The Ryan Shultz Academy

The Ryan Shultz Academy is a place to hone your skills and learn to paint in a step by step, integrative program, designed around your needs and interests.

Come to The Ryan Shultz Academy to learn art, painting, even abstract art. At this institution, you will learn a variety of media how to best express your inner artist. Right now, Ryan is accepting applications where one student every month will be eligible for a free month of classes. If you want to apply, Like and Share with 20 other people, email a short bio and 3-5 images of your art to [email protected], and text "FREE LESSONS" to 847-644-3847.

Operating as usual


It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Ryan Shultz on Monday, December 11, 2023, at his home in Chicago, Illinois. Ryan was born on February 9, 1983, in Lake Forest, Illinois. He grew up attending schools in Libertyville, Illinois, and graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA. Ryan is well known as having been a master oil painter and teacher of classical realism. After high school, he won a scholarship to the American Academy of Art, where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and was valedictorian of his graduating class. He also studied abroad during this time and attended the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. Ryan then went on to attend Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, having been awarded a full scholarship with stipend, where he earned his Master’s of Fine Art.

Ryan excelled in visual art beginning in early childhood. His lifework as a professional artist encompassed many exhibitions, contest awards, private commissions, and other achievements of recognition too myriad to list. A highlight of his career was being selected to compete on the first season of the reality TV show “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.” Ryan was a rare prodigy and his work continues to astonish all who view it.

Ryan was also a complex thinker, a lifelong lover of learning and a true intellectual. He was an avid reader of literature, philosophy, sociology, religion, and art history, among many other subjects. Ryan was also a cunning chess player, Latin and etymology enthusiast, and connoisseur of classical music. His sense of humor and comedic playfulness were at once clever and unpretentious, informed by the diversity of his knowledge and delivered with irresistible charm. He was, simply put, a fun person to be around.

In addition to the remarkable body of work Ryan has left us, his artistic legacy will endure for decades to come in the work of hundreds of students he taught over the past 20 years as a private instructor, at his beloved home studio in Chicago, Illinois. Ryan was as passionate about sharing his knowledge and helping other artists actualize their own vision, as he was about creating his own art. Ryan was a brilliant teacher, sought after for guidance and tutelage by many. Whether he was working with colleagues, tutoring curious hobbyists, or mentoring gifted pupils, Ryan proved over and over again his enthusiastic claim that, “anyone can paint!”

Ryan’s work imitated his life. His voice as an artist was shaped by many diverse challenges he constantly strove to overcome in order to fulfill his potential as one of the best classical realist oil painters of his generation. The themes of his work are sometimes intense, even jarring, and often difficult to contemplate. However, the juxtaposition of those themes with the beauty of his craft defined Ryan’s unmistakable singularity. In fact he never signed his paintings, because no one else could have painted them.

He is survived by his mother, Dawn Shultz-Eastman; his father, Dennis Shultz; two sisters, Lindsay K. Evans née Shultz, and Samantha I. Burgos née Shultz; his brother, Ashley Shultz; his girlfriend, Sahda Jensen, and many nieces and nephews, as well as countless friends, fans, and fellow art lovers.

Visitation will be held this Thursday, December 14, from 6-8 PM, at Theis-Gorski Funeral Home, 3517 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60641.


My wonderful student Kristen is here starting her first study in black and white oil painting. At my school, students receive a quick but thorough education in drawing and oil painting through anatomy and portraiture.


Monica Vita's nearly finished self portrait - her third painting under my tutelage! Text "Art Lessons" to 847-644-3847 and start painting today!

Photos from The Ryan Shultz Academy's post 09/21/2020

Teaching my new students Josh and Blue. Here they are working on their first project "The Ear." This is their second session and they’re doing great!


This is an album of pics from my student show I curated for the Zhou B Art Center.


Painting by my student Justin Mueller. This was his first painting on a stretched canvas made under my tutelage.

Photos from The Ryan Shultz Academy's post 09/13/2020

All materials with be provided for the first class, but when you are ready to get your own set, here is a picture of everything you'll need.

Photos from The Ryan Shultz Academy's post 09/02/2020

Here my student Thelonious is working on his masterpiece - WOW! Just a couple of years under my tutelage and now he is at The Florence Academy of Art in Italy.

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