a three-year programme of full-time study, but many workshops and lectures were also added, including the 4-day Art Spirit Vienna workshop led by Alex and Allyson Grey. Hailing from all parts of the globe, the talented and enthusiastic students made VAVA into an extra-ordinary place to study.
By 2016, The Vienna Academy of Visionary Art had moved into larger facilities and expanded across three floors to include a new Cultural Space where many workshop leaders offered ground-breaking classes in new modalities of soul healing - from sound baths and women's circles to liberation dances. With the help of Daniel Kage, the Academy opened The VAVA Werkstätte in 2020 to pursue Visionary Designs in metal and glass. Laurence and Florence also initiated a new Children's Programme in the Cultural Space.
But, with the outbreak of the Global Pandemic in 2020, their international school had no choice but to close its doors. A series of Online Fundraiser Workshops were initiated by Alecia Sacred Heart and Amanda Sage to help cover the closing costs. Many of the faculty teachers gladly offered their services gratis. After this initiative, Alecia and Amanda went on to form the ViTra Academy.
Laurence and Florence returned to their farmhouse in Burgundy France to enjoy a much-needed sabbatical. Although they continued to teach occasionally through online classes at the ViTra Academy, Laurence focussed most of his energies onto large-scale paintings for his new project, The Apocryphon Chapel, while Florence further pursued her interest in painting, Permaculture and the Austrian Moondance.
In 2023, the couple decided to relaunch their teaching initiatives. They dropped 'Vienna' from the academy's name, and launched the 13th annual Summer Seminar at Torri Superiore under the new banner of The Academy of Visionary Art. After an absence of three years, the inhabitants of Torri Superiore are thrilled to have their community of artists back, and Laurence and Florence are also enthusiastic about sharing their world vision once more with so many kindred artists.
Florence Ménard Cuepaliztli
From Florence to Cuepaliztli, the story of a transformation...
Florence Ménard was born in Le Mans, France in 1972 and graduated with a Degree in Business Management in 1993. In Paris, she enjoyed a long career in Communications, specializing as a Press Liaison in the Arts while also studying Art History at the Ecole du Louvre.
In the year 2000, she joined her husband, Laurence Caruana as a personal assistant to Ernst Fuchs in his studios in Monaco and Castillon. After organizing several Summer Seminars in Torri Superiore, she co-founded The Vienna Academy of Visionary Art in 2013. Inspired by the Visionary artists around her, she began painting at the age of 41 and has never looked back, enthusiastically exploring her inner world of visions while honing her craft with each painting.
While living in Vienna, she also began an initiation into Inner Journeying with Kevin Campeau and Roel Crabbé. After years of journeying on her own, she started guiding academy students on inner journeys, visualizations, and meditations on their paintings, accompanied by shamanic drumming and other sound healing instruments. She also took online classes with Sandra Ingerman to deepen her knowledge of the shamanic path.
In 2018 she felt the call to participate in the Moondance in Austria, a spiritual ceremony where, for four nights, over 200 women fast, participate in sweatlodges, dance under the full moon and sing sacred songs while dressed in their traditional white robes. At the 2021 Moondance, Florence received her spiritual name: CUEPALIZTLI, meaning “Transformation.”
The artist now lives in Burgundy France where she continues to explore a variety of painting techniques while deepening her shamanic work. She also practices Permacultural Gardening to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle for her family.
Florence Ménard Cuepaliztli has exhibited her work in France (Chiméria) and abroad, including Spain (Visionarium) Vienna (Homage to Ernst Fuchs at Galerie 10) and Moscow (Visionary Art Award)
As a teacher, she offers Inner Journeys through online workshops, while transmitting the love of creating to children through individual and classroom instruction (to make sure that they never lose the inner child as they grow up…).
Facebook: Florence Menard - Cuepalitzli
L. Caruana was born 1962 in Toronto Canada, of Maltese descent. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Philosophy, and then studied painting at die Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna. In the year 2000 he apprenticed directly under Ernst Fuchs, working as his assistant in his studios in Monaco and Castillon.
The artist has made his home variously in Toronto, Malta, Vienna, Munich, Monaco and Paris. During his wanderings he has actively recorded his dreams and expanded their imagery through mythology. His paintings are inspired by memories and dreams, experiments with entheogens, and the interplay of different cultural symbols and styles.
After meeting his French fiançée in Munich, the artist moved to Paris, where he maintained a studio in the Bastille quarter for 12 years. After the birth of their son, the couple bought a farmhouse in the Burgundy region south-east of Paris, to pursue a fascination with Permaculture, while still maintaining a studio in Paris.
After leading The Visions in the Mischtechnik Seminar for seven successful years at the eco-village of Torri Superiore Italy, the couple re-located to the Josefstadt district of Vienna in 2013 to co-found The Vienna Academy of Visionary Art, which eventually expanded across three floors to include the Academy Studios, Cultural Space and VAVA Werkstätte. As Academy Director, Laurence shared administrative duties with Florence while co-teaching or lecturing.
After the academy closed in 2020 due to the Global Epidemic, the artist's family returned to their farmhouse in Burgundy, where Laurence is now writing an autobiographical novel while working on large-scale paintings for his new project, The Apocryphon Chapel.
Facebook: Laurence Caruana