Even with no formal training, George Anthony Morton was recognized as a promising painter with exacting artistic standards. At the urging of prominent Atlanta artists and supportive friends, George applied and was offered a coveted place in the first class of seven students by the New York Metro branch of the prestigious Florence Academy of Art. This young man, untutored but thirsting for knowledge, immediately embraced the school’s philosophy of rigorous training in the Classical-Realist tradition that emanated from immortal Renaissance painters and was best-exemplified in 19th century French Academies.
For three intense years George had the privilege of drawing and painting —as well as expanding his hopes and dreams for the future— under the tutelage of some of America’s leading artists and instructors. An avid pupil, George completed a study-period abroad at the Academy’s campus in Italy, then traveled to Europe’s greatest art museums to study and deconstruct incomparable original works from the hands of Old Masters. One of the most gifted students ever to attend this premier fine arts institution, George achieved a milestone: he became the first African-American to graduate from any campus of Florence Academy of Art, where he won the competitive awards for Best Figure Drawing, 2015, and Best Portrait Drawing, 2016.
Having survived a grim inner city childhood of no parental guidance and poor personal choices —that even resulted in his incarceration as a nonviolent offender— George swears that he was the proudest graduate on Planet Earth. His unique spiritual and artistic journey has proved richly rewarding despite its challenges. George is now thriving as a productive citizen and accomplished artist with a signature style whose work is sought after by international galleries and prized by collectors. This brilliant young painter, founder of Atelier South, Atlanta’s first art workshop/studio atelier modeled upon six centuries of classical tradition, declares himself to be “a poster child for the American Dream.”